The name of Khatsahlano Street Party pays tribute to the First Nations that inhabited this area for over three thousand years. Chief August Jack Khatsahlano was a Squamish medicine man and was instrumental in the recording of his people’s and area’s history and traditions. His talks with J.S. Matthew, the first City Archivist of Vancouver, are transcribed in “Conversations with Khatsahlano”, 1932-1954, and are now available to read online. The Vancouver neighbourhood which is now known as Kitsilano was once a village named Seankw. The name Kitsilano is an anglicization of Khatsahlano’s name and was appropriated for this use by the Canadian Pacific Railway when it developed the neighbourhood known by that name.
The main concept of the festival is to convey and preserve the true spirit of West 4th – a laid-back atmosphere that inspires one to be creative. Acknowledging its vibrant past and praising the character of the area, Khatsahlano Street Party also echoes the hippie paradise of the 60s, when the street was home to head shops, vegetarian restaurants and record stores. Back then this inexpensive area to live in (with close proximity to the beach) attracted free spirits for the lifestyle it offered.
We are now celebrating Khatsahlano Street Party for the 11th time. The first music and art festival that took place on West 4th was organized with Woodstock in mind and was tied to its 40th anniversary in 2007. Since the first one, every West 4th street festival commences with the First Nations blessing to honour the man who gave his name to the area and our event.