Soak up some sun and island flavour this August long weekend at Harbourfront Centre‘s Island Soul August 3-7, 2023. It’s going to be an amazing long weekend celebrating the vibrant islands, people, and culture of the Caribbean.
There’ll be something for visitors of all ages during the four-day weekend with a schedule of both free and ticketed events ranging from live dancehall, Soca and reggae performances, DJ sets, multidisciplinary arts, comedy, film, fun family crafts and activities, and plenty of delicious eats all at a beautiful lakeside venue.
Some of the highlights festival-goers can expect include:
- A return of its popular performers showcasing a unique blend of Island cultures, from Soca royalty, Nailah Blackman and the award-winning DJ Power to international comedy legend, television star and Hollywood writer Gina Yashere, the six-piece, genre-bending ensemble straight from Trinidad and Tobago Freetown Collective, and more.
- Audiences can dance the summer weekend away at the late-night events Island Soul After Dark and Riddim Nights, a fitness-inspired dance session with a Soca sound alongside Carnival Spice and find their rhythm with Empress Mash Up, a reggae mash-up featuring Canada’s all-female reggae band, the Rayzalution Band featuring four female solo artists.
- Literary enthusiasts can join award-winning children’s book author Yolanda T. Marshall for an engaging and family-friendly story time. Film buffs will have the opportunity to see a screening and meet the creative team of When Morning Comes, a dramatic narrative film focused on a young Jamaican boy who grapples with the idea of saying goodbye to his homeland, plus many more exciting events and workshops.
The Woman King of Comedy: Gina Yashere
August 3 at 8pm, Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Returning to our stage, international comedy legend, TV star and Hollywood writer Gina Yashere brings the laughs in a big way to Island Soul.
Island Soul After Dark
August 5 at 11pm, Lakeside Terrace
The real party starts when the sun goes down as DJ Starting from Scratch invites the hottest talent around for a night of big sound by the lake.
Freetown Collective, Sound Curator, DJ Mendosa, DJ Lambo
August 6 at 10:30pm, Brigantine Room/Patio
The dance floor will be on fire with this clash of performers like Freetown Collective, Sound Curator, DJ Mendosa and DJ Lambo.
- Nailah Blackman and DJ Power on August 4 at 9:30pm, Concert Stage
- Empress Mash Up ft. Tiffanie Malvo, Chelsea Stewart, Natural Fyah, Donna Makeda, Rayzalution Band on August 5 at 5:30pm, Stage in the Park
- French Caribbean Percussion Workshop on August 6 at 3pm, Stage in the Park
- Daniel Bellegarde on August 6 at 6:30pm, West Lawn
- Freetown Collective on August 6 at 8pm, Concert Stage
- Pan Fantasy on August 6-7 at various times, Stage in the Park
- The Recipee Band on August 4 at 7pm, West Lawn
- The Clash on August 5 at 8:30 pm, Concert Stage
- Kirk Diamond on August 6 at 9:30 pm, Concert Stafe
- Calypso Stars on August 7 at 3pm, Concert Stage
- Silent Disco by AIRMOVES on August 4–6 at various times, South Lawn: Dance the night away with a provided set of headphones and some music mixed right!
- Soca with Carnival Spice on August 6 at 2pm, North Orchard: Join a cardio dance experience in a super-session from Toronto’s own Carnival Spice devoted to elevating Caribbean Carnival arts.
- DanceFIRE on August 5 at 2pm, North Orchard: Get fit and have fun with Dione Mason’s dance fitness workout. Join her for a fun and sweaty class of energy and movement.
- When Morning Comes
Kelly Fyffe-Marshall on August 7 at 7pm, Studio Theatre
When Morning Comes is a 95-minute dramatic narrative film focused on 10-year-old Jamal Sutherland, who lives in rural Jamaica, and the domino effects of his actions after he overhears that he is being sent to live with his grandmother in Toronto. Guest starring the king of comedy Oliver Samuels (Oliver at Large) and Paul Campbell (Shottas, Dancehall Queen), the film aims to pay homage to Jamaica’s lively culture and some of its biggest homegrown legends. Come join us, and end your long weekend by relaxing and enjoying some free popcorn.
- Stories At Dusk
August 4 at 6pm, Studio Theatre
Enjoy this cathartic watch in our boutique-style cinema. This shows two complementary and contrasting feature-length films examining cultural influences and social implications of multiple aspects of Caribbean life at home and abroad. The two films featured are Zarico, a 1984 film directed by Andre Gladu, and Ninth Floor, a 2015 film directed by Mina Shum.
- Living in Colour
August 5 at 6pm, Studio Theatre
Join four emerging young filmmakers in an inspiring panel discussion following a showing of their film Living in Colour focusing on the Black community across the GTA.
- Shorts Night
August 6 at 5pm, Studio Theatre
Join us for a spot away from the bustle with short films from the National Film Board spotlighting Caribbean stories.
- Lores by Yolanda ft. Yolanda Marshall on August 6 at 4:30pm, Main Loft
- Calypso 365 ft. Roger Gibbas (AKA Rajiman) and Henry Gomez (AKA King Cosmos) on August 7 at noon, Lakeside Terrace
- Iris Malcom Library on August 5-6 at various times, West Hallway
- Carnival Collage Creations on August 5-7 at various times, HarbourKIDS Tent
- Carnival Character Creations on August 5 at noon, Main Loft