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Juno Award-winner Dan Mangan to kick off Coquitlam's Kaleidoscope Arts Festival

The city's annual festival begins Friday (Aug. 19) at the TD Community Plaza in Town Centre Park with performances and activities continuing over the weekend at Blue Mountain and Victoria parks.
Dan Mangan headlines the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitlam on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Centre Park.

Vancouver singer–songwriter Dan Mangan has been touring and travelling a lot lately, "which is quite nice" given the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

And one of the songs he's been performing — a tune he'll play at the City of Coquitlam’s Kaleidoscope Arts Festival on Friday night (Aug. 19) — is off an album he'll release later this year.

Mangan penned "Fire Escape" in June 2020, just as the coronavirus took shape, at the height of the global lockdown and in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing in the United States.

"That song was captured in the feeling of the moment," the 39-year-old musician told the Tri-City News on Monday (Aug. 15), "but that song stays relevant for me. It's about being in a pressure cooker and the need to escape."

Mangan used a pandemic story about a community gathering on their fire escapes to watch movies projected onto an adjacent building wall.

He liked the idea of getting out of the house for some fresh air — in this case, using the fire escape as an accessible exit — to find the need to be heard, understood and reassured.

The video for "Fire Escape," which came out last month, circles that point by employing an actor to taunt Mangan about his insecurities and anxieties; the actor is, in fact, portraying Mangan's inner thoughts.

"I think we all have that private version of ourselves in our brain that can sabotage perfect moments," he said.

But while the two-time Juno Award winner said the music video is his best yet, he's equally excited to share the songs from his new album, which took 2.5 years to produce with musicians contributing from studios in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

"It's the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of," he said, "because it doesn’t sound like any other band."

Mangan said he's also excited to play his first show in Coquitlam to kick off Kaleidoscope at Town Centre Park.

He has always enjoyed the free outdoor, family-friendly vibe at festivals as, Mangan said, he feels the most comfortable performing in those settings.

He gets his festival audiences to sing along to make it a "collective kind of show" but he largely wants to get the kids involved.

"When you're a kid and you can’t go to the bars, there are ripe opportunities to give them experiences in the arts. That's foundational. I remember going to these festivals as a child and listening to music and being surrounded by adults. A world opened up for me…. You feel like you’ve unlocked something."

Kaleidoscope schedule

  • Friday at the TD Community Plaza at Town Centre Park (1299 Pinetree Way)
    • Carmanah (6 p.m.) and Dan Mangan (7:30 p.m.)
  • Saturday at Blue Mountain Park (975 King Albert Ave.)
    • Performances and activities from noon to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday at Victoria Park (3435 Victoria Dr.)
    • Performances and activities from noon to 4 p.m.