This weekend marked the very first Vancouver edition of the legendary House of Vans and it could not have been a better showcase of the city’s diverse and thriving skate culture.
The venue for this edition of HOV was particularly important as the original venue for the Harbour Event Centre was home to the first Vans Park Series skate competition back in the ’90s. It was only right that Vans return to the site and build an all-encompassing community hub in the updated form of House of Vans.
Here are all the best things we saw over the weekend.
SESSIONS: SO LOKI
The first night played host to a headlining performance from our favourite Vancouver rap duo So Loki. It was a treat to catch Sam and Geoff in their hometown as they gave their cult-like fanbase another unique performance – even inviting them to sit on the floor for one of the songs. You really never know what you are going to get from a So Loki performance but they never disappoint.
BEST TRICK CONTEST
For skate fans, the highlight of the weekend was clearly the Best Trick Contest. It’s a staple at HOV events and is one of the best examples of Vans giving back to the skate community. Skaters of all ages were given the opportunity to perform their most insane tricks in front of a massive cheering audience – the winners with the biggest applause receiving cash in various amounts. Cash directly in the pockets of skaters. It’s perfect. The skate park was the absolute constant focus of the events at HOV Vancouver and it kind of acted like a metaphor for the centering of skate culture and the celebration of Vans’ longstanding presence in the city. No matter where you were in the venue you could see skateboarding. The park was open to all skaters of all skill levels all weekend long and the entirety of the obstacles and branding were home to members and longtime partners of the Vancouver scene like Alltimers, Clubgear, Girl Skateboards, Red Dragons, and Skull Skates.
‘ROCK SOLID’ – FIVE YEARS OF CRACK GALLERY
Vancouver art gallery Crack Gallery hosted a retrospective exhibit featuring key pieces from some of their favourite shows at the now-defunct permanent gallery space and several pop-ups in the city and internationally. ‘ROCK SOLID’ featured work from several Canadian artists including Antosh Cimoszko, Shawn Powers , Carson Cartier, Weirdo Dave FTL, Silas Borsos, Noah McDonough, Zachary Trask, Sancheeto, Kyle Shura, Jeff Halladay and more.
VANS CUSTOMS WORKSHOP
The Vans Customs program was on-site providing free opportunities for potential artists to design their own unique Vans. Each design counted for an entry into a daily draw for keycodes allowing the artists to create the shoes using the online Vans Customs program. We even saw one kid hand in a dozen designs that he had spent hours working on overnight in hopes of winning a pair.
JOHN MAUS + 88GLAM
House of Vans is known for their consistently dope music programming and this weekend’s feature concert did not disappoint. Solo experimentalist John Maus opened the night with an intensely emotional performance filled with a lot of screaming and jack-knifing. Accompanied by only his laptop, Maus explored the entire space of the stage while punching himself in the head and droaning over lo-fi synths, guitars and heavy, pacing drums. After 40 minutes of straining his body and drowning himself in water, Maus left the stage without warning and was replaced by Toronto rap duo and XO signees 88Glam. While the difference in energy was jarring, 88Glam quickly adjusted and gathered the large crowd for a hype show filled with a lot of jumping and selfie-taking along to their certified hits such as “Lil Boat,” “Kitchen Witch,” “Bali,” “12” and “It’s A Flex.”
ROLAND SYNTHESIZER WORKSHOP
Roland (aka the creators of the 808) were on-site providing a free in-depth synthesizer tutorial with several instruments. Instructors were teaching participants how to create beats with drum machines, synths, keytars and more – and with serious tenacity. Young kids were walking away feeling like superproducers and adult skaters were reminded of their musical intuition.
CARTOONING WORKSHOP WITH JAY HOWELL
A true highlight of the weekend was the cartooning workshop with Bob’s Burgers and Sanjay & Craig creator, Jay Howell. Two dozen cartoonist of various ages and skill levels doodled and listened as Howell came around and gave 1-on-1 tutorials and anecdotes about his career. The experience spanned over two hours and was extremely warm. It even concluded with Howell offering to draw 1-off pieces of everything and anything for everyone in the group.
STRATHCONA BEER COMPANY
A visit to Vancouver would not be complete without a stop at the Strathcona Beer Company. They were the official beverage sponsor of the weekend and had copious amounts of their ‘BEACH’ Lemon Mandarin Radler and Premium Pilsner on hand. I mean, just watch this video of the brewery’s co-founder, Adrian McInnes, doing an ollie in their brewery. What is not to love about this?
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