Carnival Band: Politics and protests through music – British Columbia

The Carnival Band is a regular—and very lively—presence at community events in Vancouver, playing at marches, protests and parades around the city for the past decade.  

The roving band can be heard practicing on Mondays just off Commercial Drive and passersby, even those who don’t know how to play an instrument, are invited to join in anytime.

A new documentary, You’re Already In the Band (You just don’t know it yet) looks at what draws — and keeps — this group together. It’s screening at the DOXA Film Festival in Vancouver this week.

“From my apartment off of Commercial Drive, I could hear the band on Monday nights,” documentary filmmaker Sandra Ignagni told CBC’s North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

Ignagni was a student at the time, taking a documentary film course at Langara College, and looking for a topic to delve into and explore through film. She was fascinated by the band playing outside her window.

“I didn’t really know much about them except it was quite large, there was a very diverse group of people in the band and they played really fantastic music,”  Ignagni said.

Unexpected results

Ignagni approached the Carnival Band‘s director Tim Sars and proposed the idea of making a documentary about the group.

“I just met this keener walking into the Carnival Band rehearsal,” Sars said. “The next thing you know, we’re going to be on the silver screen.”

Sars said he didn’t know if the film was going to amount to anything when he first agreed but is thrilled at how it turned out. Ignagni also said the final product was different from what she had first envisioned.

“I had this idea that I was going to make this very structured film and that’s just not what happened,” she said.

Instead, Ignagni said, she was welcomed and became part of the community in a way she hadn’t imagined.

“I was just immersed right in it and brought to places that I’d never seen,” she said.

Carnival Band welcomes everyone to join in, whether or not…

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