We want some things just like this
Ana X. Martinez Lima (she/her) // Contributor
Liza Borissova (she/her) // Illustrator
On September 22 and 23, acclaimed alternative rock band Coldplay graced the stage at BC Place as part of their “Music of the Spheres World Tour.” The band, originating from London, England, has played in Vancouver a number of times over the years. What set this performance apart, though, was a moment that transpired before the band went on stage. Young representatives from Canada’s First Nations took the spotlight, leaving an indelible impression on the audience. It was a groundbreaking moment, marking the very first time that an international musical act had chosen to formally acknowledge the ancestral land upon which they were performing, according to BC Place coordinators.
Stepping onto the stage were representatives from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, clad in their traditional attire. They spoke about the event and gave the land acknowledgement. Coldplay received a warm welcome to Canada from the Indigenous representatives. They expressed gratitude to the band for being pioneers in extending an invitation to welcome and open the concert with representatives from three nations, and “for being the first musicians to create this space for us to do this important job and acknowledge protocol in Vancouver.” The result was a resounding eruption of applause from the audience, with many rising from their seats.
In the midst of shouts of support and applause, it became evident that Coldplay’s act transcended mere presentation. It was a profound statement of solidarity and reconciliation. This gesture, occurring just one week before Truth and Reconciliation Day, carried immense weight. The gesture was a bridge built between cultures, an acknowledgment of the past, and a shared commitment to a more inclusive and harmonious future. Coldplay’s historic move serves as a testament to the power of music and the profound impact it can have on our collective journey towards understanding and healing.
Coldplay is renowned not only for their music but also for their dedication to inclusivity, pride and sustainability. Their concert was deliberately designed to be accessible to all, with “infinity” tickets available for as little as $20, ensuring affordability for a wide range of fans. Furthermore, their commitment to environmental stewardship was evident as they embarked on their tour with a goal of reducing carbon emissions by up to 50 per cent. During the tour, the lead singer of the band, Chris Martin, waved the pride flag, prominently carrying it during the song “People of the Pride,” raising his voice for inclusion and commitment to pride.
The importance of Coldplay’s decision to acknowledge the unceded territories of Vancouver’s First Nations cannot be overstated. By taking this step, they set a powerful precedent for other international artists, highlighting the significance of recognizing and respecting Indigenous peoples and their ancestral territories. This gesture of cultural respect and awareness sends a message of unity and solidarity, bridging cultural divides and fostering a deeper connection between the music and the land on which it is performed. Let’s hope that Coldplay’s performance will have a positive impact on the future, where inclusion, love, sustainability and peace become everyday acts.