Manifesto Festival 2011

Five can't miss events at the 2011 Manifesto Festival

This September, don't miss Toronto's 5th annual Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture. The 11-day festival spans September 15 to 25th and includes over 100 artists from Toronto's music and arts communities. The idea is simple: support the city's emerging talent and help them collaborate on new projects. Though its origin is in hip hop, the non-profit, grassroots project includes a wide range of events including free concerts, art exhibits, networking opportunities, film screenings, seminars, and dance competitions. Here are my top five picks of what to check out this year:

ArtReach Pitch Contest
The first event of the festival also promises to be one of the most entertaining. ArtReach Toronto and Toronto Cultural Services are hosting a live pitch contest for artists aged 16 to 24. The categories include "Community Youth Arts Groups," "Youth Arts Entrepreneurs," and "Artists" (we'll admit the distinctions are a little fuzzy.) Finalists will perform in front of a judging panel to compete for $15,000 in prizes.

Where: 918 Bathurst Street, Culture, Arts, Media and Education Centre. (Bathurst and Bloor)
When: Thursday, September 15th, 7pm to 12am.

Wombmanifesto: The Rebirth
For the first time in the festival's history, Canadian women and trans artists will join together for a celebration of their work. Panel discussions will examine the interaction between feminism and hip hop and how motherhood can be balanced with artistic projects. There will also be three workshops, titled "Tits, Tats & Henna", "Sound Making & Spoken Word," and "Identity and Decolonization- A First Step." In the evening, Canadian women and trans artists will be performing in a Showcase and paying tribute to the female pioneers in the Canadian Hip Hop tradition.

Where: Revival - 783 College Street W (College and Ossington)
When: Sunday, September 18th. Workshops and Panels: 1pm - 6pm, doors open at 12pm.
Showcase: 7:30-10:30pm, All ages. $10 advance, $15 at the door.

Manifesto Movie Night
Exactly what it sounds like. The first film is "Wasteland" by Lucy Walker, a documentary following Vik Muniz, an artist who travels to the world's largest garbage dumb in Brazil and photographs the "catadores" who pick out recyclables. Afterwards, Dream Hampton's "Black August" documentary examines the history of the Black August Hip-Hop Project, which aims to promote human rights through Hip Hop culture.

Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King Street West.
When: Wednesday, September 21. 6:30pm for Wasteland, 9pm for Black August.

The Movement: The Floor Awards & Solid Ground
Come celebrate Toronto's Street Dance Community with performer Mr. Wiggles. The night will include showcase acts, battles, open cyphers and a room each for bboying and bgirling. The city's first ever B-Boy award ceremony will also be held and over a dozen car hoods will be auctioned throughout the evening.

Where: 99 Sudbury
When: Friday, September 23. 19 and up. Doors open at 8pm. 9pm to 2am. Tickets: $20 advanced, $25 at door.

Live At The Square
Once again, Manifesto plans to go out with a bang, ending the 11-day event with a free concert at Yonge and Dundas Square. The aptly-named "Live at the Square" outdoor program includes performances by Rakim & Kid Capri, Blu & Exile, Andreena Mill, and many more. The all-day block party also includes an open dance floor, a graffiti wall, open canvas artwork, workshops, and the Freshest Goods Market. Don't miss it!

Where: Yonge and Dundas Square.
When: Sunday, September 25th. 12pm - 11pm. All Ages

Photo by Mitch Orsatti

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