LIVE: MANIFESTO Festival, Toronto

by Winston "Stone" Ford

The seven day hip hop festival of community and culture known as Manifesto took over Toronto last week, leaving industry heads buzzing and star-gazed onlookers wondering, “What the eff just happened?” See, the city lovingly dubbed as the Screwface capital isn’t known for giving or receiving that much love, so for an event only in its fourth year to successfully excite the apathetic is truly nothing short of amazing!

As the event organizer, Che Kothari, explains his manifesto, “Love by every means necessary”, it becomes evident that the 26 year-olds contagious energy is the key driving force behind the event.  Also, having enough clout to get Governor General Michaëlle Jean to speak at your opening doesn’t hurt either.

More than that however, Manifesto includes panel discussions, art exhibits, a movie night, b-boy battles and concerts by d’plenty.  The main event, a free, all-day concert at Dundas Sq, was the highlight that drew some of the biggest names in hip hop, but more on that later.

With so much to see and do, plus an extra busy schedule, I couldn’t make all the events, so here’s a rundown of what I managed to squeeze in.