So Toronto turned it out for Manifesto this Sunday just passed. I wasn't able to check out most of the events during the week, but I heard great things about the film festival and the Jean Grae gig.
The main event was on Sunday 26th September, an all ages, all day affair at Yonge & Dundas Square, the largest public square in the city (Toronto's equivalent of Times Square). The line up was incredible...but I'll get to that.
I rocked up late to unfortunately miss our landlord Suundjaye and soul vocalist Aria kill it in the early afternoon with the sun blazing and a solid crowd already forming. We also missed the homegirl Masia One rocking with Miss Jessica Kaya, but managed to be front and centre for one of my favourite MCs (and human beings), Eternia murder her set with DJ Law, and special guests Tona and Maestro Fresh Wes (with Crazy Legs even making a guest appearance). When she jumped off stage and made her way through the crowd Moses-style, folks just lost it. Powerful.
The headliners were incredible. With the entire square packed solid (check the photo above, taken from the Jack Astor's patio), Jay Electronica took the stage with most of the crowd mouthing the words to every jam. Both 'Exhibit A' and 'Exhibit C', performed as a medley at the end of his set, went retarded crazy with Jay performing from the middle of the crowd, and the beat dropping out at the end of each song so dude could spit acapella. Clearly the 30 minute set allotment wasn't enough for Jay, as he was pushing to keep performing but it would have cut into Black Thought's set, so he jumped off (I later heard that there was some negativity towards Jay's cussing at a family friendly event).
Black's set was more of a party b-boy thing, but he still kicked it off with 'The Next Movement' and proved why he's one of the illest in the game, period. Every time I've seen Tariq perform, he's been incredible, so there's not much more to say except that witnessing this legend perform his craft is never anything short of amazing.
I gotta shout out the organisers of Manifesto - to organise a week-long Hip Hop/urban festival, and top it off with a free, all day concert (11 hours!) at the largest city in Canada's biggest public square is nothing short of incredible. Cannot wait til next year, and fingers crossed The Movement Fam will be involved...
Check some of the performances after the jump.