Manifesto Uniting Toronto Hip-Hop Enthusiasts

Sep 19, 2014 | Arts

by Ari Perlin-Bain

With Fall now upon us, fans of Toronto’s hip-hop culture are attending the 8th annual Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture.

This year’s festival, which started Wednesday and runs until Sunday, will feature a DJ battle in the middle of Regent Park, a free concert at Yonge-Dundas Square from headliners including artist Ryan Leslie, who’s also giving a keynote address on Sunday. 

On Thursday night, the Steam Whistle Brewery in downtown Toronto was transformed for the Manifesto Art Show which featured a live mural painting from notable Los Angeles tattoo and graffiti artist, Mister Cartoon.

Mister Cartoon, of Los Angeles, works on his mural at the Manifesto Art Show at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto.

Mister Cartoon, of Los Angeles, works on his mural at the Manifesto Art Show at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto  (Ari Perlin-Bain/Humber News)


A mural from Los Angeles tattoo and graffiti artist Mister Cartoon at the Manifesto Art Show in Toronto. (Ari Perlin-Bain/Humber News)














He noted how impressed he was with the organizers of Manifesto and the community for their love of hip-hop culture.

“It’s incredible because you can see they [Manifesto] really cherish hip-hop and put a lot of effort into celebrating different art forms like graffiti, music, photography and low-riding,” said Cartoon.

“It’s great to see the people of Toronto take it all in.”

Thirty-thousand people are expected to attend events for Manifesto this year with the free show at Yonge-Dundas Square estimated to have 7,000 to 8,000 people in attendance.

Che Kothari, chair for the board of Manifesto, said he is confident the festival would find success in future years since its first year in 2007

He adds that he only sees it growing as it continues.

“More team members are coming on board, the infrastructure’s getting stronger, people that are part of the festival’s programming come back on board. Everything strengthens on its own,” said Kothari.

“When we create something big, people want to be a part of it.”

While this year’s festival is seeing success, Manifesto was shortened from a week-long event to only lasting three to five days starting in 2012.

Ajani Charles, a reporter for website Hip-Hop Canada, says this hasn’t had much effect on the festival.

“I’ve been coming to Manifesto since the first festival and it’s been crazy every year,” said Charles.

“They’re bringing the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B, the quality of the events is always in the top of its class and it’s because they’ve done it so many times they know what works and what doesn’t.”

You can get your tickets for Manifesto events here.