Hip-hop festival takes over Yonge-Dundas Square

Toronto’s festival season ended with the much anticipated Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture. Thousands of people took to Yonge-Dundas Square from last Wednesday to this Monday for one of Canada’s most prominent celebrations of hip-hop culture.

The executive director of Manifesto, Dwayne Dixon, says the community’s support for the annual festival has been phenomenal.

“The feedback has been like, ‘Why isn’t Manifesto in our city?’ They can’t believe it — especially some of the U.S. visitors. They come to Toronto and they’re blown away when they see the art derived from hip-hop culture,” Dixon says.

Founded in 2007, Manifesto is a non-profit organization that works to empower and connect youth in artistic fields all year round. Its aim is to foster business and creative expertise among participants. The square hosted performances by up-and-coming artists such as Isaiah Rashad and Tasha Amazon, as well breakdancing battles and dozens of clothing and food vendors.

Singer-songwriter duo Renée Ashanta Henry and Charmie Deller took to the main stage at Yonge-Dundas Square to perform an original piece. The Toronto-based musicians say the positive atmosphere kept them energetic throughout the day.

“We enjoyed the smiles from the crowd when we were singing,” Deller says. “I love receiving energy back because I give so much when I perform.”

The celebration included a conference held in conjunction with the Ryerson Student Union called “Artists for Artists: Art, Activism and Adaptation” and other events were held in the Daniels Spectrum Building in Regent Park and George Brown College.

To find out more about the festival, visit the website for the Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture.

By Halla Imam, Dilys Chan and Tristan Simpson

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