Looking back at this past summer it’s hard to believe that it came and went so quickly. The swing of day parties and the roar of music festivals are becoming a distant memory. That’s why this month, Urbanology looks back at one of the most anticipated gatherings of Canadian talent we witnessed this year at the Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture. Now in its 11th season, Manifesto made its annual splash this summer with a Canadian-heavy line-up.
Toronto’s Echo Beach became a vibrant arena of tunes, food and selfie opportunities for a dynamic crowd that came to show love to a wide range of musical artists. On the bill this year: The Sorority (Keysha Freshh, Lex Leosis, Haviah Mighty and pHoenix Pagliacci), Derin Falana, Matthew Progress, TiKA, Sean Leon, Jidenna, Isaiah Rashad, The Internet and headliner Majid Jordan. Not to mention OVO Sound’s Roy Woods and dvsn who both made surprise appearances.
An unmistakable sense of community energy stretched from the stage across the sand and reached as far as the venue’s parking lot. TiKA fans cheered with Progress fans, individuals who had never heard of The Internet rocked to their rhythms and supporters who came for the very first performance made it through the entire lineup with a seemingly endless snapchat story. For many attendees, and even some performers, the festival holds sentimental value.
Rapper Keysha Freshh from The Sorority remembers connecting with one of Jidenna’s band members back in 2014 when he played guitar for Atlanta artist Raury during Manifesto’s eighth season at Yonge & Dundas Square.
“It was so cool. Manifesto connected us. I was a spectator back then and now I came and performed on the same stage [as him],” she says. “Manifesto is a really dope community thing that bridges the gap. I’ve been quite of few times.”
As a collective, Manifesto continues to organize phenomenal showcases that not only exhibit diverse, multi-layered international talent, but also aim to push creatives from across the country. This year’s Echo Beach addition was a seamless example of the power and magic that can come from supporting the culture and showing up for your community.
“Manifesto is a really dope community thing that bridges the gap.”
Brampton rapper Derin Falana helps kick off the festival with vigor, playing two tracks that were well-received by the audience.
“It’s cool to have everyone from Toronto come out and be in one place.”
If you weren’t a Matthew Progress fan before, seeing him perform live quickly changed that. Accompanied by local DJ Nino Brown, Progress smoothly executed three lyrically charged songs mixing rap with techno beats to form his own musical niche.
“It’s cool to have everyone from Toronto come out and be in one place,” says Progress. “I’m happy to be able to perform in that environment.”
Singer, songwriter and all around renaissance woman TiKA was a beacon of positive vibes during her set. In between her soulful serenades, TiKA took the time to engage and even compliment the audience.
For those who are heavy followers of the local hip-hop scene, Sean Leon is a familiar name. The recording artist has been spilling out music worth noting since his debut in 2012 and his passion did not go unnoticed on stage.
Multi-faceted American recording artist Jidenna refused to allow the momentum to let up throughout his entire performance. The classic man not only got the crowd dancing and clapping to the infectious rhythm of songs like “Bambi”, “Helicopters” and “Long Live the Chief”, the latter which he dedicated to his late father, but he also shared the spotlight with his band who seemed to be having the time of their lives.
The final hip-hop act of the day Top Dawg Entertainment artist Isaiah Rashad played several hits off his 2016 album The Sun’s Tirade alongside his DJ Chris Calor. “Stuck in the Mud” and “Brenda” were just some of the joints he performed. Members from The Internet, whose set followed Rashad’s, even emerged from backstage and chilled in the media pit to watch the rapper rock the crowd.
The Internet took to the stage amid a gloriously golden sunset and each member of the group had their time to shine performing tunes off their individual solo projects. Steve Lacy crooned tracks like “Dark Red” off Steve Lacy’s Demo and lead singer Syd sung a couple songs from her album Fin, but it was when the group played favourites from their 2015 joint album Ego Death that the audience got really hyped.
R&B duo Majid Jordan took us to space with a set complete with images of shooting stars and flaming moons for an experience that was out of this world. As Jordan Ullman pumped the beats, Majid Al Maskati worked the mic and the twosome flawlessly executed hits off their self-titled album like “Learn From Each Other”, “My Love” and “King City”. They also took time out to invite their fellow OVO Sound members dvsn and Roy Woods to the stage who were met with a warm hometown welcome.
Majid Jordan brought their kin from OVO Sound, dvsn, to the stage who played some of their most popular tracks like “The Line” and “Hallucinations”.
Photos © Anthony Ameyaw + Urbanology Magazine