This past Friday and Saturday, I had the chance to attend the 2012 House of PainT Festival, which celebrates urban arts and culture in the capital. Well needless to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see that the urban arts and culture in the National Capital Region are alive and well and thriving and also that the community is only growing.
Friday was the perfect rainy evening to head over to Shopify, the old Capital Music Hall which has now been turned into a creative office space, to check out the Grand Slam 500: House of PainT Poetry Slam. This turned out to be an amazing spoken word competition with 12 talented poets who competed for the 1st place and for a chance to win the $500 grand prize. Competing poets included King Kimbit, V, Festrell, Loh El, Dimorphic, ArRay-of-Words, JustJamaal, Hyf GypsySun, PrufRock, Sense-Say, CauseMo and Jenna Tenn-Yuk. As for the jury, it was composed of guest judges Peter Simpson, Adrienne Codette, Open Secret and Maestro Fresh Wes.
Although the event started an hour late, it allowed for everyone to pile into the venue and get a good view for the competition. Performing in front of a full house, the poets delivered their material one after another in a 3-round face-off in which the public got to vote for their favorites. After 2 rounds of eliminations, only 2 poets were left standing and it was up to the guest judges to make the final decision as to whom would win the coveted 1st place. In the end, Hyf GypsySun took the win with a performance that definitely left me wanting more!
Congrats to all of the poets who performed for presenting such beautifully written and eloquent pieces that resonated within many of us that evening. I shall see you at upcoming slam poetry events, I’m now hooked 🙂
To finish the night on a high note, the one and only Maestro Fresh Wes surprised us with “Black Trudeau”, a refreshing new piece that he chose to present to the public who had gathered for an inspiring night of spoken word.
The following day, I made my way over to Brewer Park to check-out the House of PainT main event: the annual 4 disciplines of Hip Hop Jam complete with break-dancing battles, graffiti art, deejaying and emceeing.
Although the day started with some rain, the sun quickly took over and warmed up the crowd. It was great to see people from all walks of life who had gathered to take part in this annual community event. Even Mayor Jim Watson made an appearance to enjoy the urban arts and culture in Ottawa. It was nice to see that he takes interest in what goes on in his city.
Several kiosks were set-up for various artists who were selling their work. A couple of food vendors were also on site to ensure that festival-goers had something to eat and drink throughout the day.
What stole the show for me was to have the opportunity to see various bboy and bgirl crews competing against one another for a chance to win the $1000 grand prize while graffiti artists worked on a giant House of PainT mural in the background. It was a beautiful sight to say the least and it reminded attendees that hip hop culture is really for everyone regardless of age and background.
Congrats are in order to the organizers, partners and performers for putting on a well-executed festival for all to enjoy! I’m already looking forward to next year for House of PainT 2013!