Nova Scotia-based DJs, music producers, barbers, break-dancers, and dance crews will vie for over $9,000 in cash and prizes at the inaugural Coastal Culture Clash.
Culture Clash is all about celebrating the urban arts community and everybody involved in it. – Ryan Veltmeyer
To be held at Halifax’s Light House Arts Centre on November 24, the impetus for the project, co-presented by Light House with Prix Consulting and The IV League, was to “bring some new action, excitement and life into the art scene in Halifax.”
“Culture Clash is all about celebrating the urban arts community and everybody involved in it,” says Ryan Veltmeyer, Light House Arts Centre’s partnerships & social impact manager.
With its primary goal to help underrepresented artists in Halifax’s urban and hip-hop sectors, organizers wanted to “go bigger.” The result is a competition-style event with roots in the hip-hop community that will see the different categories of competitors battling it out.
“Hip-hop has always been competitive and is a cornerstone of all urban culture in North America,” says Veltmeyer. “For Coastal Culture Clash, we will have people competing in different categories, including fashion, music, dance and hairdressing.”
While performance may be the backbone of the competition, Veltmeyer says adding other elements like fashion and hairdressing are essential to urban culture.
“Every musician, every dancer, all those other kinds of arts are always making sure that they look certain ways, that they have a certain vibe, that their fashion, their hair, all of that is a part of how they present themselves to audiences,” he says. “With Instagram and the visualization of our culture, it’s more important now than ever, and they haven’t necessarily had their spotlight enough over the years.”
“The fibre of urban fashion stems from music; it stems from us wanting to look good and feel good and perform from that thing that keeps us ticking,” adds Solitha Shortte, founder and CEO of the House of Soli Inc., who will run the fashion element of the competition. “Fashion has always played a significant role as one of the foundations of urban culture, so it would be an injustice to not focus on all of it as a whole.”
Chosen during an open call in September, a public vote determined the finalists. “We had a lot of engagement, with over 3,500 votes cast,” says Veltmeyer. “The whole voting process was another way we could shine a light on this community.”
The public will again have an opportunity to choose the winners in each category during the event, with expert judges to help break any ties. “So if you’re there that night, you’ll be able to influence the outcome of those winners,” says Veltmeyer.
First and second-place winners will take home $1,000 and $500 cash, respectively, with additional prizes provided by sponsors also up for grabs.
“If you can win a thousand bucks at night’s end, that’s what everyone wants,” says Veltmeyer. “But also, all these awesome brands and products connected to our arts and urban culture community are also contributing products.”
But while the competitions may be the big draws, Veltmeyer says it is also an opportunity for audiences to meet the artists and see what is happening within the urban culture community in Halifax.
“If people are curious to meet new artists and to see some incredible talent, we have it all on offer in a night of entertainment competition,” he says. “The show will run from 7:00 p.m. until 1 a.m., and with no scheduled breaks, it means something will be happening the entire time.”
For Shortte, it is a way for audiences to support an often overlooked community.
“We need the support so that our creative partners don’t leave because most people in our field leave for Toronto or Vancouver or the U.S. because it’s not sustainable in our market, and we’re trying to change that,” she says.
The finalists in each category are listed below:
Barbers: 2Toonz, Autumn and Pup Cuts
DJs: DJ Skeeter B, OKAY TK, DJ Buckles, DJ Hotcue and DJ Kay D
Music producers: Ghettosocks, L-Deez, Tempo, C-Stone Leon, Shatter Beatz and
Break-dancers: Natorious, Rockstar Yogiii and Tempo
Dance crews: OnSet Hip-Hop Company, and F.L.A.S.H. Crew (Floor Lovers and Style
Coastal Culture Clash will also feature live performances by local rising stars Awol, Jody Upshaw and Kayo & Friends.
Coastal Culture Clash takes place at The Light House Arts Centre (1800 Argyle St, Halifax) on November 24. Visit lighthouseartscentre.ca for tickets and information.
Corrections: This article was updated to correct the spelling of Ryan Veltmeyer, the number of votes cast and the event’s timing.