Supercrawl to include hip-hop tribute during 15th year of downtown Hamilton spectacle

A photo from James Street in Hamilton Ont. during the 2022 Supercrawl event. Global News

Organizers say a tribute to hip-hop will be a headline event during the 15th anniversary of Supercrawl in downtown Hamilton this September.

Sonic Unyon co-owner and Supercrawl founder Tim Potocic says a Saturday celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the music genre is not typical programming for the festival that’s hung its hat on “artist discovery.”

“We would’ve never had a whole stage that was just hip-hop, we’d sprinkle it into different stages,” Potocic explained.

“But now with the anniversary of the genre, we thought it’s the perfect opportunity to do that.”

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The city’s popular music and arts festival returns the weekend of Sept. 8-10.

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It will include headliners like Broken Social Scene, The Flatliners and Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace with Chantal Kreviaziuk.

Close to 200,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event on James Street North which will include visual artists, theater performances, fashion and craft vendors and food trucks.

Supercrawl began in 2009 as a showcase of Hamilton’s culture and eclectic arts landscape using an art walk model.

It was to be a one-year experiment seeking to revitalize a slumping downtown experiencing a decline in foot traffic.

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Over that time Potocic says the spectacle has evolved requiring more “long-term planning” of three to five years than it did in its first couple years of existence.

“Year one was a total experiment, ‘let’s just try to do something downtown, see what happens,'” Poticic remembers.

“Then it evolved into its second and third year, where we took a little bit more time to plan, spent a little bit more money, and then basically evaluated it as things were going.”

He says “weirdly” the core appears to be back in a similar position due to the recent pandemic.

“We really got kicked in the ‘you know what’ during COVID and downtown has taken a bit of a beating,” Potocic said.

“It needs that energy to bring it back again, so I’m happy to be there and to continue to do that and help it evolve into the future.”

The full music lineup can be seen on the Supercrawl website, along with timelines for other events in September.

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