Celebrating all things of the urban street, the Under Pressure festival brings together graffiti arts and beats. The week-long festival includes competition and exhibition, and perhaps most admired, live painting on the buildings of St. Catherine Street.
Things kick off with the Beaux Degats competition, where 12 teams (30 artists in total) paint 8 by 8 foot murals on themes decided the night of the event. Beats are provided by local DJs, including Construct and Killa Jewel.
Beaux Degats takes place August 5 at 87 St. Catherine St E. $5.
For those who prefer to see their art finished, try Art Attack where the Art by Friends collective will showcase their work at 256 St. Catherine East. The members of this collective are Odyssée Tour, Brokovich, and Frank Mekidech. Another exhibition takes place at 221 ST. Catherine E with a long list of local artists participating, including MonstR and AXE. Knife N’ Fork Crew and Construct will provide the music.
Art Attack takes place August 7 at 221 and 256 St. Catherine East. $5 to enter 221 St. Catherine E. 256 St. Catherine E is free.
One feature of Under Pressure that makes it unique is its conference. This year, the conference is focused on music with Off the Record, a conference that explores vinyl. Among other components are a scratch session, a workshop, and a panel discussion on J.A.S.S. by the Jazz Amnesty Sound System.
Off the Record takes place at Theatre ST. Catherine (264 ST Catherine E) on August 6 from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Experts in house, popping, locking, and b-boying all get chance to square off in a series of street dance competitions. The preliminary rounds start August 5 and 7, with the competition for the finals on August 8 and 9. DJs provide the music for the competitors. Finals take place in popping, hip hop, b-boying, toprock, footwork, b-girling, hip hop, powermoves, and b-boying on August 8. On August 9, there are finals in slightly different dance types as well as for crews, rather than the 1 vs. 1.
The dance battles take place in different locations and at different times. See HERE for more info.
Watch the murals
Watching the murals go up on St. Catherine E between St. Elisabeth and Berger is a one-of-a-kind experience. This year, the artists get two days to complete their assigned spots.
Most artists love to work to music. Along with the murals, you can check out a number of djs who will provide the beats. On August 8 and 9, music can be found at 181 St. Catherine E (parking lot), Foufounes Electriques, and at the Fresh Paint Gallery (221 St Catherine E). The list of performers is lengthy, but some of those on the list are Hatchmatik, Andy Williams, Sweet Daddy Low, Kobal, Manifest, Overflow, and Nitrous. A big concert closes up the festival on the 9 at Foufounes Electriques at 9 p.m on August 9. This year, performers are DJ Kool Herc, DJ Q-Bert, Lord Finesse of DITC, Bobbito Garcia, and Illa-J are performing (Foufounes Electriques, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.).
Under Pressure’s schedule and information can be found HERE. The festival takes place August 5-9, mostly on St. Catherine Street East near Foufones Electriques and the Fresh Paint Gallery.