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Why you should check out the Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention

Crédit photo : Under Pressure
Why you should check out the Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention
Sunshine and spray cans are taking over rue Ste-Catherine this weekend for the 19th edition of the Under Pressure Festival. In a day and age when it seems like everyone has an opinion on Banksy or a coffee table book on street art, Under Pressure’s a welcome chance to celebrate urban art where it belongs: not in dinner party conversations over white wine, but out on the street—specifically, Ste-Catherine Street between St-Laurent and Ste-Elizabeth. Now the oldest and largest festival of its kind, the Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention presents a smorgasbord of activities celebrating urban culture. 

Here are 3 reasons to check out the festival:
1) It’s free. Mosey on down. People watch. There’s something for your eyes to enjoy everywhere you look, whether on the walls or on people’s skin in the form of eye-popping tattoos. See contemporary art in the making without it costing you one cent.
 
Everything at the festival is volunteer-run and free for attendees. Well, nearly everything. You’re encouraged to start the fest right by catching the one paid show—for the heavy sum of $5—which acts as a much-needed fundraiser to keep the festival and its year-round activities going. On August 9, get a ticket and party at the Cabaret Underworld music showcase hosted by High on Beats.

Raphaël Ouellet for Nightlife.ca
2) It’s inclusive. Yes, urban culture was often originally motivated by the desire to express and differentiate between different crowds. In crowds, out crowds, forgotten crowds. But festival co-founder Sterling Downey aka SEAZ, a Verdun-born mover and shaker, is in his first year as a City Councillor. The festival has always vigorously emphasized the broadness of its appeal while striving to maintain that essential lifeblood of a non-mainstream vibe: graffiti without gangs. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk, but successful so far.
 
Under Pressure is a community event that strives to overcome social and age borders. Family friendly events take centre stage at a Kid’s Corner, where children are encouraged to jump right in and start their graffiti writing careers. There’s even a Kid’s Breakdance Battle on Saturday.
3) It’s jam-packed. Partying under the sun on a traffic-free Ste-Catherine Street? Yes please. More than 80 graffiti artists ranging in styles and backgrounds will use the streets as their canvas over the weekend surrounded by all kinds of musicians and dancers who’ll perform on outdoor stages. You can nod to the beat of several DJs, emcees and other musicians including, among many others, Dramatik, Full Course, Heart Streets, Vilify, Spoon, Bee, an Artbeat Montreal showcase, Vincent Price, Jai Nitai Lotus, and Sey Dee.
 
Everything finally culminates with the free closing show on August 10 at Foufounes Électriques. It’s headlined by a special guest from South Bronx, Afrika Bambaataa, the game changing creator of the Universal Zulu Nation.

Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention
August 9 & 10  | underpressure.ca