Home Chennai City braces for first hip-hop festival

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    What’s going down at the first-ever Indian Hip Hop Fest in the city

    While Chennai’s stiletto shod head to the Chennai International Fashion Week this weekend, a couple of streets away an excited bunch of B-Boys will be lacing up their best sneakers for the city’s first hip hop fest. Though they might be largely an underground section of dancers, given that hip hop is still a fairly nascent dance form in India, expect desi B-Boys from as far as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and even Kerala.

    Organised by the Catalyst Art Foundation and supported by the Goethe Institut, where the three-day festival will take place, we hear HIPHOP3that although the buzz around the competition has been primarily via social media, the response has been pretty over the top. “People have already called me to ask whether I can organise this festival in their city for the next edition,” says Phani Kumar, the man behind it. A dancer and DJ himself, he’s previously organised festivals like the Chennai Street Festival and BOTY (Battle of the Year). “But this time, we wanted to make it bigger,” he shares.

    Mark your calendar
    Gear up for B-Boy battles, a Super B-Boy battle for teeny boppers, a rap showcase, workshops by B-Boy Pozaki from Bangkok and a beatboxing session with MC Beep from Bangalore. “There’s also a docu-film we’re going to screen titled Bouncing Cats,” Kumar tells us. “It’s about how downtrodden kids in Uganda had their lives turned around thanks to hip hop.” To top it all off, Aussie DJ Astro Black will ensure the mood is always ‘upbeat,’ with his dance and electro music. For those wondering about the crews, watch out for gangsta names like Black Ice Crew (Bangalore), Smackerz (Chennai) and De-rockyoumerz (Kerala). We asked Keralite Jayadave aka Kastor, when he was on the dancefloor, ‘what are the Z’s all about?’ “I don’t know,” responds the 21-year-old with a laugh. But no matter, we’ll still be there to cheer him on. God knows those headstands aren’t easy!

    The Indian Hip Hop Fest is between July 18 and 20 at the Goethe Institut, Nungambakkam. Tickets at `500. Details: 9841458192 / facebook.com/Indianhiphopfest

    —Sonali Shenoy

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