BY SEBASTIEN ROBILLARD
Started in 1996 by graffiti writers Seaz and Flow, Under Pressure is the largest and longest running event of its kind all across North America. It is a urban culture festival which focuses on community development, art- ist empowerment as well as positive youth development through ownership and responsibility of a shared space. Thanks to the implication all its volunteers, Under Pressure has been able to be kept alive for now twenty years, to celebrate the different elements of urban culture (graffiti, street dancing, deejaying, emceeing and skateboarding).
For its 21st edition the festival is focusing on being a platform for human rights and social issues with a partnership with World Social Forum 2016 and Fierté Montréal / Montréal Pride. As these three organizations greatly value social justice and human rights over other interests. Under Pressure therefore has taken on the theme of `Word UP` menaing to take a stand and be vocal about fighting for your rights and the rights of others. The festival specifically tried to focus on theevent as a platform for Indigenous urban artists this year, which is why we will be hosting a panel discussion as a cross-event activity in the programming of the Forum social mondial 2016 World Social Forum-Canada
The activities outside the festival start on Wednesday August 10th, 2016 and continue until the Under Pressure weekend, that being on August 13 and 14, 2016. The festival takes place over two days, in which Saint-Catherine East street is closed, between Berger and Saint-Elisabeth streets. Overall, over a hundred local, national and international artists come to participate in the event.
On the agenda: the creation of murals on over ten walls, artists actions on urban property, musical perfomances, street dance competition, kids activities, guided tours and more.