August madness, five festivals in one month
This August has been a special since it fit 5 weekends in one month. To me that meant 5 big festivals in 5 different countries, madness. A month packed with great experiences and memories for years.
The month kicked off in Belarus with Battle of the Year qualifier. A new country for me, Belarus showed that they like it big. BOTY qualifier was built on a ice hockey stadium called Palace of Sports. The production was huge. Packed with thousands of people and full of TV cameras, I was surprised how Belarus took it to another level. Was good to see homies Menno, Maurizio and dj Smirnoff for the event. Congrats to the local heroes, the Hunters crew, for taking the tittle home against Predators from Russia.
Now the real story of the weekend was the after party. Hunters crew celebrated their 11 year anniversary in club Loft. I brought some records too and had a chance to rock the party on the decks with Maurizio, Smirnoff and a live saxofonist. It turned out to be one of the best parties I’ve been to this year. We rocked it with some soul, funk, disco and hip hop classics and the party was rocking until 6 am.
This year’s IBE was highly speculated already before the event. IBE stopped throwing All Battles All, which got all the e-boys going wild. The focus was more on the culture and the smaller parts of the festival this year. I can tell it changed the atmosphere, food better! The concrete jam with the Soul food BBQ, afterparties, art exhibitions and such got a lot more attention and made the festival more comfortable and cozy. IBE turned out to be an underground jam with 4000 or so attendants which is possible only at IBE.
The Focus on Footwork battle was also taken to another level introducing the top 8 invites people came to challenge. With over a hundred contestants plus the invites the level felt higher and every battle was hype! Eventually Wing Zero fought his way to the final and took the tittle home for the second year in a row. Japan was killing it the whole festival too winning also the bgirl battles, super solo and seven to smoke winners edition. What other country can do the same?
Burn Battle School
Next up was Ukraine. I judged the Burn Battle School event along with Hurricane and Swift Rock. East Europe is on fire right now. Their bboys are some of the best on the planet, bgirls are killing it, kids battles are straight crazy and the audiences do not hold back. It’s always a pleasure to see people enjoying the dance wether it’s dancing them selves or just watching. Battle School production size was madness. The put the finals on the main square building a massive stage with lights and even pyro techniques. That gathered over 10 000 people to watch the battles. This times Predators came back even more hungry and took the tittle against Dream Team France. As far as crew competitions goes they are getting hard to beat keeping it consistent battle after battle.
UK Bboy Championships North Europe
While traveling, with team Saiffa we kept preparing one of the biggest battles in Finland, the traditional UK Champs. This year besides bboying we had popping and hip hop categories as well. Right now it seems to be the last event in Finland which flies winners to the next level. We were happy to see the turnout was great times year. The venue, Lämpö, worked really good and was the perfect size. Even though it is one of the biggest jams in the country, UK Champs managed to maintain that small jam feeling which is the simply best. Skeme killed it the whole weekend, Smirnoff rocked it and judges were professional. After party was banging so eventually it was a great hip hop weekend that I was happy to be part of making it happen. Congrats to all winners, Heavy Haiku, Sandra & Yag Funky!
Underground Funky Base Vol. 7
Last jam of the month was UFB and my first time in Turkey. UFB went down in the holiday city of Marmaris. The event was based around hotel Green Nature, a five star all inclusive holiday paradise. They told me Marmaris and UFB are all about the party. That was ensured by mc Trix who kept the party hype for the whole four days of the festival. Mad energy at the age of 50, inspiring how he brings fire to the show really. Highlights of the weekend were hearing the stories from Ken Swift and party rocking the after parties with Shannon and the locals.
My workshop this time was short, 60 minutes only so I pushed a lot of information for short time. I hope people understood and got the most of it. Three crews from Iran showed up for the workshop, same as people from Jordan, Turkey, Germany etc. Later we rocked circles and I was happy to see the bboys from Middle East give it all they got. They have a lot of heart and passion for this dance. Big up to bboy Mongol from Russia for being the warrior of the event! He entered nearly all 8 categories and got to the final in four. Mongol won the house and bboy solo battles and did not show any signs of fatigue. Even in the final he came up with new stuff every round and amazed everybody.
Thank you Kienya, Tyrone, Vladee, Eyüp and others for a month of craziness. Returning from Turkey, it’s time to get ready for BC One West Europe in Italy. I’m battling in the top 16 of Europe’s finest and only one goes through to the world finals. Besides that I’m teaching weekly at Saiffa, we’re planning the Finnish Bboy Championships later this year, got a bunch of things coming up including bookings, parties and also my last semester trying to graduate from school. The tittle “Arts Manager” fits perfect so now is time to work hard for it. Like Picasso once said, “Every great artist finishes his work”. Four years of studies behind, now it’s time for that last push. Wish me good luck.