This weekend, from Friday to Sunday, art and music take centre stage at several locations in London, ON.
Free For (W)All, back in its third incarnation, is an event intended to breathe new life into the walls and streets of London’s Old East Village. With music and dancing factoring largely into the festivities, organizers Mitch Taylor and James Kirkpatrick, have brought together artists as well as, local, national, and international musicians to turn city streets into open-air art galleries for everyone to enjoy.
“It’s a safe space for painters to explore their art” Kirkpatrick told us. In year one of the event, different organizations reached out asking him to work with teens experiencing a variety of barriers by guiding them in the public art making process. However, there were no free or legal walls in London so taking a group of kids out to paint as they wanted was out of the question.
This is where Mitch Taylor of Life of Leisure stepped in offering up his then space at 792 Dundas. With several walls available, along with a green space to enjoy them, Taylor allowed the space to become an evolving art gallery where, each year, new painters, teens, kids, veteran wall artists, and the public could come out and practice the craft… creating striking public art pieces in the process. And Free For (W)All was born.
What’s different about this year, though?
This year’s planned festivities were disrupted when Life of Leisure’s space became unexpectedly unavailable and things were placed on hold. However, true to the overarching positive mindset Free For (W)All brings to the table, the organizers turned a negative into a positive and expanded the breadth of the event in the process. Now, for the first time ever, Free For (W)All will take place at several different locations in London, will span an entire weekend, and will bring some grade A musical and dancing acts to the Forest City.
“In some places, it’s about the finished product for people to enjoy and in others, it’s about the event… a place for people, artists, musicians, and families to come hangout and enjoy,” Kirkpatrick said.
This event is truly about community and that shines through with so many different businesses and organizations involved. Things kick off Friday, Sept. 27 at B13 The Baker’s Dozen (613 Dundas) in partnership with the London Skateboard Co-Op with a Skate Movie Date Night. Now, this you don’t want to miss!
Saturday, make your way to PowerHouse Brewing (100 Kellogg Lane), acting as the event headquarters, for additional festivities and family fun. At the same time, check out Union Ten Distillery (656 Dundas) for alleyway mural and graffiti painting during the day and the official after-party featuring MYKA 9 and FACTOR along with tons of other great, local acts. Doors are at 9pm.
On Sunday, the creation just keeps coming so check out this link for full details and updates.
Music, dancing, painting, what more could you want?
Kirkpatrick told us that MYKA 9 is the West Coast Rap style master and it’s his first time playing in Canada. He has inspired the likes of local icon Shad and, and a whole slew of additional, well-known musicians. He said this particular music “has always been about positivity and safe space for people to come practice an art” and in that sense, the musical stylings perfectly mimic everything Free For (W)All is about.
Joining the lineup is breakdance group Albino Zebras who will bring to London a freestyle dance approach full of on the spot experimentation Kirkpatrick likens to the Dadaist art movement of the 1930s.
With so many different layers of creativity, style, art, and celebration, it isn’t too hard to see, that this weekend, Free For (W)All III is where you need to be (yes, if a freestyle battle breaks out, any participant is welcome to use that line on the mic!).
So, the details?
WHAT: Free For (W)All III
WHEN: Friday Sept. 27-Sunday Sept. 29
WHERE: Various locations including B13 The Baker’s Dozen, Union Ten Distillery, Powerhouse Brewing, 100 Kellogg Lane.
FEATURING: A weekend of community celebration filled with graffiti and mural jams, dance battles, skateboarding, movie screenings, and more live music than you can probably handle.
Check out the Facebook event for details and be sure to get out and support these awesome people doing awesome things in London, ON.
Feature photo via Facebook / @l.o.leisure