A different kind of stage is being set up for a block party at Polson Park July 13.
The all-ages free community event, from noon to 6 p.m., features art and music, but instead of the artists playing in the park’s bandshell, organizers are constructing a stage next to the skateboard park.
“This adds to the youthfulness of our festival and creates a much more interactive atmosphere. It will be quite the sight to see the crowd inside of the skate bowl while the artists perform right above them on the lip of the skate park,” said John Oh, with 13th Floor Entertainment.
The Vernon-based entertainment, events and artist agency, which is hosting the party, has held a number of hip hop and DJ-based events at local nightclubs, but this time decided to open up the floor, so to speak.
“One thing we noticed was that the under 19-plus crowd would also ask us for all-ages shows so we acted on that request and decided to put it on at Polson Park,” said Oh.
Headlining the event is Vernon-raised hip hop artist SonReal (Aaron Hoffman), who used to skate at the park as a youth before making his way to Vancouver and a lucrative music career, which has included a number of top-selling mix tapes and other recordings.
This past year has been a big one for the rapper.
Nominated for a Juno award for Rap Recording of the Year for his 2012 album The Closers, recorded with Toronto-based hip hop artist Rich Kidd, SonReal recently attended the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto after the video for his and Rich Kidd’s single Hometown was nominated for Hip Hop Video of the Year.
The video was partially shot in Vernon and Coldstream and includes scenes of SonReal and his friends at Kal Beach as well as at W.L. Seaton Secondary, where Hoffman attended high school.
SonReal also embarked on a nationwide tour with Rich Kidd in promotion of The Closers, sharing stages with such artists as Down With Webster, Mac Miller and others.
He has begun work on new solo material due for release in the next month.
Another hip hop artist making waves who is scheduled to perform is Vernon’s Immaculate (Julian Wolansky).
The recent winner of the B.C.-wide Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards, Immaculate recently won an international songwriting contest titled Who’s the Illest, held by Illegal Wreckords and Cryptic Wisdom with hundreds of entries worldwide.
In May, he hit the road with MC/beatboxer Emotionz for the On the Up and Up Western Canadian Tour and he has performed a number of shows since. He is also the only local hip-hop artist to hit Kelowna’s Center of Gravity Festival on the August long weekend, which will be his second appearance there.
Immaculate’s 11-song concept album with fellow artist Memo is expected for release in the near future.
Other artists scheduled to perform at the block party include Vancouver’s DJ Rich-A, who will accompany SonReal, local bands The Original Shakedown and Paperboy, as well as Windmills, Chrispin, Ecklipze, Jaicen Serait, Stage and special guests.
Sound will be provided by Envasion.
“They have been helping to create some amazing stages for festivals such as Center of Gravity and Shambhala. They also have been putting on the most epic high school dances in Vernon for the past couple years,” said Oh.
In addition, The Hub Arts Collective and Teen Junction will be setting up booths with live art and various hand-crafted merchandise to sell.