Events

Supercrawl 2012 in Pictures

A collection of moments I captured while enjoying the festivities on Friday evening and Saturday.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 16, 2012

this article has been updated

This collection of photos isn't meant to be exhaustive or representative of everyone's experience at Supercrawl; it's just a collection of moments I captured while enjoying the festivities on Friday evening and Saturday.

Friday

The weather angels like Hamilton. Last weekend, the heavy rains of Friday night cleared up on Saturday morning for Locke Street Festival, and then the heavy rains of this past Friday afternoon cleared up in the evening for Supercrawl.

The weather angels like Hamilton.
The weather angels like Hamilton.

On Friday night, only the street between Cannon and Barton was closed to automobile traffic. Hamilton's own Wax Mannequin opened the Colbourne Stage with a lively acoustic performance.

Wax Mannequin, performing with a lit candle on his head
Wax Mannequin, performing with a lit candle on his head

The sidewalks were crowded south of Cannon for the Friday Night Art Crawl, while north of Cannon, a sizeable crowd enjoyed walking free and enjoying the live music. Attendance on Friday is estimated at 10,000-12,000.

A sizeable crowd gathered to enjoy Wax Mannequin
A sizeable crowd gathered to enjoy Wax Mannequin

Next, Hamilton's retro-rockers Young Rival hit the stage. Unfortunately, the sound system was plagued with problems and the first couple of songs came out more or less as instrumentals.

Young Rival playing on the Colbourne Stage
Young Rival playing on the Colbourne Stage

Of course, there was plenty of action up and down James in addition to the main stage, from a spectacular marching drum band (Impact Percussion) to an old school beatbox-and-breakdance troupe.

People enjoyed walking the street
People enjoyed walking the street

Beatboxing and breakdancing
Beatboxing and breakdancing

Ikea from hell: assembling a large wooden sculpture
Ikea from hell: assembling a large wooden sculpture

Viewers enjoyed a screening of Fellini's La Dolce Vita
Viewers enjoyed a screening of Fellini's La Dolce Vita

Organic growths of hexagonal fabric adorned the streetwall
Organic growths of hexagonal fabric adorned the streetwall

The statue on the Vasco de Gama Portuguese Centre overlooks the festivities
The statue on the Vasco de Gama Portuguese Centre overlooks the festivities

The AGH Art Annex was beautifully decorated - and hopping
The AGH Art Annex was beautifully decorated - and hopping

More hexagonal patterns, this time in Lite-Brite
More hexagonal patterns, this time in Lite-Brite

A man was showing off the Edison tube player he built by playing an original phonographic cylinder on it.

Edison tube player
Edison tube player

We missed Zeus playing on the Colbourne Stage, but managed to catch Said The Whale. The sound system was still acting up, but they put on an amazing show nonetheless.

Said The Whale
Said The Whale

A big crowd enjoyed the Said The Whale show
A big crowd enjoyed the Said The Whale show

The completed sculpture, looking a lot like my first attempt to assemble an Ikea loft bed
The completed sculpture, looking a lot like my first attempt to assemble an Ikea loft bed

Saturday

Saturday got off to a slow start, as the King James Stage took a long time to set up once James was closed north of King. Unfortunately, the Highnote Ramblers were bumped so that the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and hip hop poet C.R. Avery could perform not too long after 1:00 PM (about as good as an orchestra and a beatbox can be expected to sound). However, they played a set at 4:00 PM on the War Child busking stage.

Stage crew hang the SUPERCRAWL banner
Stage crew hang the SUPERCRAWL banner

On Saturday, James Street was closed to automobile traffic from King all the way past Barton Street, with vehicles crossing at Barton and Cannon. It didn't take long for the street to fill up with people.

People filling the street on Saturday afternoon
People filling the street on Saturday afternoon

Hamilton Children's Choir
Hamilton Children's Choir

One of my highlights was finally getting to see Regina, Saskatchewan's Rah Rah perform. I had tickets to see them in 2009 when they were touring their first album, Going Steady, but the show started so late that I had given up and gone to bed before even the opening act came on. (Yes, I'm getting old.)

They have only gotten better since then, releasing a second album, Breaking Hearts, in 2010 and getting ready to release The Poet's Dead later this year.

Rah Rah
Rah Rah

A fantastically talented six-piece, the band members frequently raced around the stage to trade instruments - sometimes in the middle of a song.

Rah Rah after a position swap...
Rah Rah after a position swap...

...and another...
...and another...

...and yet another!
...and yet another!

The audience tosses around large inflatable  letters R, A and H with the Lister in the background
The audience tosses around large inflatable letters R, A and H with the Lister in the background

I haven't heard how many people were in attendance on Saturday, but the number must be higher than last year's estimated 50,000. According to the Supercrawl organizers, there were an estimated 70,000 people in attendance on Saturday, higher than last year's estimated 50,000. The street was crowded with people along its entire length from King to Barton - a significantly larger area than last year's street closure.

Crowds along James North
Crowds along James North

The crowds continue north of Cannon
The crowds continue north of Cannon

A gorgeous fashion show out of Blackbird Studios featured magnificent dresses designed by Kiki and Buckshot that sported burlesque, gothic and punk stylings, while Siouxie and the Banshees' rendition of "Dear Prudence" floated over the crowd.

Blackbird Studios fashion show
Blackbird Studios fashion show

At around 8:30 PM, the Circus Orange performed aerial acrobatics suspended from a crane over the corner of James and Wilson Street, while fireworks exploded overhead.

Circus Orange Acrobats
Circus Orange Acrobats

The silhouette of an acrobat is cast against the City Centre clock tower
The silhouette of an acrobat is cast against the City Centre clock tower

After the show ended, we finally experienced some actual gridlock on a downtown Hamilton street - but the gridlock was in the crush of people trying to make their way toward the stage.

Human gridlock
Human gridlock

Lister at night: it should look like this every weekend.
Lister at night: it should look like this every weekend.

As night fell, the Great Lake Swimmers pleased a growing crowd at the main stage.

Great Lake Swimmers
Great Lake Swimmers

By the time K'Naan took to the stage, the space in front was completely packed with fans.

Panorama: a huge crowd was on hand to witness K'Naan's fantastic concert.
Panorama: a huge crowd was on hand to witness K'Naan's fantastic concert. (Click to view fullsize)

K'Naan himself was utterly delightful, his warmth and grace lighting the stage and lifting the audience as he lovingly performed his music with a full band. His show was rich with call-and-response, and he spoke movingly about the joy of writing a song and hearing the audience sing his own words back to him.

K'Naan uplifting his audience
K'Naan uplifting his audience

Dancing Guy, who could be seen dancing his way through the festival all afternoon, was finally moved to a reverential stillness by the music.

Dancing Guy
Dancing Guy


Update: the Supercrawl organizers just published the following statement on their Facebook page:

After discussing the crowd sizes with the Hamilton Police, it appears that 12,000 people attended on Friday and about 70,000 people came to #Supercrawl2012 on Saturday. Thanks to everyone that made this year a success!

You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

21 Comments

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 16, 2012 at 20:48:59

Nice.

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted September 16, 2012 at 21:05:17

'Dancing Guy' NOT dancing? Man...

Thanks for the tour. I'm a regular to the Art Crawl but wasn't able to make it to this one. Actually, it may have been a little TOO busy for my liking but I would have loved to have gone simply for the spectacle of it all.

Awesome.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 16, 2012 at 23:02:11

Great pics and awesome that you captured Jed.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted September 16, 2012 at 23:07:36

Amazing event. Was an incredible experience. My 3rd Supercrawl, but the first for my 5 year old daughter -- who's now in love with this festival...and a big Wax Mannequin fan!

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By Tecumseh (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 07:36:40 in reply to Comment 80961

Funny, my 2 and 4 year old also loved seeing Wax Mannequin for the first time on Friday (as did I!) They were talking about the Supercrawl all weekend.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2012 at 00:01:30

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/20...

Is it just me, or has James North been attracting a more..."upscale" crowd lately?

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By rednic (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 05:35:32 in reply to Comment 80962

We were having a pint at Acclamation when he crossed the road. For some reason he didn't want to join us,

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 00:18:22 in reply to Comment 80962

Puttin' the 'gentry' in gentrification...

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 06:58:19

HPS-timate of attendance is quoted at 50K in the Spec. Peak attendance, unsurprisingly, was Sat evening mainstage... apparently 20K.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 08:54:54

Great pics...and great event. Top Hammer event of the year now.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2012 at 09:42:12

... I have the sudden urge to play Catan.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 10:20:44 in reply to Comment 80968

We should have an RTH "Catan Night".

Come out and play with your closest RTH frenemies!

Thoughts?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2012 at 14:39:10 in reply to Comment 80969

Never played it but it looks interesting. I have a copy of Anti-Monopoly I picked up at a garage sale we could add to the games table.

Games night: Colonies to Corporations

Mines a bit of an older version.

My suggestion would be to host it at Homegrown and I'll donate the game to the spot.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-09-17 14:42:55

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By Frankenrogers (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 15:30:39

I would play Catan.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 17, 2012 at 20:41:50

I saw dancing guy this morning dancing on Wentworth across from Cathedral, several of the students crossed the street to meet him. He was wearing that same brown jacket and had an umbrella he used like Fred Astaire.

Great event Hamilton. I could hardly believe I was in Hamilton Saturday nite.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2012 at 06:27:02

Re: Lister at night

Patience. Once the city's 20-year lease expires, it might be populated by businesses and tenants that work past 5pm (or 3pm on a Saturday). Until then, the darkness is taxpayer-enabled.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 18, 2012 at 07:43:14

My Supercrawl regret list of bands I wanted to see but missed:

  • Change of Heart - Ian Blurton's seminal '90s Canrock band.

  • Sianspheric - I saw them play at the Corktown around 1993 - awesome ambient space rock.

  • Highnote Ramblers - Wonderful Hamilton alt-country band.

  • Simply Saucer - I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more theremin.

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:40:09

It was my first Supercrawl and really enjoyed it. Great that it is free. Some awesome music and art work. Congrats to the organizers and volunteers, amazing job. Will return in the future no question. And yes, thanks for the pics.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 18, 2012 at 21:19:26

Sianspheric - I saw them play at the Corktown around 1993 - awesome ambient space rock.

It was a great (but too short!) set. Made me remember why I fell in love with shoegaze in the first place. Then, Chore afterward - great stuff.

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By Pedestrian (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2012 at 13:59:44

Great pics an the talent there was aweseome. However there were many things disliked. While an Art Crawl, much of the time I was tere none of th galeries seeed to have many if any people atually in them. I did not like the $300 alleged price tag to vernders nor the enforceent who removed those unable to pay such fees to be a part of the festival. I also had a growing dislike for the crowd who seemed particularly rude and pushy having been knocked into and almost knocked into so many self absorbed festival gowers it was tuly becoming a problem, Even on Lock sreet despite such congested conditions I did not have the same amount of arrogant self absorbed people who even when there was room would rather force you out of their way than step aside an inch.
Ironically a festival aimed at improving our world was the poorest attended event of the events that weekend. While not as commercial and it could have stoo improvements, the lack of support was dissapointing. Finally I will say for atmosphere and friendliness and over all good cheer, the Pagan Pride festival on Sunday outshone any of the others.
That is my two cents on that weekend anyway.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2012 at 10:07:55 in reply to Comment 81313

So if vendors didn't have to pay for tables, and with no admission charges for patrons, then who would cover the cost to put on a festival like that? You?

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