Manifesto Fest enters new era with Dwayne Dixon
Bringing to light some of the world’s and Toronto’s finest artists from all walks, this year’s festival promises to be the largest yet.
Including everything from visual art exhibitions to musical talents performing, along with the usual plethora of workshops and community happenings, there’s something for everyone to look forward to.
Part of the reason for the expansion of the festival, is the newly appointed Executive Director Dwayne Dixon as of July 19, 2013, who brings with him over 15 years’ experience in both the corporate and community arts.
Dixon, who spent the better part of his 15 year career developing his company Follow Your Instincts, which serves as a platform for emerging talent in the urban music sector specifically. FYI provides infrastructure and opportunities for them. Dixon brings to Manifesto a wealth of experience that will be nothing short of beneficial to the art community.
“I’m a product of this beautiful city of ours,” Dixon opened up the interview with. “Through the years, I’ve been the artist. I tried my way as an emcee. I realized it was hard. Where my focus came from, was creating stages to build artists. That’s how I formed Follow Your Instincts.”
Dixon elaborated that when it came to recording urban artists, Canada might be on par with the rest of North America, but when it came to having stages to play on, it’s severely lacking. FYI ran as an Apollo style showcase, and expanding into a kids program as well for up and comers.
Completely unrelated to the arts, but somehow has tied into every position he’s held in the arts, was his full time position at Manulife Financial for nine years. What he learned there now carries over into managing the festival’s finances and best utilizing the funds allotted to the festival and also the community itself. As the Manifesto Community Projects run year round.Most recently Dixon has spent his time as the vice president of the Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC) and also co-chairs on Toronto’s newest Local Arts Service Organization (LASO), North York Arts (NYA.)
Now moving forward, all he hopes to achieve as director of Manifesto is to expand the community as much as possible, to incorporate as much and as many arts and artists as possible into the project.
Organizing a project of the magnitude of the Manifesto Festival is no easy task to overcome, but Dixon lauds the efforts of his new cohorts and their countless contributions.
“We have great people that work around the clock to make this festival happen. And how we do it, we take this huge juggernaut that is Manifesto, and we slice it up. We then divide it by individual discipline.”
Besides Dixon’s arrival on the scene, there are some familiar faces on the bill that will surely excite fans and bring them out for the music portion. West-coast of the U.S. hip-hop legends, Souls of Mischief, will be headlining a free show with none other than Los Angeles star Jhené Aiko at Yonge-Dundas Square, Sunday, Sept. 22.
“My main concern is to give equal billing to each and every discipline, not that it has been a challenge necessarily, but I’m cognoscente not to give music or education all the kudos.
“This is the city of Toronto we live in, and it’s a very diverse city, and this festival needs to reflect that diversity.”
I couldn’t possibly list all the events going on, because no one would ever get through the whole story. Find out what’s going on and what you can be a part of by visiting www.themanifesto.ca/festival/2013/.