Interviews Osmic Menoe (Back To The City)

The annual Freedom Day hip-hop festival, *Back To The City*, is around the corner - and it promises to be the biggest one yet! We spoke to Ritual Media Group’s Osmic Menoe, founder of the event and all-round hip-hop maestro…

Tell me about Back To The City festival.

Back To The City is a festival that is aimed at celebrating Freedom Day, using Hip Hop as a form of expression. We are on our 8th year and can only hope to further share the importance of the day with those who will be in attendance.

What can be expected at this years fest?

Celebrating 20 Years of Freedom’ is our theme this year. Everything from the Hip Hop Summit to the fun activities at the festival will be centered around this. People can look forward to high value entertainment and bigger outlets for their chosen art form, be it dance, rap or graffiti etc.

Quest, 2013 graffiti competition winners
Amp1, 2013

How does graffiti fit into this event?

It is one of the most important elements of hip-hop, and we always make a point to highlight it. Respected graffiti artists from across the country are invited to participate in the graffiti competition, managed by Two by Two Art Studios, who are street art experts.

What feedback have you received about the graffitied pillars in the past?

The feedback has been greatly positive. A lot of value has been added to the Newtown district, as the graffiti pillars are now one of the biggest tourist attractions in town. Wedding pictures, family portraits, music videos and commercial adverts have used them as a backdrop.

What positive role does graffiti play in Joburg’s inner city?

Newtown specifically, has become a home for graffiti artists, all the street art is sanctioned and appreciated by the masses. High quality works are produced and people are starting to understand that graffiti murals and graffiti vandalism are two different things. City councils are showing support, artists are getting commissioned for their work, tourism is increasing, and long term value is created.

Graffiti pillars
DS, 2012 graffiti competition winners
Osmic Menoe, founder of the festival.

Anything else you’d like to mention about BTTC 2014?

It will be bigger and better. For more information visit http://www.backtothecityfestival.com, follow us on Twitter @backtothecitySA, and “like” our Facebook Page ‘Back To The City Festival’.

>> We have 2x Double tickets to giveaway! Check out our Facebook page for more info about how to win.

Live performances on the main stage in Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown
Ryza, 2012

© Copyright 2014, Graffiti South Africa™.
Graffiti South Africa™ thanks Osmic for this interview.
First published on 16 April 2014.