Founded in 2007, the award-winning Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture is one of Canada’s biggest celebrations of hip hop culture and beyond – a multi-disciplinary, world-class festival with a positive social and economic impact.

But we’re more than just a festival. Manifesto is a non-profit, youth-powered platform designed to put local artists on the map and unite, inspire and empower diverse communities of young people through arts and culture, year-round.

Our programs aim to cultivate multi-disciplinary artistic and professional development for young people and artists across mediums. Building careers, fostering community connections and fuelling civic pride – all while contributing to the vitality of the city we love.

SINCE 2007…
Artists Showcased
Internships Created
Paid to Artists & Young People
Events Produced
Avg. Annual Attendance
Employment Opportunities Created
Volunteer Experiences Created

"The best part of Manifesto I think is the platform it provides for people to feel a part of a community and experience that community in a real way."

"Artists need this festival to get their art out."

− D-SISIVE, Artist

"I think it’s really helped increase the pride in our city"

− Eternia, Artist

"Manifesto represents the lifeblood of Toronto's urban arts scene."


"I was exposed to so many kinds of people from everywhere which ultimately led to developing good business relationships, lifelong friendships, travel opportunities, and the opportunity to work independently."

"Getting involved with the festival is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain hands-on experience in various creative industries and to learn new skills from like-minded, passionate individuals."


Developed through collaboration and dialogue with the young people and arts community it serves, Manifesto’s innovative model seeks to address a host of challenges faced by the so-called ‘urban’ arts sector in Canada, including:

Insufficient income-generating and employment opportunities for young people and artists
Unrealized benefits of greater collaboration between artists, organizations, institutions & genres
Lack of mainstream support infrastructure for homegrown artists (venues, media, industry, etc.)
Systemic disclusion and under-resourcing of marginalized and racialized communities

The process of co-creation is just as meaningful as the final product for building cohesion, supporting local infrastructure and providing powerful learning experiences.

Recognizing these challenges and committed to playing a role in facing them, we convened a handful of local artists, community organizers, event promoters and other young creatives at Toronto City Hall in 2007 to discuss an idea for establishing a different kind of local urban arts platform. One where young leaders pool their passion, talent and resources to create world-class programming that showcases our own artists and our own organizations. Where the process of co-creation is just as meaningful as the final product for building cohesion, supporting local infrastructure and providing powerful learning experiences. Since then, hundreds of talented young people have contributed to building Manifesto into an award-winning arts organization that’s had a considerable impact in Toronto and beyond.


Manifesto Jamaica

While we’re inspired locally, the challenges Manifesto addresses are globally relevant and its model is modular. Work has already begun to share the Manifesto model through international partnerships. In 2009 a group of young leaders in Kingston, Jamaica – much like the one back in Toronto – mobilized to found Manifesto Jamaica, which has gone on to do incredible work in empowering young people and artists across Jamaica through arts and culture.

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