PARIS. Maybe the most lovely and magnificent city all over the world. The capital of artistic avant-garde of the 20th century, where Art Nouveau was born, the capital of high-fashion, architecture, literature. It is synonymous of elegance, luxury, nobility.
However, during the 5th and 6th of October, another artistic and hidden side of the city came out, that kind which is more real, more alive and spontaneous, the street art. At the fantastic Grand Halle de La Villette, there were the second edition of the Be Street Weekend – Urban Festival, one of the most important street culture celebrations of the entire Europe, organized by the staff of the French indie magazine Be Street. Live music, art performances and pop-up fashion stores all mixed together at the same time without interruption. Such an incredible fest were more than 12000 people attended.
And within this massive, Reykjavik Boulevard were there too of course. So here we are to describing it step-by-step!
The first day, everything started at the 1 am when the doors of the festival opened. At the entrance, under a big presentation poster, the original car from the Back to The Future saga. An unexpected memorabilia for a surprising opening.
However, more interesting were surely the art installations of the American artist Ron English, creator of revolutionary spirit posters representing alternative versions of pop icons and cult products, and Tom Gilmour, english drawer with amazing technical skills whose works are influenced by the traditional tattoo art.
Took also part at the fest, three other artist which made live art exhibitions during all the festival time: Nychos, comes from Austria and his particular style consists in decomposing animals in cartooned way. Cute and shocking at the same time.
The american illustrator and graffiti writer Greg Mike, “a visionary artist with the great capacity and talent to graphically reproduce his dreams” as described on flyers. Anything else to add, just looking at his crazy and colored paintings.
And Yaia (or Yaiagift) from Argentina, probably the most talented and artistically incomprehensible one. His works are extremely brilliant and technical that you remain stunned as you see them, whatever is the subject, whether it is a representation of a skateboarding, tattooed, addicted to metal music Jesus Christ or a band of rampant skulls on a Cadillac. Incredible.
Because of his peculiarity, he worked with so many street wear brands such as Carhartt, Mishka, Emerica, The Hundreds. Street fashion brands that, as we said before, took an important role into the festival too. More than twenty companies like Saucony, Globe, Hype, Abandon Ship Apparel, Critically Acclaimed and many other from all over the world participate for selling their stuff and sharing their ideas, their art.
For example we knew the guys from the UK brands Abandon Ship Apparel and Critically Acclaimed.
The most particular store anyway was undoubtedly that one of AONO: while selling his products, the owner Paul Hewitt, a well-known barber from Brighton, did barbering during the festival, obtaining a significant success. Here is a photo of him in action.
One of the other cornerstone of the festival were all the entertainments located here and there between the main stage, the stores and the skate ramp (yes, there were a skate ramp with several pro-skateboarders riding on it. And yes, it was awesome). A huge bumper cars station opened at anytime positioned in the centre of the building, a funny “wheel of fortune” with which you could win some toys and pets, and a lot of arcade game machines to discover the past gaming era. The aim was brought you back to 80’s so every single thing was planned to be in a retro style. Well, it worked.
The friendly and curios atmosphere was really quiet since before the start of live exhibitions which began at 2pm. The Parisian electro-indie band Duellum get on the stage, opening officially the party. Although their younger age, the result was really good. After the performance, another Parisian group played a couple of songs: the Fi/she/s with their enjoyable indie pop sound.
Rock music was over so it was time for rap. The 26 years old boy from London Kwesi Darko aka Blue Daisy (in the last period also called Dahlia Black) took the mic at the 6pm. At first not so much people were staying under the stage but as he started playing his insane dark electro rap, the crowd increased immediately. His performance was aggressive, violent, dirty and at one moment he also got down on the ground, singing and moshing with the fans, a proof of his amazingly excessive mood.
Another rapper join the scene at 8pm: Rejjie Snow from Dublin, Ireland. Born in 1993, he was the youngest musicians who attended at the festival and it was visible that he felt the pressure. Anyway, as the songs were going, he showed his pure talent and his characterizing slow, deep flow came out stronger and stronger, literally.
The first part of the day was finished. The official party was going to start. Just so minutes lately after 10 pm, the most awaited moment of the night finally came, The Underachievers, the headliner started their exhibition. The hip-hop duo from Brooklyn did not only respect the expectations, they totally destroyed them. The hype was really high and for more than an hour everybody got crazy, everybody had fun. The last perfect concert for the day one of Be Street Weeknd. In conclusion, DJ sets till the end of the night.
On the following day, the timetable was lighter and the fest was planned to finish at 7pm. Because of this, just a bit of few people of the day before participated but the emphasis and the atmosphere were exactly the same. At 2pm live music started with the English rapper Mikill Pane. Londoner, precisely grown up in the Fulham quarter, he is one of the new faces of British hip-hop. His sound is totally original and fresh, mostly because the mixing of different music styles as rap, hip-hop, indie and also reggae. The performance was really exciting and engaging.
After his show another DJ set killed the wait for the last incredible performance live of the Be Street Weeknd. At 4pm, the young American rapper Aaron Cohen got on the stage. With his biting flow, he captured the fans for an hour, explaining in verses his beliefs and thoughts. He came down in Paris from Seattle and we are sure that this is just the begin of his musical career.
Meanwhile, the artists Nychos, Greg Mike and Yaia, finally completed their amazing works. After all those great shows and exhibitions, at 7pm the second edition of Be Street Weekend ended. It was an incredibly insane festival and next year, we will participate again. For sure. In any case, if you want to know more about the festival and the Be Street magazine, check out our interview at the founder and owner of the entire project Benjamin Benichou. It will be online soon!
Text by: Lorenzo Mondaini • Pics: Mile Shu / Lorenzo Mondaini © All rights reserved