Since moving back to Hamilton, I've been hard-pressed to find the artistic community that everyone's been raving about. I still feel like there's more to do in my old neighbourhood of Parkdale in Toronto than there is in all of Hamilton. I might be mistaken. But tonight, I trekked out to my first Supercrawl and was amazed at the all the beautiful people getting together and having a great time.
If Hamilton were like this more often, I wouldn't still be longing for my years in Toronto. But circumstances being what they are, I'm here, back in Hamilton, and Supercrawl showed me that Hamilton's arts community is thriving.
It also demonstrated that there is still the unfortunate necessity of free, large-scale festivals to get the public out and supporting the arts communities. It's better than nothing, and difficult to expect much more. Being a suburban city with a lot of sprawl, and a population consisting largely of families, it's often going to take weekend events to get the populi out and about.
The city needs to attract a younger, more outgoing demographic to give a boost to artists. More events like supercrawl need to take place and they need to take place in the city's neighbourhoods -- as great as festivals like the Festival of Friends are, and as much of a staple memory as FoF is in my childhood, sending throngs of people out to a fairground does little to support the businesses in the core, which helps make the city come alive. I know Locke Street has a festival, but there needs to be more.
One other thing I've noticed since moving back to Hamilton is that there seems to be no neighbourhood pride. Most people don't even know what neighbourhood they live in. In Toronto, everyone knows where Liberty Village is, where the Junction is, Leslieville, Roncy, The Danforth. I bet if I told you I live in the neighbourhood of Vincent here in Hamilton, you would have to look it up on Google Maps. Do you know where Macassa is? Inch Park? Stipley? Barnstown? Hampton Heights? Industrial Sector C? No? I bet you know where Meadowlands is, though. Hamilton would be wise to start instilling a sense of neighbourhood pride.
All that being what it is, Supercrawl was an amazing event, put on by amazing people -- none of whom I know (yet [invite me over, folks!]) -- and attended by happy wonderful citizens of Hamilton and beyond. In fact, the only person I bumped into that I know was in from Toronto to check out Yo La Tengo.
I spent about four hours walking up and down James Street North, taking pictures. Here's about 100 of them. Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments!