Hip-Hop on the Ave has been a tradition in the Edmonton music scene for nine years.
The event serves as both a fundraiser for Santa’s Anonymous and a platform for established acts and upcoming artists to demonstrate their craft. Admission is free with a cash donation or a new toy for 630 CHED Santa’s Anonymous.
This year approximately 20 Edmonton hip-hop artists will be participating, including Brothers Grim, Joe Durt, Deezy Tha Don, Koncept Tha Truth, DJ Ned and Mental Assassin.
Founder and event organizer, Stephen ‘Komrade’ Goyette of Future Is Grim Inc. hasn’t yet found this year’s event sponsor. Long & McQuade are providing the sound system but there is no major sponsor to help with additional costs. Goyette may have to provide DJs, food, and toy transportation out of his own pocket.
“I pull out the credit card,” Goyette says. “I’m not going to let a lack of sponsorships and a lack of funding stop this event.”
The annual fundraiser was initially a birthday party for Goyette, but as he got older he realized it was an opportunity to give back. In year two he began donating all the proceeds and toys to Santa’s Anonymous for the next year’s holiday season.
Hip-Hop on the Ave lost their previous venue—Avenue Theatre—a couple of years ago. They’ve bounced between venues to keep the event running, but the Alberta Avenue Community Hall has helped anchor the event for the last two years.
Performances feature veteran acts and upstarts getting their chance to perform in front of bigger crowd for the first time.
Goyette has seen performers like Mental Assassin flourish on this stage.
“This is the kid that about seven years ago was a rookie, and he’s been building all the time. Last year he just opened for Madchild and Snak The Ripper,” Goyette says. “Some of these kids that literally no one knew them, to now they have their own fanbases.”
Despite the hardships, Goyette hopes the event will eventually reach sustainability.
“I would love to have an opportunity to say to someone, ‘here, you’re going to run this event, I can give you x-amount of dollars.’ I can come in, I can thank everyone for coming out and I can give my founder’s speech,” he says.
Tues., Dec. 27 (12-6 pm)
Hip-Hop on the Ave 9
Alberta Avenue Community Centre, Free with toy or cash donation