Ten great moments from Supercrawl’s 10 years

The first time the Canadian indie-rock icons Broken Social Scene played the festival back in 2011 was a pivotal moment for Supercrawl, marking the event’s transformation from a small street festival to one of Hamilton’s marquee cultural events. This year, the band is helping the festival mark another key moment in its history: Broken Social Scene is returning for the 10th anniversary to headline opening night.

3. Overflows by José Luis Torres

If you came to Supercrawl in 2016, you likely remember this bold art installation featuring a tangle of brightly coloured plastic junk spewing out of a shipping container. The piece was both a colourful backdrop for selfies and a reflection on consumerism and waste.

4. The food

Supercrawl has become synonymous with food trucks, with over 35 mobile eateries lining James Street North at last year’s festival and even more lined up for this year. Don’t come to Supercrawl on a full stomach.

5. Yo La Tengo, 2013

Yo La Tengo, a New Jersey alt-rock trio led by Ira Kaplan, was a highlight for Potocic in 2013. Booking Yo La Tengo was a huge coup for Supercrawl, and the band’s presence drew plenty of out-of-towners to the festival.

6. Max Streicher, Giants Ascending

Back in 2011, this art installation, which featured two massive inflatable figures perched on the roof of the former Mixed Media building, drew thousands of eyes to the sky. The massive dangling limbs hanging above the crowd remain one of the most memorable images from Supercrawl.

7. Arkells, 2014

Hometown heroes The Arkells drew what was then the festival’s biggest crowd to the James Street North main stage during their 2014 show. Despite some technical problems — the band lost sound briefly because fans were standing on the cables — the Arkells’ show remains one of the festival’s great moments.

“That was a huge year for us and for them,” said Potocic.

8. Riskee Ball, 2016

This was another fiery Supercrawl moment: a game of skee ball that spewed a column of fire that rose higher depending on how high people scored.

9. Sharon Jones and

the Dap-Kings, 2015

Beloved soul songstress Sharon Jones, often called the female James Brown, headlined the festival’s Saturday night lineup in 2015. Jones and the Dap-Kings put on an unforgettable show in front of a crowd of hundreds of rain-jacket wearing, umbrella-toting fans — Jones’ last appearance in Hamilton before her death in 2016.

10. Making it happen in the first place

For Potocic, who founded and directs Supercrawl, the fact that Supercrawl continues to flourish is a highlight in itself. What started as an experiment to draw more people downtown now attracts more than 200,000 people to the core and has a multimillion dollar economic impact.

“So many people rallied around to make this happen. We called in a lot of favours, especially for the first few years,” he said.

***Correction: This story was updated Sept. 13 to correct the year Supercrawl started.


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