So here I am again, two weeks after another Outbreak, moved to write another vivid piece on one of the most inspiring events on our scene. This will be the third article I write on it and I wondered myself if I'd have any more to say. But it's Outbreak, the Legit Blast summer festival! There's always something to say, always stories of moments to be told.
I can talk about the moment we arrived in Vienna and already felt the energy building as we exited the airport and ran into two dozen B-boys and B-girls at the bus station, dressed colourfully fresh like we do, sticking out like a new graff piece on a white wall, and all of us Slovakia and Banska Bystrica bound. Not even in the city yet, the rhythm of 'that Vibe' already beginning to rise.
Four hours later, exiting the bus at Banska bus station, everyone dispersing to their hostel, airbnb or hotel rooms to grab a nap, freshen up or get some food before that first night party, the Haste La Muerte Anniversary that always welcomes the dancers to the city. A few more hours later, the sun long gone, dancers, DJs, weekend helpers, promoters and more, spilled once again all over the square, sitting around the rainbow lit fountain, drinks in hand and conversations buzzing in the air. The familiar Red bull van parked up and pumping out music for another liquored up seven2drink battle, in which this year a young, fiery, Belgium B-girl out drank and out danced all the B-boys to earn that intoxicated victory.
I can talk about the moments at the Friday night pre party; Jager girls and Jager shots, cheap beer and a B-boy on the mic leaving with a chipped tooth. The madness once again going down in the sloped venue of the grass and brick surrounded Urban Spot, that sits tucked away in one of the residential areas. How the stage was teeming with bodies all night, this year not just the UK heads but also individuals from Poland, Belgium and Holland, plus a group of female Slovakian dancers, all getting down together as the sounds of UK Grime caused a damn near dance riot for over an hour! Then the moment the DJ's switched and Grime vibes switched to Dancehall rhythms bringing out the Dancehall queens in all the females.
I can talk about how (B-boy) MC Ivan, the larger than life Urban Action Figure, was always fully in the moment throughout every prelim and battle he was on the mic for. His energetic, stage running, lyrical bar dropping, self-echoing-sound-effect-making vibe, urging everyone who wanted to qualify to 'show me the future,' and letting the dancers know that, 'If you ain't doing something dangerous it has to be creative and mysterious.' And then back flipping off the stage and jumping right back up when he was officially introduced to the audience, and all without ever losing his cap or sunglasses.
I can, and we all did, talk about B-boy Uzee Rock! Who created moment after moment, holding the audience in the palm of his hand every time he entered the battle. Captivating us all with how he told stories through the magic of his dance, as he slowed time down, pulled us all into his world, and made us a part of the joy with which he expressed his art.
I can talk about the moment I realised how Outbreak wasn't just setting trends but completely innovating the way we judge battles and do qualifications. On a big screen inside and TV screens outside they had the names of all the dancers who signed up for the prelims, shuffling along in numerical order, so even if you were outside cyphering or chilling you could still see when your turn to get down in front of the judges was coming up. At this, I thought of Ivan's line of, 'show me the future,' and I wondered how many people actually noticed that Outbreak it's self was showing them the future of the competition element of our dance.
I can talk about how hype and crazy the legendary Legit Blast concert and after party was, again on the Saturday night at the Ministry of Fun! How bananas everyone went over Onyx, testing the very concrete foundations of the ground upon which we all stood, as dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens, upon dozens of feet stomped and jumped up and down on the ground to, 'just, just SLAM!!'
How Sticky fingers climbed the actual stage rigging and hung off it, rapping like a Hip Hop monster come down to destroy us all with his rhymes. How him and Fredro Starr possessed every with the raw frequency of their gravel pit voices, causing the whole audience to unleash everything wild within them.
I can talk about the DJ's who, after having spent the past two days inspiring breakers to move in cyphers and go to war in battles, still had the energy and sounds to flip the script and keep the Saturday night party go till 4am! Lean, Scream, Renegade, Ervin, Smirnoff and Fleg, spinning until the sun came up, dropping rhythms that made everyone throw away any cares about getting sleep before the last day's battles, or that trip home! Everyone just losing themselves in the moment, getting lost in the movement of a dance partner, or in the collective hype of the massive of people and the intoxicating energy of 'that Vibe!'
I can talk about the patriotic togetherness of the Country vs Country, Italians head spinning on Pizza, Bean bags, foosball, Hustle jams, side games, hair cuts and basketball.
I can talk about the last farewell party on the Sunday night where, at 4am on Monday morning, with no more battles to get up for or stages to be sets, with the bars all finally closed, the DJs all packed up and gone to bed, and everyone having slowly disappeared back to their rooms for a few hours of sleep before packing and heading home in the morning, peeps from the UK, Holland, Slovakia, Prague and Poland still jammed in the square, sharing stories, jokes, easy conversation and the connection of worldwide friendships.
I can talk about all these things and more because every year there is always something to talk about from Outbreak, there are always stories to tell from those moments that build and vibe like the rhythm of a familiar song we all know the words to and love to sing. And those are the moments we search for, the stories we want to live. We want to go to those places where we are surrounded by what we love, with those who love it just as much. We want to eat breakfast while talking about our dance, culture and history. We want our days to flow to the scratch and rhythm of the DJ, surrounded by graffiti coloured walls and Hip Hop market stalls.
We want to be immersed in cyphers where we can exchange and express our art, and have a place where kids can grow and learn about the culture we love. Then we want to go to war and battle, to truly test the warrior spirit we spend hours upon hours homing and sharpening every day. And we all want to be Uzee rock, completely comfortable in our own skin, and our ability to truly express ourselves through our dance. We want to eat at restaurants and cafes together, to tell people 'I'll see you at the party later.' And then when the sun goes down we want to vibe out, we want to hear rappers let loss, we want to dance wild and free, drink a little and let off steam around others just like us. And when the music stops and the sun begins to rise we want to take a moment to chill, take it all in, and let this shared love and experience that connects us come out in the easy flow of conversations that we know we'll pick up again somewhere sometime soon.
So there it is, another year, another Legit Blast! If you don't know, get to know! If you ain't been, go!
Love once again to MG, MK and their whole team! It is in no way easy for any promoter to put on the scale of event they put on every year. We owe it to them, and all promoters, to always take a step back and appreciate the levels to which they all go to bring us the experiences we are able to have.
And much love to my people from all over the world who I connect and share with through this scene and culture. Forever sharing 'that Vibe' with you all.
The Vivid Scribe
Bboy Manny (Soul Mavericks crew)
Crazy dope Photos of all the moments by: