The third Annual Cookout festival is happening in Hamilton this Saturday August 8th. As Southern Ontario reaches ‘peak-festival’ it is frustrating that hip hop is still an under represented genre at these events. As a hip hop fan myself it is frustrating to see the way rock music and classic rock is respected in festival circuits, and to notice that there is no counterpart to that sort of support when it comes to hip hop. The guys behind Hamilton’s In Tha Kut have been working to change all of that through their radio show, frequent club shows, and the Cookout Festival.

You can find the set times and ticket info on the Facebook Event Page. Check out what organizer Mike Truman a.k.a. Mookie has to say about the Cookout.

Q – Can you tell us a bit about how The Cookout got started? What was the drive behind this festival?
We started the Cookout, three years ago because there was no festival or major event showcasing hip-hop outside of Toronto. Events like Supercrawl, and Scenefest are awesome, but we needed something special for our community. There’s a huge amount of talented hip-hop & electronic music acts in the area, and the Cookout strives to give them a stage to shine.

Q – Why ‘cookout’? Why did you decide to join hip hop and food for this event?
Connecting with some of the great food vendors in the area came naturally. We’ve featured foodtrucks at our event for years, and The Cookout, allows us to offer even more variety. The event will feel like a backyard BBQ, or a Summer block party. We’ve got Meatventures serving their smoked & grilled meat delicacies, Sensational Samosa from the farmer’s market, & a new vendor, The Patty Shack.

Q – How do you manage to wrangle so many performers for this one day festival? 
Managing 2 dozen acts is a challenge, but it’s very important to us to showcase as much music as possible. This year, instead of hosting the event ourselves, we’ve enlisted local legend, Eklipz aka Leon Robinson. This way, we can focus on managing the stage, & taking care of our guests.

Q – Southern Ontario has hit ‘peak festival’ in my opinion – it seems like a new festival springs up every other week during the summer. What’s sets The Cookout apart?
The Cookout has the biggest & most diverse hip-hop lineup of any festival in Canada. The chance to experience legendary acts in an intimate venue also sets the night apart. We try to offer something special every year. 2013 saw AZ reuniting with Cormega & DJ Doo Wop. 2014 featured CL Smooth performing the entire Main Ingredient album. This year, we host Bobbito Garcia’s first DJ set in Canada. These aren’t the same acts playing the festival circuit all Summer.

Q – Can you tell us a bit about the headliners?
We’re honoured to welcome our amazing headliners this year. Buckshot is a Brooklyn legend performing for the first time in Hamilton. He has years of classics, from solo to group work with Black Moon, & Boot Camp Clik. Lord Finesse is revered equally for his beats & rhymes. A founding member of DITC, Diggin In The Crates, the crew that gave us Big L, & Fat Joe. Finesse blesses Hamilton for the first time, and is joined by DJ Precision of The X-Ecutioners. Our headlining DJ is Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love aka Cucumber Slice, playing an all vinyl set for his first Canadian gig. Bobbito is a legend in hip-hop, dating back to his radio show with Stretch Armstrong, and his column in rap pages. He’s also a pioneer and fixture in the street basketball scene and sneaker culture.

Q – Who is the sleeper hit of this festival? Is there someone who isn’t super well known in Hamilton that people should be looking out for?
The sleeper hit of the festival is probably First Division, a Toronto duo that haven’t performed together since the late 90s. They recently teamed up with DJ !Kryme Won, & have a new single with DJ Premier. Also look out for John P’s live beat set.

Q – Can you complete this sentence – – “The Cookout will be a success in my eyes if______”
The Cookout will be a success if people are still talking about it next Summer.

Thanks Mike!