14th annual YorkFest is ready to rock

Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist K’Naan and The Stills, the band that fronted for Paul McCartney at Quebec City’s 400th anniversary concert for 270,000 people, will headline this year’s YorkFest 2009 concert, Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Centre of Excellence, Rexall Centre on York’s Keele campus.

This year, York University celebrates its 50th birthday and YorkFest 2009 is one of the official events celebrating York’s history.

Left: K’Naan

Now in its 14th year, YorkFest is the annual extravaganza organized by the Student Centre and the Underground to kick off the school year and is one of the largest welcome events held on any university campus across Canada and certainly the largest of the year at York. Again this year, the event will take place over two days, with the YorkFest Village on Sept. 22 from noon to 6pm. The YorkFest Village, an exhibition that features more than 200 services, companies and student clubs, is often students’ first glimpse of the many opportunities and services available at York.

“Our main goal for YorkFest is to bring the student community together in a celebration of all that is good about York,” says Saqueeb Rajan, marketing & events manager at the York Student Centre. “It really is a microcosm of the University.”

All York-affiliated groups, services, clubs or organizations that are approved by the office of Student Community & Leadership Development have the opportunity to receive a booth during the day.

Right: Event staff enjoy the 2008 YorkFest

“With over 200 clubs and sponsors, the YorkFest Village has something for everyone. Our sponsorship program is so successful that YorkFest, which costs almost $90,000 to put on, does not require any funds from students – it’s a great free day from York,” says Rajan.

YorkFest 2009 will once again take place in the Rexall Centre’s Centre of Excellence building, which has room for 4,000-plus students and guests, rain or shine. The concert is a closed York-only event and members of the York community, including Glendon, Seneca@York and alumni, will be able to attend with a valid York ID card and valid government-issued ID. Each York member will be allowed to bring one guest to the concert.

Concert lineup


One of the hip-hop genre’s more adventurous artists, Somali-Canadian artist K’Naan, will be the featured performer at this year’s concert. Showcasing material from his recently released album, Troubadour, K’Naan (which means traveller in Somali) raps, speaks and sings about the hardships of growing up in his homeland of Somalia using reggae rhythms, Latin horns and African beats.


On July 20, 2008 the Juno-award-winning Montreal band played to a crowd of over 270,000 in Quebec City, opening for Paul McCartney, for the city’s largest concert ever, to celebrate its 400th anniversary.

Right: The Stills

The Stills were awarded Junos for best new group of the year,and best alternative album of the tear for their 2008 album Oceans Will Rise.


Snow was born and raised in the city projects of Toronto. While in prison he learned to speak patois from other inmates and from there as a singer he found a love for Jamaican music. He studied and sang reggae music with a passion and later made Kingston, Jamaica, his second home.

Rival Boys

The Toronto trio consists of brother-sister tandem Graeme and Lee Rose on guitar and bass, and Sam Sholdice drumming. Their sound is described as “rock, minimalist, and melodramatic popular”  music on their MySpace Web page.


The melodic York hard-rock group AFFINITY (left) formed at year’s end in 2008 when vocalist Ashley Curtis and drummer Sean Hillman together found the missing pieces needed to form a new group by merging with lead guitarist Mark Kaczor, rhythm guitarist Paul Loduca and bassist/keyboardist Mack Flynn.

March saw AFFINITY win York University’s Garage Works competition for spots opening as openers at two outdoor festivals, York’s 50th anniversary and YorkFest.

DJ Manifest

This artist’s "Toronto Morning Live" program is the flagship morning show at CHRY 105.5FM and can be heard every Monday morning from 7 to 10am. He is an accomplished tour DJ, travelling radio personality and media award winner.

For more information on this year’s event and links to the performers’ Web sites, visit the YorkFest 2009 Web site.