Ryerson Student Union's Sundown Festival isn't your average semester-starter jam

Since its incorporation in 1967, the Ryerson Students’ Union of Ryerson University has been providing campus support by advocating for student rights, creating a sense of community through various groups, offering services and delivering unique events that are accessible to the entire institution.

One of these events includes their annual semester starter concert. BanTOR Radio is alumni of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, and at the time, we knew this event as the “Parade and Picnic.” I (Ola) distinctly remember the long walk down Yonge Street towards the Toronto Island ferry terminal to head to the island for performances by Shad and MSTRKRFT. Over the years, the event has evolved into something bigger. Since Drake and Future’s appearance during frosh week, alongside Zeds Dead, and P Reign in 2015, to the DJ Esco-headlined 6 Cent concert (which cost guests six cents), it has only gone up from here. But at this year’s Sundown Festival, the prices have stayed down to catch an A-List lineup, all the while offering a fine balance between local and international sounds.

Although he dropped out of the 2015 show last minute, Miguel redeemed himself as the headliner for Sundown Toronto Music Festival, with Joey Badass and Toronto’s own Sean Leon providing some sturdy sonic support. Brooklyn’s The Skins added a great interlude between local love from friends of the show Jayemkayem and The Sorority, with DJ Intrinity on deck to prime the crowd. BanTOR Radio was there to capture the action. What better way to launch a new school year?


Friends of the show The Sorority kicked the fest off with their signature flare and lyricism. In the short time since we last saw the group at MNFSTO they’ve completely revamped their stage show with new cuts and choreography. The four MCs took the Ryerson crowd on a musical journey which included throwback tunes the 90s and 2000s. In addition to being in the group all four members have solo projects which they took turns performing. Haviah Mighty, Lex Leosis, pHoenix Pagliacci and Keysha Freshh all let their individual talent shine while also working cohesively as a group. 


Brooklyn band The Skins performed tracks off their 2016 album 'Still Sleep' The band consists of siblings Bay Li (vocals) and Kaya Nico (bass) ,Reef Cole (drums) and guitarists Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell though Kaya was not able to make it to the gig. Despite all members of the band graduating from New York's school of Rock the band has an R&B vibe to them. They played 'Bury Me' and 'Runaway' off Still Sleep during their performance.


Next up was Sean Leon. This is my 3rd time seeing Maui this year and never fails to bring grit and intensity to his live show. With this being his second consecutive performance for Rye students he declared himself an official Ryerson alumni. Just like his performance at the Mod Club, Leon was supported by Jordan Fall (DJ), Jack Rochon (guitarist), Adria Kain (vocalist) and a Violinist. He tore through his catalogue performing ‘Sidelines’, ‘Fav Rapper/ Hundred Million, ‘Charge it to the Wav’ and other heaters off his album ‘I Think You’ve Gone Mad’. The show was stopped for a moment as Sean Leon’s daughter Xylo came on to the stage to wave to the crowd, it was a really tender moment. Leon closed out his set with ‘Steve Harvey/ Family Fued’.


"Pro Era Era, Pro Era Eraaaaa!" shouted Brooklyn, New York's Joey Badass, striding across the stage. Our second time seeing the yung hip-hop legend and borougHero, Badass never fails to deliver fierce bars and confident verses. Whether sharing new tracks, like the catchy redemption anthem 'Devastated' to the gospel and lesson-laden 'Temptation' from his latest, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, to classics from 2012's 1999 and 2013's Summer Knights (He killed 'Waves'and 'Survival Tactics'), everything flowed seamlessly as the crowd bobbed up and down in unison. Getting a notification stage-side to wrap up, Badass' set was cut short, but he ignored all cues and kept on, living up to his name in true rebel fashion.


Although he dipped out of the 2015 Parade and Picnic lineup last minute, Los Angeles' carnal crooner, Miguel, redeemed himself with a stunning performance to close out Sundown Fest. Known for his sultry vibes that blend elements of Rock, Soul, R&B and Funk, the multi-talented artist possesses incomparable charisma and an insatiable sex appeal. Clad in aviators and a military-inspired outfit (peep those Versace boots, though!) Miguel hit the stage licking his lips and analyzing the crowd, probably plotting his execution of what would be a flawless set. He shared fan favourites from Wildheart ('Simple Things, 'Waves,' and my fave, 'Coffee,') and Kaleidoscope Dream ('Adorn' and 'Do You'), before breaking into a Drake-fueled Toronto sound interlude with his super tight live band. Miguel hopped on the 808s to lead the group with a new track, and delivered some serious energy as he criss-crossed the stage and tangoed with his fringe micstand. Stepping off to fake the end of the set, he returned for an encore performance of his new single, which has a crazy Director X-directed video shot in Toronto (and features friend of the show, Dre Ngozi). "We couldn't leave without doing Sky Walker, now, could we?" And so he did, sky walking on out, with the sun down, and spirits high. 

Ryerson Students' Union supports students in all aspects; whether through groups, finances, rights, services and getting turnt. Coming back to cover the fest makes us proud alumni.