Grimey 420 music festival

TONIGHT: Grimey showcases Montreal rap with 4/20 Fest

“The goal was to embrace the artists’ vibes. They gave us location ideas and we worked on making each performance unique to them.”

As Montreal’s reputation as a rap city has risen, so too has the visibility of offbeat local clothing brand Grimey. To celebrate their symbiotic success, Grimey and a host of young, talented rappers are lighting up and giving back with an inaugural 4/20 Fest virtual concert on YouTube.

Delivered as a series of short performance videos, 4/20 Fest will showcase a number of local artists in recognizable locales. The lineup includes Nate Husser, DeusGod, 999 Section, SLM, Kris the $pirit, Jamvvis, Jei Bandit and many more.

Grimey 4/20 Fest
Nate Husser, DeusGod, 999 Section, SLM, Kris the $pirit, Jamvvis and Jei Bandit among the artists playing 4/20 Fest by Grimey

The concert will capture some of the reciprocal energy that has marked Grimey’s ascent. While founder Thom Papakostas is considered the “Grime Lord” of the operation, the artists who have joined his orbit have helped make Grimey what it is today.

“It’s the first time we’re marking 4/20. It’s a good excuse to have fun and get people together, especially with everyone in quarantine for so long,” said Papakostas. “I do have a larger idea for a real GrimeFest in the future, but we’ll save it for the future (when we can all gather again).”

Those unfamiliar with Grimey or Montreal rap will get a crash course in both with the concert. On the menu will be clashing colours and visuals where bubbliness, brashness and biblical hijinks intersect.

“Our thing is going be very heavy with aesthetic, in terms of colour grading,” Papakostas said. “The goal was to embrace the artists’ vibes and mentalities within the whole performance. So when we started reaching out to artists, we asked them where they felt most comfortable. They gave us location ideas and we worked on making each performance unique to them. You’ll see: every video is very different.”

Expect “a lot of low-key spots, hotspots, outdoor areas and a lot of where the artists are from.” Grimey drove out to numerous nooks and crannies in the city, from Hochelaga to Laval and beyond, to capture footage.

Grimey showcases Montreal rap with the 4/20 Fest

Founded in 2016, the Grimey collective originally put on monthly underground punk shows, including a tribute night to late Crobar owner Rob Balazic. Since then, the brand’s Goosebumps-like logo has become more omnipresent at shows, in music videos and among streetwear aficionados around town. They’ve consistently dropped clothing on an annual basis since then, gaining prominent boosters such as American rapper Trippie Redd. Last summer for their Stay Away launch, Grimey even did popups at parks in the city.

“I love that it’s been people from all types of categories that rock Grimey,” said Papakostas. “It’s important to me. I didn’t just want just one group, like hardcore punks, wearing it, or that it’s a limited edition type thing. I want it to be for everybody, but I want people to wear it and feel like they’re part of something.”

Originally just a solo operation, Papakostas has since added collaborators with specific skillsets, like videographer Luke Drummond-Dupuis and graphic designer Leandra Ruffolo, to expand the content while retaining the original vision.

“Wearing something can be a bit like a show. At a show everyone is united together for the same thing. A piece of clothing can do that, too. It’s become my 100%, but it’s rewarding and I enjoy it a lot.

In response to their most recent End of the World clothing drop, Grimey will return with an upcoming Salvation summer launch. ■

The free 4/20 Fest can be streamed today at 10 p.m. ET via and their YouTube page.