Sol Fusion’s 2nd annual ONE Musicfest switched up the locale—taking its faithful crowds over to Park Tavern at Piedmont Park. Some might say the event upped the ante, choosing an outdoor spread to rival other musical events in the city. With over 4,000 guests enjoying music from some of their favorite local and international musicians, ONE Musicfest appears to be cementing a place in musical pop culture. J.Carter, the man behind Sol Fusion, just might have started something. Here’s why ONE Musicfest is likely here to stay…
The Shrimp and Crab Festival
Forget wings and fingers. Sol Fusion stepped things up this year by incorporating Park Tavern’s Shrimp and Crab Festival into the fun. They may not have this kind of fare every year. However, that Park Tavern’s tasty festival was made a part of things speaks volumes about Sol Fusion’s integrity and fan following.
The sea of blankets on the lawn spoke to summer holidays past. Sol Fusion has a knack for making all of its events feel like “little vacations” (Easy Sunday at Loca Luna). This year, that feeling was only enhanced by the addition of chic “outdoor furniture” to the fertile setting.
Hip-Hop and Reggae and Rock, Oh My!
There is a reason why this event is called ONE Musicfest. “Unity Through Music” is the concert’s motto—an idiom that could be no closer to the truth. There’s a big difference between playing a bunch of songs from different genres, and creating an atmosphere with inventive mixes. Easing from a hip-hop set into Blur’s “Woo Hoo” might seem odd under most circumstances. But not at ONE Musicfest. The event’s DJs were like the X-Men, each with his/her own musical superpower.
Going to Sol Fusion events is like a watered down version of Fashion Week. The people who came out to play were definitely dressed for the occasion. This was indeed the year of the maxi-dress. Dressed in trendy sandals, cowboy hats, and other neat little trinkets, the women gave Essence magazine models a run for their money. Their male counterparts did their fair share to keep the breezy vibe going.
As I looked out into the sea of fans gathered everywhere, I saw heads of gray, college students, baby boomers, divas, urban dwellers, tourists, and just about everything in between. There is something about ONE Musicfest that kind of makes everyone “the same age.”
The first installment of ONE Musicfest was held in July 2010 at the King Plow arts facility. Though this too was a well-planned event, moving the party over to the expansive Piedmont Park area provided a lush atmosphere for an all-day bash.
Comfort of the Guests
The Sol Fusion folks have also nailed another caveat of entertainment: guest comfort. Their events always seem to keep in mind what the average person would need while getting her party on. To that effect, Sol Fusion left no detail unattended. To combat the heat (and keep fans safe) ONEMusic Fest offered plenty of lounge seating, outdoor tables, fans, and free water to keep the party going.
“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
ONEMusic Fest drew a huge crowd. But the difference between this Sol Fusion event and others is the demeanor of said crowd. No matter how close for comfort things got during the shows, the people sort of worked around each other politely, instead of jockeying for space. I guess good music really is healing.
And speaking of the MUSIC…
Though hip-hop was a prominent theme at ONE Musicfest, it was evident that the Sol Fusion crew made sure to find acts to represent an energetic and nostalgic vibe. Old school meets New School. Soul meets electronica. Male meets Female. Chrisette Michelle’s sassy sweetness was a perfect balance for The Pharcyde’s rough-and-tumble stage show. Just as Common’s musical set held the graceful hand of singer Goapele’s in last year’s installment.
In meeting a few of the acts to perform, I got the feeling that they were genuinely happy to be there. Slimkid3 and Imani (of The Pharcyde) were just as enthusiastic backstage as they were when they launched into “Runnin’” during their set. Every artist I met seemed to fit this mold.
J. Carter’s vision has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the metro Atlanta area. The decade has been marked by a generation of adults who appear to be growing younger, and meeting their kids somewhere in the middle. That Sol Fusion’s events have captured that energy is essentially what fuels ONE Musicfest. Build an oasis, and they will come.