Piedmont Park and Park Tavern are no strangers to hosting Atlanta’s premier festivals. The beautifully appointed green space and restaurant have upheld their reputation as the epicenter of Atlanta’s cultural outdoor experiences. On August 27, 2011 the ONE MusicFest joined the ranks of Atlanta’s most talked about events. The highly anticipated festival was produced by J. Carter along with Park Tavern and sponsors Miller Lite, Ford, Mountain Dew, Absolut Vodka and Creative Loafing. In conjunction with Park Tavern’s Crab and Shrimp Festival, ONE Musicfest was in short—a perfect summer event.
If you were one of the one’s who missed out, allow Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine take you on a summer time experience you’re sure to hear about this week.Imagine a collage of the coolest, most eclectic folk you’ve met; bohemian chic divas, mohawked pierced metalheads, skinny-jeaned skaters, die hard hip hop fans and everyone in between. Now imagine that all of those people are mingling, eating seafood platters (which were so delicious, you would’ve thought we were on the coast), laying out in the sun and kicking their shoes off while dancing to the live bands and DJs. Artists from Anthony David to Foreign Exchange rocked hard, then strolled through the festival chatting with guests. The Cool Kids had the crowd in a unified sway back and forth with their hands in the air. The evening’s MC, D.R.E.S tha BEATnik, noted that the diversity of the artists was a “stroke of genius”. He flew in from overseas to co-host the festival. Multi-platinum record producer, Bryan Michael Cox rocked along with a sea of attendees while Foreign Exchange re-energized the crowd. There was even a marriage proposal (she gladly accepted)!
For twelve straight hours, there was not one conflict, only an expansion of the “spread love” vibe intended for the event. DJ Kemit started the party, mixing Nirvana with Michael Jackson and it worked. The tone for the evening was set: unity through music. Perhaps it was the diversity of the artists. Maybe it was the creative “spirits” that the Park Tavern baristas were serving. It might’ve been due to the “come one come all” atmosphere of the promotion. Whatever the reason, ONE MusicFest should be renamed ONE LoveFest. I personally witnessed a woman dancing so hard that she knocked over another guest’s drink. They both laughed it off and headed to the bar, dancing hand in hand. Host, Phife Dawg (best known from the group A Tribe Called Quest) obliged me with great news; his album “Songs in the Key of Phife” is coming out within the year!
This was not your average music festival. The beauty of ONE MusicFest was that artists such as Anoop Desai were introduced to a new fan base. We can’t wait for his 3 (yes, 3) upcoming albums to be released next year. Festival producer, J. Carter took risks and they paid off big. Who knew that the kid from American Idol could groove and rock out with the best of them? “Searching for the One” contest winner Kyron (Ki-RON) Leslie (in a vintage Jimi Hendrix tee) worked the concert goers like a Motown veteran. He sang his single, Reverse, but then mixed it up with classic R&B ballads, having mature women squealing like teens. Neo-Soul Sensation, Anthony David broke hearts with his set and then tore the stage down, singing a duet with Algebra. The Foreign Exchange, Pharcyde, and headliner Chrisette Michelle delivered live performances that could have been recorded and resold on site.
Debatably, the best performance was from Tortured Soul. If you’re wondering who Tortured Soul are, you’re not alone. I was not the only one who didn’t know about this soul, funk, jazz, disco, rock band. Before they took the stage, I watched the three members (Christian, Ethan and Jason) with their suits and skinny black ties laugh with the press. I questioned J. Carter, “What were you thinking?” He only responded with a sly grin “you’ll see, just watch.” Forty minutes later, after howling at the stage and dancing with strangers–I was singing along “It’s time to make up your mind!” I immediately went online and downloaded their album Did You Miss Me (Dome Records).
The ONE MusicFest was a party with a purpose. This year’s philanthropic partner was The Atlanta Music Project. Founder, Dantes Rameau spoke passionately about the music program, the youth it serves, their performances and the project’s mission to encourage unity and love. “The fit with ONE MusicFest was perfect because we share the same ideals.” FunkJazz Kafé founder Jason Orr summed it up best “Music lovers have stuck together. They know what good music is and where to go to get it. We need loving music and a loving environment. Atlanta is Atlantis.”
Tastemakers, I could go on for pages and pages. In short, ONE MusicFest was the best event of Atlanta’s summer. Be there next year. I will.
–Written By: Janean Akilah| Photography By Chanda Scott