Event Recap | The Art of Cool Festival 2018 – 5th Yr Anniversary @aocfest #AOCFEST | by SobeSavvy.com

The Art of Cool Festival 2018 has come to a close, but we here at SobeSavvy.com was fortunate to attend and share with you some of the magical moments from #AOCFEST. There has been so much growth since we attended the Art of Cool Fest in 2015, and I am so glad to be apart of highlighting this amazing festival. This past weekend, we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of this great music festival that brings jazz-inspired music, artists and all the Cooligans together in Downtown Durham, NC. Trust me, you don’t want to miss next year!

This year the AOCFEST experience was expanded to include Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and Soul performances by renowned artists from around the world! 20+ artists, 6 venues, 1 price to enjoy: Live Music Concerts, shop from local vendors at the Urban Street Market, dance, mingle and network at the various Day Parties, savor Durham cuisine from the featured Food Trucks and quench your thirst at the Beergarden. The AOCFEST 2018 truly had something for everyone. It’s an amazing sensory experience you must see, taste, hear, and feel!

DAY 1- SEPT 28

The fun began on Friday with the arrival of music lovers to Downtown Durham. Festival goers could shop for some official merch at Wristband City, grab a cocktail, and listen to live music at various pop ups and attend free Innovate Your Cool seminars / workshops focused on Innovation, Music and Culture. I caught at DJ set on the rooftop at Unscripted Hotel where The Lux Blog held a meet-up mixer to welcome everyone including bloggers/social media influencers to the Art of Cool festival. It was a vibe!

Downtown Durham is a walkable city and the perfect place to host the AOCFEST because all the venues are conveniently within walking distance to each other. Just a couple of blocks over from Unscripted, I was able to catch MeShell N’degeocello at the Carolina Theater. She is a talented singer and musician who reminded us in the audience that although the lighting was not ideal, MUSIC. IS. SOMETHING. YOU. FEEL. She took us down memory lane by singing her funky smooth renditions of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam “I Wonder If I Take You Home”, Al B. Sure “Night & Day” and TLC ‘s “Waterfalls” along with her classic song “Grace” from her album Bitter.

Maxwell headlined at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is new on this list as an official AOCFEST stage. Everyone who was either seated in the stadium watching his concert from the jumbo screen or on the field could see his moves and feel his groove! There were so many favorite songs by the incomparable male singer that turned into a sing-a-long, such as “Pretty Wings”, “Bad Habits” and “Fortunate”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 1 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Day 2 – SEPT 29

Downtown Durham was the place to be for the second and last day of music and festivities. Even if you were not going to the concerts, there were so many ways to support the community and enjoy the amazingly cool city of Durham. A 90’s style vintage pop up party hosted by The Key to Style was my first stop before heading to the heart of the Bull City. CCB Plaza, near the iconic bull statue, is where emerging artists performed cyphers and Hip Hop radio station K97.5 held a block party showcasing local talent.

From there, I took a short walk to Pinhook, an iconic live music venue in Durham perfectly sized for intimate performances. Durham’s own Zoo Cru were up first. This quartet of musicians jammed out to their own unique sounds that is really beyond description. Not electronica and not R&B but a subtle blend of both. I love to support local, so I enjoyed my first listen from this popular band.

Next up at Pinhook was renowned trumpeter Keyon Harrold. He has done music and horns for A listers such as Beyonce and JayZ over the years. In addition, Mr. Harrold did the music for the hollywood movie “Miles”, so his resume is unmatched. Wynton Marsalis has called him “The Future of the Trumpet”. He did not dissapoint. His breath control and range were simply amazing. He was paired with a female vocalist which added a different angle to his horn. Unique and dynamic music is just one of the many things you will always experience at AOCFEST.

What’s a festival without the opportunity to shop from a variety of vendors? The Urban Market, set up on Blackwell Street, was the answer for those of us who like to shop local. Vendors were on hand selling quality products such as clothing, artwork, accessories and natural body care products, like my favorite Nailah Shea. Enthusiastic and stylish crowds took advantage of the warm, sunny afternoon in the Bull City. It was fun for the whole family!

My AOCFEST experience ended with seeing the one and only Erykah Badu, who is the first female to headline the Art of Cool Festival. Nas had just rocked the mic and said goodnight as i was entering the stadium. Before Ms.Badu came to the stage at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the crowd heard from the new President and VP of The Art of Cool Festival, Sulaiman and Lesleigh Mausi, Founders of The DOME Group, LLC. They thanked the sponsors and all the fans for a fabulous Art of Cool Festival weekend.

Ms. Badu came to the stage with her big hat, her big hair to match her big voice and asked..”Brothers, how y’all feel? Sistahs, y’all alrite” ? She really needed no introduction because her energy fills up any atmosphere. Erykah Badu almost single handidly created the genre called “Neo Soul”. Her music, style and delivery of colorful lyrics has made her one of the most unique talents of our time! Fans filled up Durham Bulls Athletic Park and joined together to celebrate her greatness which like her song, goes “On and On”.

Watch Video Highlights of Photo Recap from Day 2 As Seen on the Scene by SobeSavvy.com! ⤵️

Electric ending to another exciting and informative Art Of Cool Festival. The AOCFEST is one of the best music festivals that gets better every year. Be sure to check out aocfestival.com • #AOCFEST and make plans to visit Durham, NC to experience the Art of Cool Festival next year! Congratulations again to Art of Cool Festival for 5 years strong!

Highlights from @HopscotchFest #Hopscotch17 #VisitRaleigh |A #soNCsavvy Recap by SobeSavvy.com

This past weekend, SobeSavvy.com was out and about in Downtown Raleigh for Hopscotch Music Festival. If you saw my recap from last year Hopscotch 2016, then you know this is a fun festival for music lovers that is not to be missed!

Official Guide 2017 Hopscotch Music Festival           

This year for #Hopscotch17, there were 120 Bands and Four Days of shows playing at the large outdoor main stages in Raleigh City Plaza, Red Hat Amphitheater, but also perfomances at The Basement inside the Raleigh Comvention Center plus day parties at the local clubs/bars. The festival features music for everyone in almost every genre: rock, hip-hop, metal, folk, electronic and more! For me, that’s what makes Hopscotch unique because it’s not genre based and does not cater to one specific type of music. It appeals to those of us who believe music is universal and all are welcome to enjoy it in the city of Raleigh!

Hopscotch Festival partners with Visit Raleigh to put on an amazing 4 Day Music Festival   

Downtown Raleigh and its many venues makes this the perfect place for this festival because once you park your car, you can literally just “hopscotch” all around downtown and take in the acts. We downloaded their fantastic interactive app that allows users to customize their own music festival acts they want to see. 

Sort by venue or performer ,open up a calendar and set reminders for who, what, where,when to go see your fave artists on the HOPSCOTCH MUSIC FESTIVAL App

I decided to share our highlights on Hopscotch 2017 based on the venues and the people, performances and festival fun we saw at each place. Take a look and I hope you are inspired to go next year!

Raleigh CONVENTION CENTER (Wristband City, The Basement, Official Merch, & Flatstock) 

#Hopscotch17 | Inside the Convention Center

The Convention Center serves as the command center (in my opinion) for the festival. Here is where the festival fun begins after you pick up your wristbands from Wristband City (which allows you entry to see acts at all the venues). This is also the place where you can buy swag from the official Merch Market or even a cool piece of poster art from Flatstock. Hopscotch made great use of the convention center by creating a new venue space called ‘The Basement‘. An Exhibit Hall was transformed into a indoor club with a cool vibe complete with two full bars, a great sound system and plenty of dance space. Here is where we saw performances from Har Mar Superstar, Lee Fields and the Expressions and Kaytranada.  Watch a video recap >>here<< of their performances and if you want to see more photos, check out my facebook album

#Hopscotch17 | Friday Night in ‘The Basement’

CITY PLAZA

#Hopscotch17 Snapchat Filter + City Plaza

Just a couple of blocks over from the Convention Center at 400 Block Fayetteville was the City Plaza stage venue. They had all sorts of vendors/booths to buy and sample food and drinks. We had some great samples of IPA beer at the Goose Island Tent to get our party started!

#Hopscotch17 | Beer Sampling at City Plaza

On Friday, we saw Future Islands ,who hails from my hometown of Baltimore,Md. They are a synthpop band whose performance in 2014 on The Late Night Show w/David Letterman gave them national exposure and a expanded fan base. They rocked the plaza with their energy and passion! 

#Hopscotch17 | Future Islands at City Plaza

Saturday we returned to City Plaza for Big Boi hailing from A-T-L Georgia! The now iconic group OutKast was the soundtrack of my younger years, so I was very excited to see one half of that dynamic duo. He was joined by producer Sleepy Brown, who is a great artist in his own right. He ran thru a medley of OutKast hits like “So Fresh and Clean”, “Rosa Parks” and “Ms. Jackson” to name a few. Big Boi has not lost a step since their heyday. He rocked the mic as the hip hop legend that he is. Many of us rapped along to every lyric and turned the City Plaza venue into one big outdoor hip hop party!  

#Hopscotch17 | Big Boi, along with Sleepy Brown, performs

See video clips of the performances by Future Islands and Big Boi at City Plaza >>here.

LENOIR STREET PARTY

#Hopscotch17 | Ice Cream Competition + Food Drive + Lenoir Street Party

Hopscotch’s inaugural Lenoir Street Party was not only fun, but family-friendly. We went on Saturday for the Ice Cream Competition, which was held Saturday, September 9 from 1 – 5 p.m. at Gate 3 of Red Hat Amphitheater. The event was sponsored by the Carolina Hurricanes and their Homegrown Series which focuses on local artists, apparel designers, chefs, and musicians. The Winners were:

  • Lumpy’s..won for Best Regular Ice Cream
  • Mama Birds..won for Best Vegan    
  • Maple View ..won for Best Gluten Free! (I had some of their ‘Wolfpack Praline’ and it was soooooo good! Trophy worthy!

#Hopscotch17 Ice Cream Competition

The Lenoir Street Party which ran all weekend, was also where Hopscotch ran their 2017 Food Drive. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle offered $5 off festival apparel and a chance to win 2018 VIP passes with a non-perishable food item donation. This food drive also featured a life-sized cartoon art installation and can sculpture by Paul Friedrich, all sponsored by Coastal Credit Union.

#Hopscotch17 Food Drive

Beer & Wine, Spirits sampling booths were there but our daughter #outandaboutAva had the most fun traveling back in time to try 3 soda flavors of 1893 from the makers of Pepsi Cola and crafted in the Carolinas. We got some cool wooden like sunglasses and enjoyed some photo booth fun!  Lots of interactive tents and food trucks made this a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.

#Hopscotch17 | #1893PepsiCola Photo Booth Fun with #outandaboutAva + her Nana + her Dad

RED HAT AMPHITHEATER

#Hopscotch17 Venue Red Hat Amphitheater 

Red Hat Amphitheater is Raleigh’s premier outdoor concert venue and this is where headlining act Solange set the stage ablaze with her stellar performance! Solange had what I like to call the album of the summer. Entitled “A Seat At The Table”, this album features songs filled with affirmations of self love, positive messages and healing.

#Hopscotch17 Snapchat Filter + Solange

Her show combined what Hopscotch is all about: Music & Design . Her entire band and backup singers dressed in red gave us a what look and felt like a solar experience!

#Hopscotch17 Solange and her band

#Hopscotch17 Solange gives Raleigh a Solar Eclipse

#Hopscotch17 | Solange sings her hit ‘Cranes in the Sky’

She sang a good portion of her Grammy award winning album and also a few of her classics from her earlier albums. “Cranes In the Sky and “Don’t Touch My Hair” were fan favs. Her self choreography was a combo of soul/funk moves with a dash of disco. It was almost retro in it’s feeling and felt totally authentic and free, as seen here in my Instagram video:

She took all in attendance on a ride and none of us wanted to get off.

See youtube video recap of Solange >>here << and thank you for reading. Bravo to Hopscotch Music Festival for another wonderful year!