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”.
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#AboutLastNight .. @Maxwell, I forgive all your "Bad Habits" after seeing you headline The Art of Cool Fest @aocfest and we were all very "Fortunate" to see you spread your "Pretty Wings" ! Swipe 🔙 to see /hear more of #Maxwell #aocfest ! ———- Check my instastories for more highlights of Day 1 #aocfest2018 and see what's in store for Day 2 #artofcoolfestival in #Durham ———- #SobeSavvy #lifestyleblogger #EventBlogger #musicfestival #livemusic #concert #eventrecap #NCblogger #Raleighblogger #NCblogger #919events
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!
On October 15, 2017, SobeSavvy.com was invited to join other foodies and oeneophiles at DPAC for the inaugural Sip +Savor -A Wine & Food Experience. This new food and wine event brought together North Carolina’s restaurants & culinary talents and paired them with fine wines from around the world! This was also a fundraising event to benefit Keep Durham Beautiful , a nonprofit, volunteer organization working in partnership with Durham to conserve and enhance the appearance and environment of the city/county.
Admission to this event included:
- Souvenir Glass
- Live Music on Stage
- Food Sampling from North Carolina Restaurants and notable Chefs like Scott Howell of Nana’s, Michael Lee of M Sushi, Bill smith of Crooks Corner, Eric Montagne of Standard Fords, Charlie Deal of JuJube, Brandon Sharp of Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn, Aaron Benjamin of Gocciolona, Jim Wald of Glasshalfull, Tim Lyons of Blue Seafood and Kevin Callaghan of Acme …just to name a few!
- A limited number of VIP Ticket holders enjoyed all elements of regular admission plus a private entrance/restrooms, exclusive VIP lounge where speciality spirits, rare beer and wine tastings were available to Imperial ticket holders only.
With sample areas on all three levels guests never had to walk more than a few steps for their next delightful bite or sip of wine. Every varietal imagined was represented here by a winery. Most tables paired their food with the wine right next to it, which allowed for guests to engage with restaurants and wineries at the same time. We also had the opportunity to attend wine seminars and learn more about the wines being shared from the wine producers and Sommeliers. I really enjoyed how intimate and informative this event was!
Not only was the event informative but I had so much fun meeting other food & wine lovers from the community who all enjoyed sharing stories about what was the favorite bite at this event and how wonderful our local culinary scene is here in the Triangle. We are so fortunate to live in North Carolina with its amazing Agriculture as well its own Wine Industry.
Before leaving, we checked out the on-stage experience inside the actual venue which is where I ran into some friends as well as dessert samples. That was the perfect sweet ending to this fantastic foodie event! It was such a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday Afternoon in the Bull City.
Enjoy my photo recap of this event >>here as well as my video of Sip +Savor >>here.
Unlimited Craft beer samples, unlimited gourmet food in a luxurious setting ? Where can this be found you say ? It was at the 5th annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience http://www.bullcityexperience.com/ Held at the fabulous DPAC in Durham. This one of a kind event took place in the lobbies of all 3 floors of the venue. Every imaginable beer was represented here from 35 breweries and a plethora of gourmet bites from 35 restaurants in and around Durham were sampled alongside the suds.
Guests had 3.5 hours to stroll, eat , drink and repeat . It was a festive atmosphere and people came to have fun and talk beer. Some were beer novices and some were experts. The breweries pouring were very informative and educational. Who knew so much goes into a can or a bottle ? Grapefruit beer, apple cider and tangerine beer were just a few of the interesting types on tap
Everyone in attendance got to keep their tasting glass as a reminder of this wonderful event. Be sure to get your tickets early when they go on sale for next year. They sell out fast. Cheers !