Greater Than One: The One Music Fest Story

“It’s like we gotta demo tape but don’t nobody want to hear it, but it’s like this: The South got something to say! And that’s all I got to say.” – Andre 3000 speech after Outkast won best new Rap Group at the Source Award 1995

Many, including Trillville and the Eastside Boyz who cited the moment during the Q&A session, would mark this as the turning point that would eventually catapult southern artists, and Atlanta in particular, to the forefront of hip hop as we know it today. The city of Atlanta has become a cultural leader in music, fashion and entertainment in the 20 plus years since Andre first made his bold proclamation. The legacy of Atlanta, establishing trends and shaping black culture only continues to grow today with productions such as One Music Fest.

One Music Fest was founded in 2010 by Harlem native Jason Carter as the premier urban progressive music festival in the South. However, its conception took place years prior according to Carter. After moving to Atlanta in the late 1980’s Carter was immediately captivated by dichotomy of the south relative to his Harlem home, “the energy, the bop the vibe, it was the music”. He recalls experiencing Atlanta staples like Edward J, Club Charles and Shyran’s Showcase, and according to Carter “from trees grow fruit and those fruits bear seeds and from these seeds other things start to grow”. It would be these roots in the budding Atlanta music scene and a spirit of collaboration that would ultimately lead to the creation of One Music Fest years later. The mission of the festival is highlighted in its tagline “Unity Through Music” and Carter maintains that intention has not changed in 9 years.

While popular TV shows such as the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip Hop often shape the perception of Atlanta to those outside the city, Carter wanted to change this image by creating an experience to showcase the diversity and range of talent in Atlanta. As an ambassador of the city it was important that he show a different perspective of Atlanta and its urban music scene. With the surge in festivals and multi day concert events, Carter set out to create a festival experience that felt more like a family cookout than an overdrawn production right in the epicenter of the south.

Through pairing legendary acts such as George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic with more modern standouts such as Nas and 2Chainz he has managed to create an environment with something for everyone.

By curating an experience that draws talent from all sections of hip hop culture One Music Fest and Jason Carter has managed to draw out thousands each year, and only continue to grow. The diversity seen at One Music Fest is vital in “introducing different communities and pockets within Atlanta to one another” says Carter.

In addition to uniting the community through music One Music Fest and Carter also recognize the need for mental health awareness within the black community. “September is suicide awareness month so we partnered with Silence the Shame and Shanti Das to address an issue that directly affects the urban community - suicide and mental health in general” through the collaboration between one Music Fest and “Silence the Shame”, Carter hopes to shine light on mental health in the urban community and music industry.

The 2018 concert will take place Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 at Central Park in Atlanta, GA. Performers include Nas, 2 Chainz, Miguel, H.E.R, T.I., Jeezy, Big Sean, Kelis, Brandy, August Greene, Big KRIT, George Clinton & Parliament and more.

For more information on One Music Fest visit www.onemusicfest.com

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Kevin Kinney