Overheard in Durham, North Carolina at the Art of Cool Festival 2014:

“I see you, DMV!” – DJ KEMIT to the crowd at the Friday night Spread Love afterparty at Republic

“DC is deep down here…” – Nnenna Freelon’s son, Pierce Freelon, standing by a food truck at Diamond View Park on Saturday afternoon

DURHAM, North Carolina (Sunday, April 27, 2014) — DC movers and shakers showed up in such strong numbers at the Art of Cool Festival that locals, festival-goers, and performing artists took notice.  This was the first year for the jazz-heavy music festival, coming together quite impressively after years of research, test runs, and collaborative efforts headed by founders Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong.  A wristband purchased in advance procured patrons entrance into 9 different venues, including two outdoor stages on Saturday, allowing them to enjoy their choices of about 50 different performances in a single weekend.


The Pinhook (far right) was one of the Art of Cool Fest venues. Also pictured, a small section of one of Durham’s many murals.

The more well-known artists like Amel Larrieux drew the largest crowds, but other artists proved to have strong “underground” followings and the after-show buzz to expand their fan base.  Adding to the cool of the weekend, many artists such as Cody ChestnuTT and N’Dambi were accessible as fellow music lovers, enjoying shows in/with the audiences and mingling with their fans.  Performances brought tasty infusions of jazz, soul, hip hop, and R&B together for an eclectic, beautiful weekend of cool.  For example, check out Inflowential (hip hop) and King (R&B).

Any go-go fans who caught the Friday night headline performance by Maceo Parker would have noticed the funk legend’s band demonstrating the birth of DC’s funk music.  [They didn’t say so, but we know so 🙂 ].

Veteran music festival hoppers and veteran music festival performers like guitarist Joel Johnson remarked that it was definitely among the best they’d attended.  Food trucks were as ubiquitous as the funky sounds, even late into the night if you were at the right spots.  The aftertaste is also spectacular, as the Art of Cool artists provide a new world of music to purchase and great shows for us to hit when they come to DC.  Peace and blessings to the groups and individuals in “Durm” who made the weekend great… special shout out to DJ Angela T… and best of luck with your arts endeavors.

Guitarist Joel Johnson at Motorco Music Hall

Guitarist Joel Johnson at Motorco Music Hall

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