Over the past decade, destination festival culture has exploded, with artists from all walks of life and people from all over the world gathering in one place to party with like-minded peers. Now Brooklyn, New York’s best-kept black secret, Afropunk, has an entrance fee and international ramifications. Chicago has Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. California has Coachella. Nevada has Burning Man. In other words, we are well past Woodstock.
What if you didn’t have to move? What if you could get together in your own backyard and celebrate the music that was made in your home, showcasing its pioneers in all their emerging glory? Soon, the first Kindred Music & Culture Festival will hit Roosevelt Park, and thanks to founder Leah Hill, Detroit will have a brand new festival to add to its summer entertainment lineup. The festival was originally scheduled for Saturday July 21, but was postponed to Saturday August 18 due to bad weather.
Hill says she aspires to attract different pockets of the city’s music and cultural scene to create an experience that feels familiar to her. “For me, it’s always been about wanting to do business, but wanting to do business means something,” she says.
Performance, Vendor, and Business Day has been defined since December 15, 2016, when Hill was completing an entrepreneurship course at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She says she wanted to shake up the status quo with a people-centered and impactful idea. In its green-inked draft form, filling a page of notes in Hill’s UM notebook, the “Black Culture Fest” plan included key event-planning elements such as city permits and promotions. , as well as a bulleted list of sponsors. She set the original planned date for the festival as early June 2018. This idea has since evolved into the Kindred Music & Culture Festival. As they say, a goal is a dream with a deadline.
While in school, Hill says she toyed with the idea of going down a more traditional path by landing a flashy job as a fashion buyer for Bloomingdale’s, where she would probably have to move to a bigger city and wear black. daily by guide company. When we visit, Hill is the sole employee of a three-person PR firm called Mario Morrow and Associates; the rest of the team is gone for the day. Hill has a new fade between a pair of hoops, and she dons a lightweight black summer dress (selected by choice, not company policy) and a small stack of silver and gold chains. As she moves from her desk to a more appropriate seat at a council table in the center of the office, she recounts how she went from business school to starting her own festival in a notoriously musical city.
“I wanted to do something that would nurture the culture in a way that we don’t necessarily see in Detroit,” she says. “I hope Kindred can allow people who otherwise move in different circles to find that place where they are all together and there is this opportunity for young black people in Detroit to walk away after forming relationships across the city.”
Shortly after returning to Detroit, Hill realized the idea for the festival couldn’t be a one-man show, so she enlisted the help of two other women, Veniece Session and Chelsi Modest, to bring her plans to fruition. green squiggles. Session, the production manager describes her role as “making sure he has that boom and kick.” Modest, Hill’s business school mentor turned accounting enthusiast, is there to make sure the festival is economically viable. The trio kicked off and held their first team meeting on New Year’s Day (no better day to embark on new resolutions) to discuss big ideas as well as necessities, like a venue and event schedule. artists.
The team did a temperature check of the city’s music scene and picked an array of artists, hailing from the east and west sides, singers and rappers, some with a crazy fanbase and others fresh out of a new project.
“To a certain extent, the sound of Detroit is so much what people want to hear that if you’re not, it seems like you don’t get as much recognition from the city,” Hill said. “So it’s weird because the Detroit sound doesn’t go out of town.”
The initial idea was to entice big names to grace the city with their presence, but the team pivoted to expose a more accessible and immediate roster of music and culture creators in the city. They landed on a unique selection of soul singers, newcomers and rappers. The lineup features fairly equal male-female representation with a multi-talented roster including Tiny Jag, Willie Mac Jr. Monalyse, Supakaine, Bevlove, SupercoolWicked and headliner Payroll Giovanni, as well as a DJ set from official DJ of Dej Loaf, WS Kharri. In addition to the day-long art extravaganza, attendees are encouraged to support Detroit’s next generation of creatives by bringing new paint supplies to be donated to Mackenzie Elementary School.
Kindred Fest was intentionally designed to bring Detroit’s creators of color together – a place where attendees can feel seen and heard. “I can’t wait to see real black smiles in Detroit,” Session said.
The Kindred Music & Culture Festival will take place from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 18 at Roosevelt Park (postponed from Saturday, July 21); 2405 Vernor Highway, Detroit; kindredfestival.com; General admission starts at $35. Tickets will not be available at the door but tickets will be sold on Eventbrite up to capacity.
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