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ONE Music Festival Attracts Music Lovers, Fun Vibes

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The smell of barbeque and noodles spread over the food truck plaza, as dozens of people waited in the food truck lines while jamming out to whichever artist was playing on the nearby Hercules stage at ONE Music Festival. The sea of multicolored blankets on the massive green lawn swallowing the seemingly dwarf Zeus stage grew until no green could be seen as the festival blessed Atlanta with beautiful people and music.

Atlanta’s entertainment star, J. Carter, brought his brainchild, ONE Music Festival, to Atlanta for its sixth year on September 12th. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood hosted the festival and provided three stages, plenty of vendors, and three flea market style areas complete with an artist village, food trucks, and an interactive art piece.

The 11-hour festival’s official goal, according to the website, was to “[bring] your favorite artists from yesterday and today, alongside tomorrow’s next big thing.” With three stages, 12 food trucks, and three vendor markets, it can be said that the festival accomplished its goal of bringing “unity through music.”

The festival was dominated by the “20-somethings” and die-hard and poser Lauryn Hill fans. The line up included  A$AP Rocky, a New York-based rapper; Janelle Monae, a pop funk artist; Raury, a local Atlanta singer, and LA funk band The Internet, along with 47 acts across the hip-hop, R&B and soul genres.

Despite several newer acts, the festival was definitely geared towards the older, adult audience. With acts such as A$AP Rocky and Raury, I could tell the festival was trying to attract teens, which they did, but besides those two acts, there weren’t many other acts my friends or any other teens I knew were avid fans of.

Most knew a few songs by Lauryn Hill and Janelle Monae, whose sets were enjoyable; but most teens may not know The Roots or even Big KRIT, perhaps due to their careers starting in 1987 and 2005, respectively, and judging by their predominantly adult fan base. The sets were equipped with elaborate lighting and top-notch audio and stage crews. The music was amazing, but you could tell who really knew the lyrics and who was just waiting around for the next artist to start performing.

My favorite act was The Internet. Not only did I fall in love with Syd tha Kid through my Odd Future obsession, but once I found out that she sings in a band I instantly became a huge fan of the Internet’s music. The group’s performance was fun and alive. Syd spent a portion of her time performing and trying to connect with the audience as much as possible, even go as far as standing on the speakers right in front of the border, which got a positive audience response. Her band enjoyed performing with them jumping all over the stage and seemingly uncontrolled dancing.

While the acts weren’t completely “universal,” the universal language of food was definitely present. The food was fabulous! It was all relatively cheap with most items under $10 dollars; it smelled like heaven and tasted like it, too. I enjoyed the Bento Bus’ Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl for $9; it was the most authentically delicious Japanese food I’ve ever had. The festival also featured two BBQ trucks and other eatery options.

The venue was only enhanced by the positive and beautiful afrocentric vibe. Vendors sold everything from Nelson Mandela t-shirts to pro-black t-shirts with the names of African revolutionary leaders on them packaged in aluminum cans. The official festival merchandise was a little on the expensive side; The cheapest t-shirt was $20 and artist merchandise, such as a The Internet t-shirt, was outrageously priced at $45.But most of it was worth every penny.

ONE Music Fest was definitely one of the festivals that shouldn’t have been missed. It was a beautiful experience, especially for a first time festival goer. The vibe, food, acts, and people were definitely amazing and next year’s festival is already being anticipated.  

All photos below captured by Thalia Butts, VOX Staff.

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