The Art Of Cool Project music festival, held in Durham, North Carolina, has been described by some as the Coachella of jazz. Now in its fourth year, it’s a festival that has steadily gained popularity with people around the world thanks to its healthy mixture of artists from the worlds of jazz, soul and hip-hop who are currently right on the creative musical pulse. Curated by Dr. Cicely Mitchell and jazz musician, Al Strong, it takes place over a three day period and covers multiple venues within a very small radius within this picturesque southern town which was historically the home of American tobacco production and the southern black, Wall St.
In 2016 I spent five days basking in its musical glory and managed to talk to the great and the good, artists and organisers alike, involved in the making of this incredible celebration of the black musical diaspora. One town with one vision under one musical movement.
Artists involved in the 2016 AOC Festival included, Terrance Blanchard, Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Thundercat, Rapsody, Anderson.Paak, Otis Brown III, Marcus Strickland, Charanee Wade, The Internet, Chantae Cann, Moonchild and many, many others. The festival also included the ‘Innovation Of Cool’ – workshops which celebrated black entrepreneurship and technical innovation.
Further information: aocfestival.org
Under Carolina Skies – Art Of Cool Festival 2016