It has been a long time since I participated in a Hiphop festival or any sort of music convention. I recently attended the A3C Hiphop Festival in Atlanta, GA and I was glad I went. As a matter of fact the last Hiphop festival I attended was the very first A3C Hiphop Festival where I performed with my group Prophetix.
Having attended and performed in major festivals like the CMJ Musicfest in New York City, I knew what kind effect these festivals have on an artist’s career. These events usually last a few days and there are many performers and opportunities to network. I have watched the A3C Hiphop Festival grow into a big annual event and now there are music business panels, seminars and workshops. It started off just being live performances.
Even if you are not performing, you can still go to network and meet some new people. You will never know where you might run into these people again and what kind of effect you had on them the moment you met.
This year I went as someone who enjoys good Hiphop music. I am not just referring to the commercial music that is played on the radio constantly but the classic music that made Hiphop not only a great and powerful genre but a great and powerful culture as well.
Here is some advice I can share that I learned over the years of attending Hiphop festivals:
1. Don’t be afraid to talk to the celebrities
If you are serious about being in this business, you are going to have to approach people of celebrity status. I learned from the legendary emcee GURU from Gangstarr (R.I.P.) how to conduct myself when approaching celebrities. They are people with eyes, ears, and skin just like you and I. Be respectful and let them know how you feel about their music but do not overdo it.
2. Don’t be afraid to network
If you are not performing on the stage or somewhere taking a restroom break, you should be building new relationships and strengthening old ones. Since I am from Atlanta, I knew many of the people that were already a part of the local Hiphop scene but some of my best experiences came from meeting new people from all over the country. With all the ways to stay in contact with people today such as Facebook and Twitter, you would be maximizing your admission fee by getting some solid, relevant connections.
3. Don’t be afraid to have a great time
I can not remember one festival I attended where I did not have a ball. The seminars and panels are great but the best part are the live performances. Good music is great to hear live. When the rapper on stage says, “Throw ya hands in the air”, do not be afraid to do it. As a matter of fact, take a cue from Nike and “Just Do It!” Why be involved if you can not have fun?
Go to a music festival. Meet some new friends at the concerts or offer to treat someone for lunch. You will never know what can happen if you do not get out and see for yourself.