ONE Music Fest Stakes A Claim As The Must-Attend Festival
The city of Atlanta, Georgia was host this weekend to a multitude of events where many walks of life came together for an unforgettable weekend. There were the collegiate homecomings of SpelHouse (Spelman College & Morehouse College) as well as Georgia Tech taking place. Also happening was the spectacle of the weekend in an unforgettable ONE Music Fest being held at Piedmont Park.
ONE Music Fest is “the Southeast region’s largest 2-day music festival;” Merging southern culture and music for 13-years into one major event that felt like an astounding celebration. Piedmont Park was the perfect location as one of the cities major sites was able to hold over 100,000+ participants. The infectious family atmosphere made it an event to remember. Some Festival-goers were even in the Halloweekend spirit attending with costumes.
Upon arrival, you’re swarmed with the sight of vendors, activations and a plethora of live performances which allowed everyone to curate their own experience. The bars were plentiful with a great selection of drinks if you chose to indulge on the grounds. There were also a surmount of murals and picture-worthy locations to commemorate the weekend.
The lineup at ONE MusicFest was nothing short of spectacular. There were three main stages to enjoy the artists of your choice; The Hip-Hop 50 stage which featured many legends, the P&G Stage and then the main OneMusic Stage.
Being an alumnus of Morehouse College, I was able to enjoy the entirety of the weekend with many long-term friends; In complete fashion we celebrated so as I arrived to OMF, the first performance I was able to see was Bryson Tiller at the P&G stage. This was my first time seeing him live and it reminded me how important his impact as a prime member of the shift to that “T R A P S O U L” sound. After Bryson, we were able to witness the greatness embodied in Megan Thee Stallion. If there was ever a time to be reminded of her presence as one of music’s prominent figures it was undoubtedly during her set. She commanded the stage and had Piedmont reciting every lyric with her. At one point she interacted with fans on stage. The audible chants of her name rang out as her set closed, making for a remarkable showing.
With Meg closing, you could see the entire park rush over to grab a spot for the epic final installment of the night; Janet Jackson. The queen set the stage on fire as she showcased why she’s one of the greatest performers. Janet ran through many of the hits clothed in red and accompanied by her highly-energetic group of dancers. The crowd was visually stunned. She also provided one of the biggest surprises of the year introducing J Cole to a ferocious roar. Night 1 set an unfathomable tone for the weekend.
After a brunch reconnecting with some of my closest friends, the destination was once again Piedmont Park for the close-out ceremony being Night 2 of OMF.
Unfortunately, Chief Keef was unable to perform so after getting drinks and finding a nice spot at the ONE Music stage, we prepared for the alluring presence of TEMS. Her performance was prepossessing; Captivating the audience with her beauty and vocal range. Attempting to navigate TEMS’ set then preparing for Brent Faiyaz was difficult.
The DMV native had the P&G stage crowded all the way to hind points of Piedmont. There was barely anywhere to move as everyone awaited the emergence of an undeniable star. He lit the venue up with a star-studded showing accompanied by a live orchestra. Beginning with VILLAIN’S THEME felt fitting for the narratives surrounding his character. You could hear the acoustics glaring through the speakers with him performing many records from the Sonder era up to his most recent project, WASTELAND.
The excitement from Brent only equipped everyone for the main event of the entire weekend; Kendrick Lamar.
A certified legend, Kendrick didn’t waste a minute providing an emphatic offering his long-standing dominance. His set was filled with every emotion imaginable. One of the highlights was Piedmont Park going full acapella during multiple songs including B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe. Lamar’s setlist was a journey through his illustrious career. The energy was electric as he performed tracks like HUMBLE, Alright, and DNA.”The crowd sang along with every word, turning the performance into a transcendent experience that transcended.
In addition to the music, it’s worth noting his stage production was stellar. The lighting, visuals, and pyrotechnics complemented the entire performance. He featured this massive banner of what looked like a drawing of him as a child with a shirt on that read “California.” This assisted in the final act of the night which felt like an immersive experience to everyone in attendance.
ONE Music Fest 2023 was a resounding success, and Kendrick Lamar’s headlining performance was the crown jewel. It’s a testament to the power of music to bring people together in the southern meccas, inspire change, and create lasting memories.
There are various festivals throughout the country in a calendar year but ONE Music Fest should be at the top of any festival goers list of experiences to attend. If you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for the next one.