How four Atlanta-based creatives inspire crowds through music and art
It’s 4:14 on a Saturday afternoon and I’ve been staring at the same four words on my screen for what feels like an hour. To say I’m stressed would be an understatement.
Moments earlier, I received a call from A.J. about a technical difficulty with the online store requiring my immediate attention. As I sat at my computer searching for a solution, I couldn’t help but get distracted by yet another barrage of gloom and doom posts on my timeline. This kind of thing tends to happen at an alarmingly high rate these days. Worse, I knew this wasn’t the time to be trolling through comments, but in some sick, masochistic way I was drawn to the negativity and radicalism.
If I didn’t know better, it would be easy to think the world was going crazy.
Eventually, I snap out of my trance as I realize I am in a race against the clock to get to the Arts Exchange. As I prepare to leave my apartment, my phone buzzes with a few last minute items our cameramen, Karl and Gregg, need to pull the night together. While racing through the city to find a pack of red balloons and a few touch lights a police officer pulls beside me only adding to the feeling of unease and overwhelm. Fear pulsed through my veins. Not because I was doing anything illegal, it’s just that guns, cops, and young black men have a poor history when used in the same sentence.
I finally pulled into the venue. My heart was pounding. I was tense and felt like screaming. However, all that changed the moment I stepped inside the door to LxVE Fest.
Upon entering, it felt as if I was being pulled towards something unique and different. Soothing blue lights tinted the hallway and traces of artwork led me along my path. A room with a bright light shining around the edge of the doorway offered the only detour leading to the Trust Ya Dopeness lounge where festival attendees could watch live interviews. However, something magical happened once I stumbled into the main room. It was like entering into a different world.
Individual stars were pressed against the charcoal black walls of the performance area forming their own galaxy with artwork by Aja Cobbs, Paul McPherson and E. Hood interwoven between mini-constellations. Light shows bounced off the ceiling and floor and a projector loop flashed images tied to the theme of the evening: United We Stand.
Almost immediately I felt the stresses of the day melt away. And from the looks of it, I wasn’t the only person astounded by the decor and overall vibe of the event. In fact, over 250 people were in attendance at the climax of the show. It was there, standing among a sea of hipsters, that I recognized just how instrumental a change of environment can be to one’s happiness or success in life.
As much as I loved the way LxVE Fest made me feel, the biggest surprise of the evening was hands down the level of talent that took the stage. Every performance was top notch and the culmination of the entire show took you through a wave of emotions.
On several occasions I found myself staring in awe as each performer, one by one, took the stage and exercised their musical gifts.
During those moments, I felt a sense of relief from needing to constantly give energy to my phone or social media; but instead, share a moment of genuine connection with real people. That’s actually the secret to a LxVE event. There is a deeper meaning to each show than what meets the eye. LxVE Fest wasn’t just a music festival with a live podcast recording. LxVE Fest brought like-minded individuals together in a room and provided a platform that encouraged relationship building and supporting one another all hidden beneath the veil of a super-dope concert.
Wrapping up the night, I took the stage alongside AxJ to give our final remarks when it hit me. Hearing AxJ encouraging his peers to support one other was a vivid reminder that it is we who create the change we want to see in the world; and by failing to do so, we must live with whatever fate our inaction hands us. So be bold, be brave, and be unrelenting in the pursuit of your dreams because you never know what change they may inspire.