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6 Reasons to Attend Art of Cool Fest

The Art of Cool Festival is jam-packed with activities, events, and concerts that celebrate inspired music and incredible performances.

Posted By Shayla Martin on Mar 31, 2017

As much as you’d probably like to, it would be impossible to attend everything, but here are some highlights that you absolutely cannot miss.

1. Critically Acclaimed Artists

Of course, the biggest draw to Art of Cool Festival is the music. A combination of forward-thinking jazz, soul, and mature hip hop performances ensure that there’s something on the line up for everyone.

First, schedule in the headliners. With folks like Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu gracing our main stage at The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, there's no doubt you'll have a great time. “The God MC” Rakim perform at the Durham Armory to kick off the festival in the foundation of hip hop. On Saturday, see funk legend George Clinton at the Carolina Theatre. Later that night, Grammy and Academy award-winning artist Common will perform at DPAC (this performance requires a separate ticket purchased on the DPAC website).

Local artists will get in on the action as well, like renowned 9th Wonder, Raleigh-based rapper NANCE, Charlotte musician Will Wildfire and jazz guitarist Will Darity and R&B artist Danny Blaze, both from Durham.

2. Soul Yoga

Unwind from the previous night’s performances on Saturday morning at Soul Yoga, a rooftop yoga class enhanced by the soulful spins from DJ Doc Bintu. Held in the Google Rooftop Lounge at American Underground the class is the perfect way to limber up and center your mind before a day of inspiring panels and discussions.

3. Innovate Your Cool

On Saturday during the festival, there will be a meeting of the minds at Innovate Your Cool: A Conference on Innovation held at American Underground. The free conference is bursting at the seams with discussions, panels, workshops and demonstrations. Past festivals have included standouts like the “Equity and Entrepreneurship” panel, where thought leaders discuss the importance of equal distribution of opportunities in the digital space, and the “Compose Your Cool: Coding Workshop” where participants will learn to code via music.

4. Compose Original Beats

Deep down, we all want to be in the music world. Make your music producer dreams come true at one of two Beat Making Lab sessions held during Saturday’s Innovate Your Cool conference at both 10 am and again at 1 pm. The workshop has been led by Pierce Freelon, the founder of Blackspace – a digital makerspace based in Durham, and the co-founder of the Emmy award-winning PBS series Beat Making Lab. Who knows — you might just create the next song of the summer. While you're at it, discover more about how hip hop happens in Durham.

5. VIP Brunch with Kindred the Family Soul

For the full festival experience, snag an All Access VIP ticket for exclusive perks throughout the weekend. In addition to VIP section seating near the performance stage, access to the VIP hospitality lounge and priority entry to most venues, guests can wrap up the weekend at a VIP jazz brunch at the Durham Convention Center with performances from artists.

6. So ... Many ... Parties!

What’s a festival without parties? The socializing often begins before the festival even gets started... past jams have taken place on Thursday night with an opening party at the Museum of Durham History, or a jazz-meets-hip-hop “Trap Jazz Party” at Motorco from 12:30 am until 2am.

About the Author

Shayla Martin