Cool Beginnings: AOC Fest Celebrates 5 Years of Success
Written By: Kimberly Knight
Photo Credit: Allison Mathews of Allison Mathews Photography
Photo Credit: Lanette Lee of Write Productions
Happy Saturday Luvs & Fellow Cooligans,
Last weekend was everything! The place we affectionally call the #BullCity, Durham, NC, was the place to be. The highly-anticipated the Art of Cool Festival was held from September 28th-30th in Downtown Durham. This is my 3rd year attending the festival and each year it keeps surprising me with new adventures. One of those surprises was Art of Cool Festival being under new ownership and how this transition was made with ease for the festival goers. Sulaiman & Lesleigh Mausi of The DOME Group, LLC are known for producing concert experiences around the country. However, it’s their humility that shines brightly. I had the opportunity in Spring 2018 to be on a panel at Radio One’s Women’s Empowerment with Mrs. Lesleigh Mausi. She was friendly and over the past few months we have become social media buddies. I love how our posts inspire each other and other women we encounter. So this new ownership transition from the Founders Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong is a milestone for their festival. I’m amazed each year at how the AOC team curates additional events to coincide with the music portion of the festival. At the heart of AOC is their non-profit entity, Art of Cool Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancements of music and technology education with programming such as the “Start of Cool” camp and “Innovate Your Cool” conference events. Friday night was popping with a Facebook sponsored mixer “Innovate Your Cool” happy hour at the luxurious 21C Hotel. How cool is that! I love that festival goers had so many options to kick-off their AOC Fest weekend. First, let’s recap last weekend kicking it off with our The Lux Blog “Meet-up Mixer”! Shout out to Unscripted Durham Hotel for our amazing service and music powered by DJ Shahzad!
I had so much fun with the blog team members and I met a few new people visiting in the area. One of my social media faves is @watchtheyard and I got a chance to meet the Founder Jonathan! He’s a super cool member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. visiting Durham for the Black Wall Street Homecoming festivities. That’s why I love our meet-ups because it’s a time you get to connect with other people from all walks of life. Shout out to the official Art of Cool social media team and other blogger influencers for coming out to support us! Our very own The Lux PR Agency team members Jen Lawrence and Tierany Griffin-Purdie captured so many fabulous moments around the city! As you can see the sunshine was beautiful but now it’s time to see Maxwell and Anthony Hamilton.
This year AOC Fest welcomes festival goers with a new venue for their headline performers. Sure I’ve been to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park but never for a concert. This was an experience all by itself because it was a nostalgic atmosphere and to have a visual of so many people was so inspiring. This was the level all of us knew AOC Fest would get to and now we are here. I arrived just in time to see R&B Soul Singer Anthony Hamilton take the stage and his performance was nothing short of entertaining. I’m already a huge fan of The Hamiltones, his beloved background singers, and on last Friday night I was able to hear this Grammy Award-winning artist perform. Next up was Neo Soul Singer Maxwell and his set was filled with all types of sexy for the ladies. His performance featured classic hits like “Pretty Wings”, “Sumthin Sumthin” and “Bad Habits” which had us all swooning to those moments we remember when we first heard his music. Love music filled the air and I even got to see one of my fave radio personalities the beautiful Autumn Joi from Radio One Raleigh backstage! So you would think my night is over no we are just getting warmed up! Now it’s time to go to one of the hottest parties of the festival “95 Live” with 9th Wonder, Jamla Squad, & DJ Spinderella!
So after a quick hike from the Durham Bulls Atheltic Park to the Durham Armory I catch my breath because I’m literally in arm’s length of the DJ Spinderella of the legendary super group Salt-N-Pepa! Lynnie would have gone crazy lol. She played so many great songs I could not stop dancing and just when I think I’m going to take a break 9th Wonder hits the stage in a tag team beat transition. The party kept going into the late hours of the night but one of the best momentt was seeing the lovely “Japan” single R&B songstress Heather Victoria of Jamla Records. What a night but I’m not done yet we still have last Saturday to talk about! So check us out tomorrow on the blog for all of the coolness on The Lux Blog!
Follow us on IG to see more videos from the performers! @TheLuxBlogNC
Ladies & Gentlemen this is The Lux Blog! - K. Knight