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J. Carter explains what makes ONE Musicfest unique

J. Carter, founder of ONE Musicfest (Photo courtesy of J. Carter)

ONE Musicfest, the largest two-day urban progressive music festival in the Southeast is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Rolling out spoke with J. Carter, the founder of ONE Musicfest, about what makes it special.

How are you able to promote ONE Musicfest and get people to come out?

I think the benefit of what we do is that we’re kind of pioneers. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t see an outdoor multistage urban festival. The Essence [Festival] is super dope for what they do. but it’s different. I think you’d be hard-pressed to see Uncle Luke, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox,  Pharrell or even an OutKast or a Dungeon Family Reunion. So I think the way we program is very different. It’s very unique to Atlanta’s base, urban, music, and culture. I think what we present and what we have is one of the things … like I have no idea when I’ll be able to see this again. 

How do you decide who’s going to be a part of the lineup each year? 

It’s getting [more] challenging each and every year. Initially, the whole concept behind what the music festival is and [make it] a battle cry of unity through music. So we think about how to take different … subcultures, and genres of music and different pockets of the urban community and find like those areas of overlap. We think about would an Anderson Paak fan resonate with a Gary Clark fan or a Kaytranada fan or a Migos fan. And if they were placed in that space and they weren’t familiar with that artist’s music, would they walk away as a fan? So We really try to look at it holistically like that. 

What can fans expect this year?

This does not take away from any year prior, but I’m more excited about this year than any other year. The surprises, the special guests this year – we want to talk about it but we cannot. This year will be absolutely, absolutely amazing. I just think the breadth of artists that we have, is more than we’ve ever had before. We have three stages this year where we had two in the past. So I’m excited about that. The third stage is a partnership with BMI. We just [have] a loaded lineup and tons of special guests popping up.

Is there anything else you want people to know?

Get your tickets ASAP. Tickets are getting low. … We’re doing it totally different this year, it’s called RFID bands. You have a chip in your band, so that’s your ticket. If you [purchased] tickets after Aug. 27, your band will be available at the gate, and you just have to go to will-call. So go to, grab your tickets, grab all your friends. It’s going to be an amazing weekend.