This Festival Is Being Called the 'Coachella' of Jazz


Miss out on Coachella this year? Not to fret.

If you are willing to take a trip to the up-and-coming city, Durham, North Carolina (Duke University ring a bell?), the Art of Cool Music Festival will definitely be worth the mileage. With a stellar lineup including The Internet, Thundercat, Anderson .Paak, PJ Morton and several more, this eclectic, modern jazz festival rivals to be the go-to festival of the year.


Let me count the reasons why Art of Cool needs to be your annual music festival of choice:

1. The festival was founded by young, black professionals from Durham.
For those who aren't familiar with Durham, it is going through a revival and rejuvenation. Locals can easily accredit a lot of the musical revival to Art of Cool. The festival was spearheaded by jazz trumpeter and educator, Albert Strong IV, and Cicely Mitchell, DrPH of Al Strong Music Productions in 2010. After reading about these two in their Durham Magazine interview, I couldn't help but be inspired.

2. There are several events leading up to the festival, many of which are free to the public.
Art of Cool Festival (AOC Fest) keeps Durham buzzing all year long with its calendar of events, ranging from music performances and movie screenings. During the festival, there will also be a conference, Innovate Your Cool that will focus on innovation in music and culture.


3. The festival supports local music venues
Instead of setting up stages in an open field, this festival has partnered with local venues that are all within walking distance of each other for the performances. This grand scheme will help both locals and visitors get to know Downtown Durham better and will help boost the local economy.

4. The Art of Turntables event will be out of this world.
Art of Turntables is a live-performance mega party featuring exhibitions by superstar, pioneering DJ's displaying legendary turntable skills combined with video performance art that will take audiences through an epic journey of classic hip-hop, soul, house afro-beat, reggae and classic dance music of the 80s and 90s. This music experience will captivate audiences with authentic video and digital imagery of iconic music, dance, television, film and fashion on simultaneous screens of each DJ's set with larger than life video images that transform each venue into a live-action musical timeline.


5. The lineup is the best of its kind
The founders of AOC Fest definitely have their finger on the music scene. They were able to book The Internet before they were nominated for their grammy, which thankfully keeps ticket prices down for you and me. This line up does a great job of appealing to all generations and genres of jazz lovers by mixing their lineup with both traditional and contemporary artists.

6. Two words: Bryce Wilson
Ladies, need I say more? Make sure to attend the festival event, "Jam.Shop.Sip.Repeat" that he will be hosting to get your eye candy fix.


The 3rd Annual Art of Cool Festival will take place in Durham, North Carolina on May 6-8th, 2016. For more information on the festival, visit