Over a bright and brisk October weekend, ONE Musicfest warmed the swarming crowd with a jambalaya of Black music acts across generations and genres. On Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, the annual event was a testament to the power of art and culture.
The hustle and bustle of Atlanta were on full display as the pathway leading to the city’s Central Park was packed with as many street peddlers and artist hopefuls as ticket holders. More than 50,000 attendees made it through a bulk of flyers to an intimidating entry line, anxiously staring at the party on the other side.
Once through the metal detectors and obligatory pat downs, a sea of Telfar bags, Divine Nine paraphernalia, Kente-printed caps, and waist-length braids flooded the park grounds. There was a collective spirit of togetherness and community as lighters and laughs were shared between strangers. Twerks and two steps synced as an assortment of DJs—including DJ Boogie Lov, DJ Suga Shae, DJ Wally Sparks, DJ Princess Cut, and DJ Skillz—ensured there was never a dull moment.
With four festival stages spread throughout the woodsy terrain, a massive audience of all ages managed performance overlaps with personal itineraries. While ride-or-die fans camped out in front rows for hours, most opted for extra cardio. Instead of attempting the impossible feat of watching every musician in full, many (like myself) trekked the distance between each stage, catching highlights from a handful of acts.
“My favorite part of ONE Musicfest was seeing Jazmine Sullivan, Chlöe, Lauryn Hill, Tweet, and Ja Rule,” remarked John Griggs, a festival attendee. As a Mississippi native who currently lives in Atlanta, he was able to attend both days of the event.
“Additionally, it felt good to be around Black excellence, from the thousands of fans to the vendors. The entire ONE Musicfest was a bundle of nostalgia and love that I was grateful to be a part of.”
Overall, the 2022 ONE Musicfest highlighted the beauty of Black music through a talent list all generations could enjoy. Tweet proved to be the Southern Hummingbird, delivering one of the most soulful and vocally sound performances of the weekend. Sean Paul brought the bashment vibes with a waist-wining delivery of his biggest hits. Tye Tribbet made sure every attendee of Sunday’s festivities got their praise and worship on, with a performance captivating enough to move the non-religious.
From Doug E. Fresh and Lupe Fiasco to Jazmine Sullivan and Saucy Santana, there was an act for everyone. Here are VIBE’s top five moments from the two-day showcase:
One of ONE Musicfest’s most magical moments came during headliner Lauryn Hill’s fulfilling set. A crowd stretched from the front of the stage to as far as the eye could see to catch a glimpse of the living legend singing her greatest hits and b-side cuts. Taking the stage, Hill shared anecdotes from her career, a heartwarming moment with her son and grandkids, and hinted at plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill next year.
On stage, the lyricist bore physical proof of her lasting talent and impact. Fans of all ages sang every word of “Fu-Gee-La,” “Doo Wop (That Thing),” and “Killing Me Softly,” some coming to tears as the Fugees’ first lady excitedly shared her gift.
Back in her hometown of Atlanta, Chloe made sure to put her best foot forward. The rising solo act took to the stage and delivered a high-energy showcase that was impossible not to dance along to. Although she was only announced as a performer days before the festival kicked off, the vocalist still held one of the festival’s largest audiences.
Wasting no time, Chloe entered the stage ready to prove any doubters wrong. With the mic on, she sang her singles “Have Mercy,” and “Surprise” with full choreography, never missing a note or a beat.
Miami rap duo City Girls continue to elevate their stage presence, and ONE Musicfest was proof. JT and Yung Miami emerged on stage, amping up an already eager crowd with call-and-response engagement and seductive dance moves. The highlight of the show was when Usher joined the women for a performance of their collaborative record “Good Love.” A surprised audience roared in excitement as the reigning King of R&B smiled ear-to-ear.
While Jeezy came out on stage later than scheduled, the hometown hero’s set was worth the wait. With his signature bandana knotted around his head, the Atlanta native delivered a nostalgic set for fans of his early 2000s reign as one of Trap music’s most definitive voices. During his set, the Snowman invited Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to the stage. She appealed to residents to cast their votes in her favor in the upcoming election.
An unannounced performance from Quavo and Takeoff paid homage to Atlanta. The newly formed duo was not on the lineup, but they rightfully took the stage to celebrate their debut, Only Built For Infinity Links. The surprise performance began with “Bars Into Captions”— a track from the album that samples Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean.” It was the ultimate lead-in to a memorable showcase for day-one Migos fans.