“This festival came from the thread of my residency at the Blue Note that I do every October,” Glasper says of his stay at the famed NYC jazz club. “You can expect the music to be real and honest, created by people who are pushing the envelope.”
The intimate three-day experience will include iconic acts like Snoop Dogg, Yasiin Bey & Talib Kweli, Maxwell, Corinne Bailey Rae, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan and newer names on the scene like D Smoke and Alex Isley. “I’m most excited about Snoop. It’s going to be super dope,” Glasper says, adding, “I hope I can breathe with all of the weed smoke that will definitely be in the air.”
Taking place at the Charles Krug Winery, the festival will feature three stages with 12 bands per day, marking the first outdoor, multi-day and multi-stage event for the Blue Note Entertainment Group. “The festival capacity is exactly where I want it to be — not too big, not too small,” says Blue Note Entertainment president Steven Bensusan. “It’s kind of mimicking our small jazz clubs in terms of the intimacy that we hope to achieve on all our stages.”
The festival kicks off with musical collective Dinner Party (Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper & Kamasi Washington) and Snoop, plus a live recording of the Midnight Miracle podcast, in partnership with subscription podcast network Luminary. After the festival sold out in six hours, an additional day was added and a limited amount of three-day general admission tickets were made available, priced at $610. “We’re hoping there’s going to be a lot more than what you see reading the lineup,” Bensusan says. “We anticipate a lot of impromptu [performers] just getting up onstage with other other bands, like what we do at our clubs.”
The Blue Note Entertainment Group currently has 10 jazz clubs around the world, spanning from New York City to Milan, with plans to expand further into Europe, Bensusan tells Billboard. “We’re looking at opportunities in London and we hope to get a Los Angeles location open in the next year,” he adds. Blue Note also plans to create an East Coast version of the Napa Valley-based festival in future years.
Glasper, who released his single “All Masks” alongside Jamaican-born artist Masego on Friday, says the festival is his “playground” and a “dream come true,” adding, “This festival represents out-of-the-box things, influencers, trailblazers — people that don’t feel the need to succumb to normality of popular music. More and more of those kinds of people are popping up and finding the courage to be the artist that represents that.”