Mad Liberation Festival

Mad Liberation is a 3 day, 2 night, camping, music & arts festival. Set deep in the vast pine barrens of South Jersey, it is a highly anticipated platform for artists from all over the globe who defy limitations, definition, and identity itself to realize their full potential in live performance for a captivated audience. I interviewed festival founder John Mould to find out more about this exciting event!

How long have you been doing this festival?

John Mould: This will be the 4th annual installation of the event!

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What experience in event/festival planning have you had prior to this, if any?

John: I worked putting music live on air at William Paterson University’s radio station for a few months before we started the festival. People naturally started hanging out and they became full-blown shows. Besides that I have no experience, just jumped right into producing the fest.

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What are the must-haves when curating a festival?

John: When curating, you need to have a strong sense of what you want to do musically overall, then what artists are going to elevate this event and the festival prices for different tier artists. How to recognize an artist’s value and how to properly communicate with huge booking agencies that will burn you if you sound like you don’t know what you’re doing.

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Why the Pine Barrens?

John: We started in Upstate NY in what we thought was the middle of nowhere. The police came more than once. We needed a place we could get rowdy late into the night, far away from any houses or people who might make noise-complaints. We wanted to do it in Jersey. The Pine Barrens called our name.

I love your message of a community built on love. Can you elaborate more and it’s importance?

John: We put a strong emphasis on community because we want this to be a place of intention. A place people come to embrace each other and get down to a whole lot of music they might not be used to. A respite from the alienation of everyday life. The community plays the biggest part in the overall atmosphere of the festival and we want to make sure everyone is coming out for the weekend with good intentions. This plays a huge role in harm reduction for us as well. Bystander intervention is everything: you see something you know isn’t right, do something about it! When our guests take care of each other, make sure everyone is having a good time, healthy, feeling okay; we all elevate together!

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What can we expect to see on the festival grounds?

John: You can expect a ton of crazy-sounding music and wild people (characters really) having a great time, spreading a whole lot of love and getting down everywhere you look. Maybe a few “YERRR’s” too.

Can people get involved with sharing their art or music at this festival?

John: Anyone can get involved! We offer vendor slots for people interested in selling their art, we love to have people painting live, and we low-key appreciate unplanned pop-up performances if they are done with good taste and don’t interrupt any planned acts.

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Who are you most excited about performing this year?

John: Eartheater, I have no idea how to describe her so I won’t try.

What should festival goers bring along with them in attendance?

John: Tent, pillows, blankets, sleeping bag, swimwear, flashlights, sunscreen, bug spray; everything you could possibly need for camping!

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With so many festivals starting up soon going throughout the summer, what separates yours from the rest?

John: There isn’t really any camping festival I’ve seen doing anything like us, drawing the kind of crowd/community we have and curating the way we do. The only festival combining punk & jazz (and everything in between) the way we do is Afropunk in Brooklyn; taking nature and the campout experience into account and the fact that we run into the early hours of the morning: we’re still completely in our own league. I’m still looking for competition.

More at Stars & Scars mag

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

The energy from this Sunday’s SummerStage was thriving. Afrobeat filled the airwaves and moved the people in Central Park. Femi Kuti & The Positive Force put on quite the show: the dancers entranced us, the band rocked those jazzy tunes, and Femi Kuti was born to entertain. Femi Kuti sang with his soul transparent, feeling every word he sang to his very core. His stage presence was possessing. You could not keep your eyes off of him, even with his dancers shaking their booties. He would take pauses between songs to preach about oppression, evil people, greed, and other ugly truths of the world we live in. The messages strong and demanding your attention, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force are a must watch live and if you get the chance, catch them on their US tour One People One World Tour 2018. Femi Kuti played the synth and saxophone during their performance in between singing. When you thought the song was over, Femi Kuti would sing another encore! And when you thought that was over, there was yet another encore! This is exactly why Femi Kuti is an entertainer. He keeps you on your toes and fulfills your want for more!

Although the show was spectacular, there was some drama from behind the scenes that the crowd didn’t know about. Femi Kuti’s bassist absconded right before their show began. Femi Kuti later went on Instagram to call him out, saying “My bassist Aghedo Andrew nearly ruined my concert yesterday in New York @SummerStage. He disappeared ( absconded) 20mins before show time. I want to thank the rest of the band for standing strong and giving one of the best shows of the tour”. He went on to say that his bassist fled for fear of being deported and wanting to stay in America. Regardless of being short a band member, Femi said the show was fantastic and one of the best of the tour so far.

Femi Kuti was born in London in the early 60s, and his father was an afrobeat pioneer, known as Fela Kuti. Femi Kuti started his musical career at the young age of 15 in his father’s band, Egypt 80. Femi Kuti started The Positive Force in the late 80s and has since been making music and touring with them. His sisters, Yeni and Sola are his lead dancers. Although he started his own band in order to become independent from his father, they share the same strong commitment to social and political causes, especially from their homeland of Nigeria.

Check out the SummerStage for more FREE concerts this summer!

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