Reflections and images of Soundset 2018
As a music festival vet that has attended dozens of outdoor concerts, from Primavera Sound in Spain to Osheaga in Montreal, I’ve seen countless acts sing and perform my favorite songs. While these festivals have been a lesson in self-indulgence and independence, never have I felt more a cohesive sense of community than I did at Soundset Festival (2018) in Minneapolis.
As a visitor to the Minneapolis music scene, I felt welcomed, even before I stepped foot on festival grounds. A full line up of new and old school Hip Hop acts was a welcomed change from the smattering of acts in other lightly #melanated festivals, so I was already excited. Once I got to the fairgrounds, I was enveloped in the warmth of the “Minnesota Nice,” and it was apparent: strangers who became friends complimented me and each other on their outfits, food lines were graced with polite patrons who used manners and patience, and everyone was encouraged to groove in their own way with no room for judgment or laughter. It was a motivating day to see not only what happens when Hip Hop brings people from all walks of life together, but when #melanated folks come together to motivate, levitate and encourage love through the music.
Soundset is a shining example that a shared love for music with an open-minded attitude can create inclusive atmospheres in a world where everyone feels welcomed in the groove of the dirt and grass dance floor. In my interviews, I wanted to explore the sense of love these artists had for music. I wanted to see what motivates them when they need a musical lift, see what music helps soothe their souls while making the music to soothe others. These interviews create a bridge between the artist and the audience which helps foster a sense of humanity from the people we look up to musically. Maybe what we need more of right now to grow as a community is a little more humanity.
Words by Adam Roker, Gumbo Music Writer
Energy. Flavor. Community. These are the top three favorite elements that I love to capture most when documenting festival culture.
No matter who’s on next or where you may be wandering off to or from, the level of excitement and engagement that flows throughout these scenes are always on a solid ten. For my second year at Minnesota’s largest Hip Hop festival, I found the presence of #melanated folks to be way more prominent on the State Fair Grounds than last year.
Ultimately, these images represent the infinite expressions of Blackness, honoring the authentic and celebrating the bold personalities and aesthetics that exist in current day Hip-Hop culture. From nostalgia to futurism, there was a little bit for everyone, but no question that these folks showed up and showed out on this fine Memorial Day weekend.
Words by Nancy Musinguzi, Gumbo Photographer