May 17, 2024

Black rock festival celebrates origins of the genre

Audience members sing and dance at a concert. The ‘I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll’ Festival is Indiana’s first Black rock festival. - Photo provided by Melodie Yvone

Audience members sing and dance at a concert. The ‘I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll’ Festival is Indiana’s first Black rock festival.

Photo provided by Melodie Yvone

CORRECTION: The first version of this report repeated the belief that this was "Indiana’s first Black rock festival." We have new information that is untrue and corrected the headline and article. We will update this article with more context once we verify the the details of the new information. 

An festival in Indianapolis will honor Black artists' contributions to rock music.

The inaugural I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll Festival was created by cultural development group GANGGANG to celebrate the origins of rock music and Black artistry.

Alan Bacon is a co-founder of GANGGANG. He said the festival is a starting point for people to learn more about the erasure of Black identity from rock.

“The whole lineup, you know, provides an opportunity to experience rock 'n' roll from a lot of different perspectives and evolution points,” Alan said.

Malina Bacon, the other co-founder of GANGGANG, said the festival conveys the historical intersections of race, music and culture.

“We’re going to rock because we are an advocacy-based org and the rock genre is what’s most egregiously taken from us, when it's actually something that we started,” she said.

Headlining the event is award-winning singer Janelle Monáe. Artists Gary Clark Jr. and Robert Randolph, both recently featured in Beyoncé’s "Cowboy Carter" album, will also be performing at the festival.

Malina said people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend.

“We want everybody to be reflected in the audience, just like how we are all reflected in the music,” she said.

Alan said he hopes the audience learns more about Black contributions to the genre and feels a sense of pride in the city.

“This is about the brand of Indianapolis,” he said. “This is about changing how people think about our city. The culture within and the people within and the art that we have.”

There have been other smaller reviews and at least one larger rock festival staged by Black organizers in Indianapolis in the past.  The 1970 Jazz and Rock Festival featured B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner. 

 

 

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