It was 94 degrees with 85% humidity at the City of Raleigh’s Moore Square Park right downtown. But that did not stop the artists and patrons from leaving it all on the stage and celebrating their existence. “Summer in the Carolinas” was a music festival that took place July 17th, 2021 and was from 12pm-10pm with over 36 NC native artists performing, organized by The Lo$t Generation.
This was the inaugural year of the festival and after the outcome, it seems this is a start to a great thing. What I saw was a community of music lovers come together to celebrate the brilliance and pure existence of the up-and-coming Hip Hop scene we have here in North Carolina. The stage appeared very professional. It was set up in the middle of the field with good enough elevation that the whole crowd was able to see. There was plenty of space for artists and their homies to turn up and entertain the crowd. I was genuinely surprised to see how well all of the artists performed, especially in that heat. These local artists came prepared with their outfits, stage presence, and energy. What they brought the crowd is something any local music enthusiast would be proud of.
As I mentioned, this event brought the community together and not just with music. There were at least 5 food trucks, over 15 different local vendors, and photographers all taking advantage of the opportunities provided by this event. Many of the vendors were selling locally designed wares such as shirts and accessories. There were also several visual artists selling their paintings as well as facilitating live paintings for anyone to participate in. This event had a tremendous impact on the local creative community in many different ways by providing a platform and safe space for artists and their fans to freely express themselves.
One of the greatest things about this festival for me is that I left with a bunch of new artists to explore and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one taking notes.
Now I want to share with you some of my favorite performances of the night:
Zack Cokas(Raleigh)- Zack had some fire merch out there but his performance was even more so. This was right after he cut all of his hair off and had a sort of pink cheetah print dyed into his hair so it was shocking for a lot of people(including me). Him and his twin brother Cam Cokas(who is also very talented) took the main stage and they sure did do their thing. He’s one of the only artists who worked the entire stage and even jumped down to the ground level to make his performance a bit more intimate causing his fans to go even more wild.
Maasho(Raleigh)- This was actually his first performance and as someone who knew nothing about him before this, I was shocked. His performance was top tier, the energy that he brings alone sets him apart from other artists. I’m excited to see how he carries this momentum going forward.
Sonny Miles(Raleigh)- He really took control of the audience with his smooth and mellow bars representative of a new era in R&B. Even with the sets before his having much higher energy, this was not a detriment to his performance whatsoever. It was amazing seeing and feeling the vibe change with such soothing notes to bounce to.
Marco Luka(Durham)- He actually first performed with a band called Weston Estate first before he took the stage by storm for his solo performance. This guy really sounds like money, his music is just so melodic and easy to listen to.
Belis(Charlotte)- She has one of the most unique flows I have ever heard and I’m not just comparing her to the local artists at the venue. Again, I shamefully knew nothing of her before that day but I could already tell there was a buzz surrounding her from the way she presented herself to how wild her fans were going for her. Her outfit was one of the most fly out of the performers and her presence was felt even from the farthest corner of the park.
10Cellphones(Charlotte)- He was one of the headliner of the night and he did not disappoint. He performed just after the sun went down and the venue definitely took to a different vibe in the dark. His performance was fearless, making very bold statements about the police right in front of them no less. His set demanded everyone’s attention and the audience had payed their dues as it was a very active crowd at this point.
Tiacorine(Winston-Salem- I can’t lie, ever since I first heard Tiacorine perform I cannot stop listening to her. I was sold before I even saw her perform by the way she pulled up to the festival. She came in with a completely OG punk outfit and to top it off, she had liberty spikes. Later, I realized that she doesn’t usually run that look which made it even more of a special moment to behold. At first, I thought her sound would be a little more “hardcore” but what I realized instead is that she has a completely new flow entirely. I can’t really categorize it but she has hard but melodic lyrics that blend seamlessly with every beat that she was on. I can say with confidence that I am a Tiacorine fan for life.
The Lo$t Generation- These are the guys that put it all together and from what they said, this event took over a year to organize. Their performance closed out the show for the night and it was honestly a brilliant moment to watch them revel in their hard-earned success. One of their member even stage-dived and successfully surfed the crowd during one of their main acts.
For years, Raleigh and North Carolina in general have lacked that essential art & music infrastructure that artists need to help get their foot in the door and build a sustainable career. I believe that this music festival is essential to the culture of the Triangle and the entire state as a whole. In order for us to produce and sustain these phenomenal local artists, it is crucial that we give them our support and keep asking our city/state leaders informed on just how impactful these events can be.
You can view all the artists that were at Summer in the Carolinas here.
Short video I put together from videos I took at the Summer in the Carolinas music festival.