THE BUZZ: Oak Bluffs was the perfect backdrop for the 2nd Annual Martha’s Vineyard Summer Madness Music Festival and Conference from August 8th through 10th, 2014. As Marilyn Manson said, “Music is the strongest form of magic.” Music mixed with sun and sand on the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard is simply divine!
The event brought together industry players and artists for educational panels, artist showcases, parties and electrifying concerts. Produced by MV Soul Concepts, LLC., the organizing team included seasoned business executives Sean C. Porter, G. Alexander Jenkins, Esq., Janon Costley, and my dear friend Norman B. Hall.
The theme this year was “Ladies First.” All of the artists, panelists, and DJ’s were female in a true celebration of the “stronger” sex. Some said the panel discussion on Saturday was one of the best they’ve ever attended. It included a Who’s Who of industry heavy hitters such as Cassandra Cooper (Founder, Matriarch Multimedia Group), Debra N. Tate (Unlimited Contacts, Inc.), Keshia Walker (Insights Marketing and Promotions), Omara Harris (Attorney at Law), Sonja Norwood (Producer, Talent Manager, Speaker), Debra Antney (Founder & CEO, Mizay Entertainment), Tameka Harris (Grammy Award-winning songwriter), Joi Pitts (Atlantic Records), Taneshia Nash Laird (Entrepreneur), Jennifer Turner (Vice President, Bravo Media/Oxygen Media), Shontelle (singer-songwriter), and Lisa Davis (Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz).
I was delighted to volunteer at the Beach BBQ in Waban Park. My nephew Daniel Kennedy and friends Sonia Banks and Diane Glover, got there early in the morning with me to help set up alongside fellow volunteers Dana and Erika. Sponsored by Barbados, the event offered food and of course great music! It was a perfect day for it just steps away from the famous Inkwell beach.
Probably my favorite experience was Saturday evening witnessing the talented Amel Larrieux do her thing at Dreamland. She was a founding member of the duo Groove Theory in the ’90s and has released multiple albums on her independent label, Blisslife Records. It brought me back to when I was a VP at MTV Networks and was always at a concert or showcase. Daniel assisted producer Jill Newman so he got a front row view into the production. I can’t remember the last time I spent so long on a dance floor!
Throughout the three-day event, the various parties featured celebrity DJs Monie Love, Beverly Bond, Mary Mac and Frances Jaye. Other featured artists included the legendary MC Lyte, Lori Williams, Lisa Lee, MC Sha Rock, Melanie Fiona, Colette, and Bettina “Gold” Wilkerson.
Thank goodness the Jazz Brunch on Sunday didn’t start too early. People rolled in around 11am or 12pm, just in time to be delighted by the sweet sounds of saxophonist Elan Trotman and then the soulful voice of actress/singer Suzzanne Douglas.
If all of that wasn’t enough, the headliner for the Festival was the incredible Grammy Award-winning artist Lauryn Hill who performed at the Featherstone Center for the Arts on Sunday evening. I missed it because I had to get back to New York for my teacher/mentor Tao Porchon-Lynch’s 96th birthday bash. Once again, my nephew Daniel lucked out by getting a photo with Lauryn. My sister, Sheila Kennedy, co-founded the natural hair site Goodhair.com in the early 1990s with Lauryn’s brother, Malaney.
Be sure to put Summer Madness on your calendar for next year. I think this Music Festival & Conference is geared up to be one of the Vineyard’s annual destination events.
FILM: We attended the Run & Shoot Filmworks 12th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. I ran into friends and colleagues I haven’t seen for a while such as sisters Adrienne and Sharon Lopez, and author/filmmaker Nelson George. We also saw Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Check out pics/coverage.
FINE ARTS: We popped our heads in the Harlem Fine Arts Show on Martha’s Vineyard. The Show featured art from around the world – 20 plus galleries and artists from the African Diaspora. They also featured a Golf Classic, an art lecture series, a youth empowerment day and Jazz and Blues Summerfest. Read more about it.
FUN & SUN: August on Martha’s Vineyard is like a smorgasbord of culture, sun and fun. From fundraisers to festivals, there is an overflow of interesting things to do. Headed to to the island? Check out pics/video/coverage.
Also, check out pictures and coverage from the Nantucket Yoga Festival where I accompanied my (now) 96-year-old yoga master teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch.