Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli Headline Vibe Fest Tonight! A Conversation with Creator Jay ‘Jaewar’ King


When we saw the lineup, it definitely caught our attention. Major hip hop legends coming to Charlottesville, VA for a locally grown festival? We are down to know more. Digging in with Jay “Jaewar” King, the dynamic creative force behind Vibe Riot and the creator of Vibe Fest, is on a mission to unify and celebrate diversity through the pulsating energy of music. In a conversation with us, Jaewar opened up about the genesis of Vibe Fest and the vibrant musical landscape that is thriving in Charlottesville, VA.

Unity through the Spoken Word

When asked about the unlikely location for a neo-soul, reggae, R&B, and hip-hop festival, Jaewar spoke passionately about the necessity for a platform that would bring together these essential cultures in a city already teeming with talent. “We wanted to create a platform of unity, open expression through the power of the spoken word which is the genesis of hip-hop,” Jaewar stated.

The creation of Vibe Fest was more than just a reaction to a void. After tensions reached a boiling point in Charlottesville in 2017, the community’s call for inclusive and representative events became unignorable. Vibe Fest, born in March 2018, was an answer to that call, a platform for voices that had long been relegated to afterthoughts.

Art as a Response to RACIAL Tension

Referencing the tragic Unite The Right event of 2017, Jaewar’s reflections on the conversations within the Black American music community revealed a shared experience. Artists were in survival mode, ready for the worst but unafraid to make art that spoke to these tensions. Vibe Fest was formed to “fill the void and share the voices of talented creatives.” The unsettling events of 2017 were, in Jaewar’s words, “one catalyst.”

A Thriving Music Scene

The music scene in Charlottesville is flourishing with venues like Common House and IX Art Park offering opportunities to a wide array of artists. Organizations and festivals have actively supported diversity, and the city’s efforts are making a tangible difference. When asked about the local scene, Jaewar confidently declared, “There are more venues and open opportunities for local and regional artists to have outlets to share their art.”

Big Names and Community Involvement

The upcoming Vibe Fest, featuring renowned artists Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli, is a testament to the festival’s growth and its ability to attract such big names. The lineup doesn’t stop there. Alongside the star-studded performances, Vibe Fest will host community activities, including a mural led by local artists and appearances by regional musicians.

Jaewar’s hope for attendees? To experience “how the power of music crosses all genres and generations.” One of the satisfying outcomes of their performances has been converting listeners to hip-hop lovers.

Shoutouts and Acknowledgements

Jaewar also took a moment to acknowledge up-and-coming bands from Charlottesville, including 2nd Grade Girlfight, Ebony Groove, E&J Band, Mighty Joshua & the Zion, #5 and others, proving that the local music scene is indeed vibrant and full of potential.

Vibe Fest Presents: Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli

  • Date: August 10
  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Location: The Jefferson Theater, 110 E. Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902

Information on the performers:

Lupe Fiasco, a Grammy Award-winning rapper, is celebrated for his conscious material and influential albums. Lupe has a repertoire of platinum singles, Grammy nominations, and one Grammy Award. Besides his musical achievements, he actively works in community initiatives and outreach.

Talib Kweli, Brooklyn-based MC, has been recognized as one of the most lyrically-gifted and politically insightful rappers for the last 20 years. Founder of Javotti Media, Kweli’s music is known for captivating stories and top-tier lyricism.

Jaewar & Vibe Riot, a collective led by Jaewar, brings together Jazz, Reggae, Soul, Spoken Word, and Hip Hop in a unique blend that emphasizes live performance.

Vibe Fest is more than a festival; it’s a movement, a response, and a celebration of music that transcends barriers. It’s a call to unity and an opportunity to experience art in its most authentic form. This year’s event promises to be a remarkable showcase of talent and creativity, continuing the legacy that Jaewar and his community have been building.

Get your tickets HERE

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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