By: Amber Wilder
Sooo…… Aahh Fest was lit! It was a two-day affair that spanned the weekend. Saturday, the 24th, was the community day for youth and parents to come out and enjoy. Sunday, the 25th, was when the advertised artists came out and this was an 18 years and older event.The vibe there was super chill and relaxed. It was basically a gathering for young, positive people to come together and listen to some good music, and most importantly, have a good time. The artists featured were The Internet, Vic Mensa, Jeremih, Common and Bilal, The Roots, Ice Cube, R. Kelly, and J. Cole. In between sets, djs played to keep the crowd entertained as well as the hosts.There was also a tribute to Timbuck2, one of the best dj’s who died last year. He is still truly missed here in Chicago and in the lives that he touched. Porta Potties were standard issue if you needed to use the bathroom; your best bet is to go when you get there, preferably early, and do not drink heavy. For future reference, alcohol is expensive and water is $4 a bottle.
Tickets ranged from around $60 and up; however, coupons could be found to get them cheaper. I purchased mine for $48 and a friend purchased his for $50; for clarity, our tickets were for general admission. The VIP and tent tickets were $115 and up on Aahh Fest website.
In my opinion, J. Cole was worth the ticket price alone. His set was amazing, the crowd knew all the lyrics, and the experience was one of the best I’ve had at a concert. It was a had to be there moment, words cannot describe the feeling. His song list included many from his latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, and a few from his previous albums. Towards the end of his set, Jeremih came back on stage to sing a song that he was featured in.
Ice Cube is the runner up even though he only performed 3 songs, 2 ½ if you want to get technical. We knew he was coming but no one knew when he was going to perform. Common brought him on during his set. The crowd was alive with energy and when the crowd was asked if he could perform one more song, the crowd screamed to perform more than one song. Also during Common’s set, R. Kelly appeared on stage and the crowd went crazy. He performed one song and sang the beginning of another before walking off. The Roots set was good and live. The energy that they bring is amazing and calming in a way.
Jeremih’s set was good, though it was cut short because he did arrive late and the coordinators’ wanted to keep on schedule for the rest of the fest. He performed a mix of old and new songs in the time that he had.
Vic Mensa performed a song called “16 shots” and it was written in response to the murder of LaQuan McDonald. The vibe before was easy-going but during and after the song, it changed because for those of us that are ‘woke’ or bothered by us continuously dying in these streets even with our hands up. The feeling that this song evokes is anger and the question of why is this continuously happening especially when the officers are not brought to justice. The lyrics to the song are here. The performance was made even more powerful than the crowd chanting ‘F— 12!’ by the end of the song, shots rang out (on the recording) and Vic Mensa fell to the ground akin to LaQuan’s body. The song needed to be heard, no matter how heavy it made you feel. Aahh Fest was a reprieve for us, like a break from all this madness that we see and hear constantly on the news and radio that another one of us has died due to police killing us.
I do recommend this fest, especially if you can find tickets on sale if you do not want to pay full price. The date for 2017 Aahh Fest is September 23-24th according to the big screens that showed advertisements and sponsors of the fest.
If the artist lineup does not tell you how lit it was, I now have a sore throat.
Lyrics to Vic Mensa’s “16 Shots”‘: http://genius.com/Vic-mensa-16-shots-lyrics
I recorded this video of Aahh fest performances; some of the clips feature strong language such as the n word and f word.