STRANGE FAMOUS FEST 6.17.23
Strange Famous Records is an independent record label founded and headed by Sage Francis, a well-known underground Hip-Hop MC hailing from Providence, Rhode Island.
Article and photos by E. Jourdain, Jr.
The Strange Famous Records roster is mainly made up of artists from the United States but there are a few from other parts of the world as well.
Regardless of who’s from where, Denver, Colorado seemed to be the perfect location to host this festival.
In speaking with Sage Francis I asked how this festival came about. Sage stated that a year ago the booking person at Levitt Pavilion reached out to him, asking if he would be interested in headlining a show there. Sage added “After learning more about the venue I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should include as many SFR acts on it as possible, which was the inception of the ‘Strange Famous Fest‘ idea.” Sage then reached out to all of the Strange Famous artists about the show, noting that he could cover travel but there may not be pay for their performance. “Some artists really wanted to play it who couldn’t make the trip, most of them being our international artists.”
I then asked Sage if Strange Famous Fest would go on to be an annual event and if so, would it be held in other locations? He thought that would be great but added “considering the time and preparation it takes to get this done I can’t promise it’ll be done every year. I’ll need more venues that are as easy to work with as Levitt Pavilion and as risk taking as well. Considering how popular this event was I’d be surprised if they didn’t want to do it again but I’m hoping we can bring Strange Famous Fest to another part of the country and/or world so that people from different territories can attend.”
With that being said, it made being at this particular event even more special than it already was.
Quite a few of the artists were able to bring their kids along. Heck, I even brought one of my sons along to experience a festival show. I traveled out to Denver with my older brother, he also brought his daughter along. One thing that all of the artists agreed on, was that this festival was definitely about family. The Strange Famous Records family, aka “Strange Fam”. It was truly a family reunion.
DJ Zole kicked off the music as the gates opened and he remained behind the turntables basically for the entire duration of the show.
The first rapper to hit the stage was Seez Mics. The veteran rapper from Maryland set the pace for his fellow label-mates to follow.
Strange Famous Fest Line-up:
- DJ Zole
- Seez Mics
- Early Adopted
- Cas One
- Jivin Scientists
- Jesse The Tree
- Sleep of Oldominion
- Wheelchair Sports Camp
Label boss Sage Francis took stage to headline the fest, running through some of his most known works including classics. Here is a set list provided by Sage himself:
- Crack Pipes
- Escape Artist
- Broken Wings
- Make ‘em Purr
- Slow Down Gandhi
- Makeshift Patriot
- Conspiracy to Riot acapella
- Sea Lion
- Come Come Now
- The Cure
- Can I Kick It
- Climb Trees
- Best of Times
- Storm Davis rap section
- Freestyle with Max Bent beatbox
- Jah didn’t kill Johnny
During the freestyle slot, Sage was joined by several of the Strange Famous cast as well as a surprise guest appearance by Slug from the RhymeSayers duo Atmosphere, who had performed in Denver the night before.
Sage ended his set with a dedication to music friends who had passed on and performed “Jah Didn’t Kill Johnny” featuring Wheelchair Sports Camp rapper Kalyn on ukulele.
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