Posts tagged with "top music festivals"

Rhea Roberts-Johnson in 360 MAGAZINE talks about Coachella and Goldenvoice.

Goldenvoice Black – Trailblazer

By Neecole Cockerham

Rhea Roberts-Johnson is the first Black woman to be promoted to a VP position at Goldenvoice, an AEG subsidiary. The new executive is also a new mother to an energetic toddler named Story, with her husband industry impresario Marcus Johnson.

As if having a career and being a full-time mom doesn’t take up enough time in the day, Goldenvoice staff and vendors have been forced to postpone Coachella, one of the world’s leading music festivals, due to the COVID-19. The coronavirus disease has created an unprecedented pandemic.

In the midst of the quarantine, the abnormally shut in citizens of the United States, witnessed via a cell phone recording, the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, who pressed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds. At that moment Black people in the United States were forced into a position that challenged our civil liberties and stripped away our dignity as if we were inhumane. People of all races, from all walks of life took to the streets – men, women and children. The coordinated, mostly peaceful marches were organized by activists and the Black Lives Matter Movement. The protesters began to mobilize and protests began across the U.S and and on every continent around the world. People banded together for an unprecedented globalization of civil unrest and demanded change for the rights of Black people in America against the country’s systemic oppressed law enforcement agencies, and the society that inadvertently supported their actions.

The times are somewhat changing – as universal corporate offices have taken a short but hard look at themselves and the systemic racism that they have promoted through the years. Corporations are challenged with how they hire, retain and promote people of color within their organizations. They are being held to task to begin to fill openings with qualified Blacks and other people of color instead of continually engaging in white employment nepotism, frat boys and a Becky in tow.

The round table at Goldenvoice was a diverse group of people who acknowledged the repugnant feeling of what their eyes had seen and everyone’s heart had felt.

I sat down with Roberts-Johnson, to ask the down to earth, prestigious executive a few questions over a Zoom conference. I’ve known Rhea for a number of years, so it was easy to dive into a conversation that was just as she is – honest and candid.

Can you explain GV Black?

“Goldenvoice Black was birthed from round table discussions of Black employees, who for some time, have exchanged views of working as Blacks in a predominantly white environment – it is the voice of the people. GV Black has become a source of comfort to communicate what being Black means in today’s climate. Our social responsibility is to have acknowledgment from the corporation in which we work, the need to bring equality and more diversity to our workforce and to outline and monitor productive steps to insure that this equality is met.”

Do you have any fear in being a part of a revolutionary entity within the internal confines of a corporate environment?

“As a woman we are already marginalized in this environment. As a Black woman and a mother of a Black male child, I am more interested in social equity not just for now but for the future of those who come after me. I had no mirror to show me insight into how to maneuver in the world of behind the scenes entertainment. The conversations we were having at Goldenvoice were more than just about talking. We were all hurting just like many people and it was important for us to say something and even more important to agree on the actions that we would take to support diversity, elevate youth and develop community under the Goldenvoice umbrella.”

The music festival Coachella released its first statement ever about their position on injustice. The declaration issued by Coachella would be the words of Rhea Roberts-Johnson.

The poetic rhyme scheme is just 5 lines shy of a Sonnet and reads like a mission statement of hope:

We do not stand for injustice.

We do not stand for racism.

We do not stand for bigotry.

We stand for music.

We stand for celebration.

We stand for love.

We stand for unity.

We stand for Black Lives.

They Matter.

~Coachella

Now that the protesting has come to a halt, the pandemic is at an all time high; Goldenvoice employees are working from home or either furloughed… Goldenvoice recently posted on social media and received backlash from a few public critics, because of the word “bodies”..Can you comment on it?

“I’m actually glad that you asked this question. Before I go into what it means, I have to mention that the statement was written by Black employees, and had the public known that, it may have been received differently. Surprise! There are Black people that work at Goldenvoice (I’m sure that’s shocking to some since in its early days the company booked a lot of punk rock bands). We used the word “bodies” as a metaphor to draw attention to the objectification of Black people. Many types of Black and brown people in this country are dehumanized and not allowed the luxury of full humanity as so many others are. We also used it to emphasize the history of physical violence against Black people in our country whether it be through slavery, lynching, police brutality, etc. It’s a common term used by social justice activists, and having come from one of them, there probably wouldn’t have been a peep. Coming from a festival, some people were taken aback.”

Rhea I think to be silent nowadays is to be in agreement. Maybe those taken “aback” will be propelled into recognizing the truth and understanding the ladder is merely semantics.

What is next for GV Black?

“Without giving up too much too soon, we along with our non-Black allies at the company, are working diligently to create an even more inclusive environment for our employees, fans, artists, vendors, etc.”

Rhea Roberts-Johnson is a rare breed. She has a silent strength that exists when you can only imagine the amount of pressure that is being experienced to incite change. As we wait to see what’s next to come you can feel a glimmer of hope. Goldenvoice, GV Black and Coachella are consciously pioneering trailblazers for utilizing their platform to be all inclusive and unite people as one just as music does.

Ocaso Festival, Costa Rica, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

OCASO 2020

“Be prepared to be teleported into a quantum realm of whimsicality.”360 MAGAZINE

By Vaughn Lowery × Sam Berman

At the peak of the year, music, beats and dancing brought together a crowd of 10,000 attendees to Costa Rica for 2020’s Ocaso Underground Music Festival – the world’s largest rave in the jungle. Even the leatherback turtles, howling monkeys and crocodiles were head bobbing.

The Ocaso Underground Music Festival, which engaged on January 9th – 13th, united travelers, ticos and seasoned ravers alike to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, off the coast of the Pacific Ocean for five days of electronic music bliss. The jubilee was established by founder Devin Ellis in 2018; and it just culminated its fourth semester, with plans to return in January 2021, proving a successful run for one of the most emerging EDM festivals on the planet. 

What makes this carnival so sui generis, aside from a stellar bill of DJs including Maceo Plex, Äme, Doc Martin, Justin Martin, Magdalena, Shiba San, Seth Troxler and Artba, might just be the visually striking and lushful setting of CR. The grounds, known as the Lesenda Retreat, centers around a trilithic stage composed of metal trusses for performers, complete with a towering geometric visual screen synchronized to the music, pulsating lasers, fog machines, pyrotechnics and go-go dancers. Apart from hypnotizing technical components conjured up by architectural wizards, the surrounding landscape and warm weather provided a tranquil atmosphere to enjoy the fiesta in, enhanced by art installations sprinkled throughout, providing a truly remarkable habitat. 

Let’s talk about the sound! Imagine being at the On The Run II tour with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, state-of-the-art subwoofers and tweeters pinging throughout the venue, delivering clean and crisp vibrant instrumentation. Of course, this added fan excitement to every set.

Viewers were able to use tokens for transportation, food and drinks, providing added security from petty theft and loose cash. Overall safety was key with tons of guards at every entrance alongside of roaming escorts. We all wore sparkly color-coded wristbands to identify our level of participation – GA vs VIP. Staff members wore official reflective tanks and shirts to be easily accessible.

A short 15 minute-bus drive on a vintage yellow school bus brought participants to the festivities. Guests were offered an assortment of carte du jour options to replenish their prance-exhausted bodies with a number of locally and globally known chefs preparing flatbread pizzas, gyros, keto bowls, tacos as well as protein shakes.

Saturday was the most distinctive night of the event, with people from all over the globe, dressed in their most eye-catching ensembles, echoing the avant-garde fashion of other fairs such as EDC, Ultra, Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella. Ocaso brought a parade of colors infused with futuristic and organic elements blended seamlessly into garbs straight out of an alien planet, welcoming and embracing all. 

The festival wrapped with a pool party at base camp, the Best Western Tamarindo Vista Villas. After a five-day outer body experience of infectious dance music, a sort of culinary delights, cozy lodging options, and the beautiful backdrop of the rugged rainforested, Central America, this is one masquerade which many should add to their list. 

Missed out on the fun this year? Don’t fret, as the festival plans to return the weekend of January 7-11, 2021. Ticketing packages from this past year ranged from $19.00 to $59.00 for single day passes, a two-day Friday and Saturday pass for $89.00 and a 5-day-full-weekend pass for $119.00, a great deal for those who can’t get enough from just one night. So ravers, start planning your next vacation, because this is an experience any party animal should dive into. 

For additional information visit Ocaso Festival.

Local Guide

Besides the #RaveInTheJungle, The city of Tamarindo itself possesses a plethora of thrilling activities: ziplining, horseback rides on volcanic trails; ATV tours; surfing and dolphin-watching sailing tours.

If you are seeking additional dining/nightlife options outside of the fête, be sure to check out the following:

Pacifico Club (http://www.pacifico-costarica.com/beach-club/), Sharky’s Bar (http://sharkysbars.com/), Long Board BBQ, Chinese Food (directly across from Vista Villas) and Bamboo Sushi Club.

Just down the road was the luxurious Tamarindo Diria hotel, which features a lobby side pool/hot tub, an array of cabanas with an outside bar/dining deck as well as private beach access to make any jovial attendants experience an unforgettable rave-cation.