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TwoGether Land founder J Carter on why the festival chose Dallas

Jason "J" Carter, founder of ONE Musicfest and TwoGether Land, poses for a publicity photo.
Courtesy of J Carter
Jason "J" Carter, founder of ONE Musicfest and TwoGether Land, poses for a publicity photo.

As festival lineups are announced for the spring and summer, hip-hop fans in Dallas have circled May 25 and May 26 for TwoGether Land at Fair Park.

Featuring Lil Wayne, Summer Walker, Latto, Key Glock, Muni Long and Gucci Mane, the new festival is an expansion of ONE Musicfest, which launched in Atlanta in 2010.

The Dallas festival also plans to tap into the local scene through performances with Hollyhood Bay Bay’s Dallas All-Stars, Big Tuck, Erica Banks, Yella Beezy, Chalie Boy and Dorrough.

ONE Musicfest co-founder Jason “J” Carter saw what he calls a gap in cultural representation in North Texas. He tells The Dallas Morning News that Dallas and Houston are part of a cultural tapestry of Texas hip-hop, which isn’t always accurately portrayed in hip-hop and R&B lineups.

“I think the biggest thing was there wasn’t anything quite like this in Dallas,” Carter says. “Being able to create something by and for Dallas to claim it as their own was pretty important to us.”

Carter didn’t want to bring ONE Musicfest from Atlanta to Dallas but rather do something new that he says spotlights a vibrant and progressive multicultural community.

“I didn’t want to make it feel like an Atlanta-based event that imposes their culture on this new state,” he says. “It was a long-term play for it to feel authentic to Dallas.”

On a recent visit to the State Fair of Texas in Fair Park, he was blown away by how all aspects of Lone Star culture were represented, especially the fried food. In honoring the Southwest’s spirit, Carter focused on bringing names that captured the essence.

“Artists like That Mexican OT. [Hollyhood] Bay Bay, who is synonymous with Dallas hip-hop, is curating a set with some of Dallas’ greatest hip-hop artists to come out of the city. Things like that. We have a few surprise performances with some regional acts,” Carter says.

The name TwoGether Land also has an amusement park vibe to it, promising other forms of entertainment such as the Art Overdose Live Art Expo, Urban Trivia Live, a skating rink, live podcast recordings from local platforms Reallyfe Street Starz and The Smoothvega Podcast, DJ sets, mixology demonstrations, a Texas barbecue showcase and over 30 food vendors from the area and surrounding cities like Bun B’s Trill Burgers in Houston.

Carter’s path to launching ONE Musicfest began in 2008 when he envisioned a festival celebrating Black music and culture — and inviting others to participate in a spirit of unity. Last year, it drew over 100,000 attendees in Atlanta.

He began plotting a way to bring a new southwest urban music festival to Dallas with suggestions from colleagues Oscar Joyner and Dessie Brown. After the pandemic halted his plans in 2020, he explored other markets like Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Houston, Chicago and Charlotte. He chose Dallas, he says, “to fill a void in a big space” because he feels Dallas often gets overlooked for festivals, despite its strong music scene. “I know JMBLYA was down there. I know Post Malone did his thing down there. We’re a little different,” Carter says.

Joyner also took him to Fair Park and he learned about its history including segregation, racism, and Black families being uprooted to make way for parking lots. The location for TwoGether Land brought things full circle. “I spent a little time in some creative spaces and community centers. It was another part that told the perfect story,” Carter says. “Let’s not overlook the history and the richness of this area. The families that were here prior are still here, fighting for the piece of land today. There are a lot of stories of people investing in that area and keeping the history alive.”

Carter is anticipating the “most diverse event” he’s ever been a part of. He hopes to reach 20,000 ticket sales per day. If the Memorial Day weekend is successful, he aims to return to Dallas and make TwoGether Land a more permanent fixture.

“If anyone knows how we do it in Atlanta, there’s going to be a surprise act,” Carter says, mentioning Janet Jackson bringing out J. Cole and Jermaine Dupri. “This year, there are going to be a couple of surprises.”

TwoGether Land takes place Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at Fair Park. Weekend passes are available on the website, starting at $139 for single day general admission and $199 for two-day general admission.

Arts Access is an arts journalism collaboration powered by The Dallas Morning News and KERA.

This community-funded journalism initiative is funded by the Better Together Fund, Carol & Don Glendenning, City of Dallas OAC, Communities Foundation of Texas, The University of Texas at Dallas, The Dallas Foundation, Eugene McDermott Foundation, James & Gayle Halperin Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef and The Meadows Foundation. The News and KERA retain full editorial control of Arts Access’ journalism.

Eric Diep is a freelance journalist based in Dallas. He has written for Billboard, Complex, Vulture, HipHopDX, and Vibe.