New York City’s Highline Ballroom played host to the New York press conference/launch party for the east coast leg of Guerilla Union’s Rock the Bells hip hop festival series. The two shows taking place at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium festival grounds September 28, 29 and East Rutherford, NJ Meadowlands Racetrack October 4, 5 commemorate the 10th anniversary of one of the largest annual hip hop festivals in the country.
This 2013 edition of Rock the Bells promising roughly 40 acts plus surprise guests over the course of two days, will also see the addition of several EDM (Electronic Dance Music) artists to the festival lineup, including acts Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, Chase & Status and Mimosa. The inclusion of EDM comes as a bit of a surprise, but CEO and founder, Chang Weisberg, decided to recognize the genre that has crossed over into hip hop music over the last couple of years.
Weisberg said, “Hip-hop is not one dimensional, it’s actually more diverse than it’s ever been, and I’m glad that we’re able to showcase and celebrate the many different sub-styles of the genre.”
The launch show included live performances from Supernatural, Flatbush Zombies, Immortal Technique and Inspektah Deck. The new artist additions to the festival’s lineup reflect the heavy east coast influence that will dominate this leg of the tour, including Action Bronson, Big Daddy Kane, Deltron 3030, Freddie Gibbs, Freeway, J.Cole, Krs-One, Pusha T, Rapsody & 9th Wonder, Riff Raff, Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh, Sean Price, Smoke Dza, Wale, and YG.
It was 2004 when Weisberg premiered the very first Rock the Bells in San Bernardino, California. The Wu-Tang Clan headlined. The chaotic show marked the final stage appearance of Ol’ Dirty Bastard with the full original Wu-Tang contingent as ODB would pass away four months later. Weisberg’s resolve was tested as he tried to ensure that the fans would experience a fully assembled Wu-Tang Clan, including Cappadonna. Ol’ Dirty almost didn’t take the stage, holed up in his hotel room, refusing to leave. These tribulations were all chronicled in the amusing 2006 documentary film, Rock the Bells, which comes highly recommended. Ultimately, the success of this first show laid the foundation for what was to come in subsequent years. Now, fast forward to 2013 and Guerrilla Union’s Rock the Bells is larger than ever, a robust festival, celebrating ten years of attracting some of the best talent in rap music to its sizable venues.
Peter Rosenberg and Murs 3:16 share hosting duties at all the festival stops which include the opening shows in L.A. and San Francisco. Highlights of the tour will include live performances by Kid Cudi, Black Hippy, J. Cole, Common, Jurassic 5, Bone Thugs-N- Harmony, Tech N9ne, Danny Brown, Immortal Technique and Tyler the Creator. This eclectic mix of superstars, up and comers, innovators and legends should make for an unforgettable experience, but keep in mind that announced artists will not be playing all shows.
Check the Rock the Bells website (www.RockTheBells.net) for more information as to where and when your favorite artists are performing, and to purchase festival tickets.