The first Deep Ellum Music Festival took over the corner of Main Street and Good Latimer Expressway on Saturday with headliners Rev Run, Doug E. Fresh and Bowling for Soup.
Bands played into the night with 16 after-parties, including one headlined by Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup at Elm Street Saloon.
The free and family-friendly fest was part of Deep Ellum’s 150th anniversary celebration.
“The weather’s perfect and it’s a fantastic day,” Stephanie Keller Hudiberg, executive director of the Deep Ellum Foundation, said Saturday.
Reverend Run and Doug E. Fresh celebrated hip-hop’s 50th anniversary as a genre during the festivities. Local performers included RC Williams, Cure For Paranoia and The Grays, The 40 Acre Mule, Cayuga All-Stars and DJs Christy Ray and Edgar Blue.
Reddick can be described as a renaissance man. He’s a singer-songwriter, composer, podcaster, entrepreneur and voice actor.
His band formed in Wichita Falls, but its members have a deep affection for Deep Ellum, where they got their start.
“Honestly, when I think of Deep Ellum, it is pretty much the same as thinking about home,” Reddick said in a statement. “We found a family that accepted us and, more than that, supported us, even though we didn’t sound like anyone else in the scene. I still get that same feeling when I play down there.”
Foundation 45, a mental health nonprofit founded in Deep Ellum, was the festival’s official beneficiary partner. A portion of T-shirt sales will go to Foundation 45.
“Foundation 45 is an organization that means more to me than I can explain,” Reddick said. “This organization morphed from a movement that had artists, like myself, sharing their experiences with mental health, in hopes of shattering the stigma attached.”
The Deep Ellum Community Association also presented a sneak preview of April’s Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair at the Deep Ellum Music Festival.
Breonny Lee, Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair executive producer, said “we are ecstatic to continue this storied tradition through events like these which meld the worlds of visual and performing arts and provide a platform for artists to be seen and heard.”