His first-ever live performance at the inaugural RaurFest in 2014 was Raury’s coming out party, a signal to the world that he was ready to assume the spotlight. It was a triumphant entrance, one that catapulted his name and work to the outer fringes of the mainstream. And while Raury could’ve doubled down on the fame seeking for last year’s second edition of the festival, he chose instead to play the role of collaborator and facilitator. Rather than placing himself as the centerpiece, the Indigo Child worked to corral a disparate group of artists and then proceeded to bask in their shared creativity.
This year’s third annual RaurFest saw its namesake continue to carry the mantle of cultural leader. For all his talents as an artist and musician, Raury understands the importance of searching out and constructing bridges that bring communities together. And while his eclectic songwriting is itself a testament to that impulse, so too are his instincts as a curator. For the 2016 edition, Raury successfully paired hip-hop heavyweights like Joey Bada$$ and Kirk Knight with artists on the rise such as neo soul duo Lion Babe and Brooklyn’s Kilo Kish. He also made sure to feature plenty of homegrown talent in the lineup, with Johnny Apollo, Kodie Shane, Ziggy2Playa, Zip Kennedy, Tommy Swisher, and others all taking their turns at rocking the Heaven stage at the Masquerade. In the end, it was a momentous evening of standout performances and positive vibes with Raury once again serving as the relentlessly inventive and enterprising glue that held everything together.
Below are a collection of captions and images — a sort of timeline, if you will — of this year’s RaurFest, written and shot by Immersive Atlanta contributor Bryceson Center.
Ever the showman, Atlanta’s own Johnny Apollo was one of the first artists to connect with the audience and get the crowd moving.
Hero the Band brought a change of tone to the festival, performing a dazzling set that promoted creative energy and peace.
Berhana’s greatest asset is his ability to blend diverse sounds. At RaurFest he performed a smooth and mellow set that got the crowd grooving.
Ziggy2playa dished out a hot serving of his Southern roots, performing songs such as “CCK (Lemon Pepper Wings)” for an appreciative audience. Ziggy was the first artist to bring out guest performers including fellow locals Yani Mo and Allen Thomas (both pictured above).
Decatur native Zip Kennedy unleashed his formidable stage presence.
Kodie Shane did everything in her power to make her set memorable, jumping around and interacting with the crowd the entire time in order to make sure every single person in the building was moving.
The hometown love was strong for Tommy Swisher. As soon as he took the stage, fans responded by getting loud and rowdy.
Rapper Tru maintained the crowd’s energetic vibe by mixing his hard-hitting bard with the soul of Christopher Sen and Mecca Nism (pictured below).
Kilo Kish came out smiling ear to ear after seeing the crowd for the first time. The singer-songwriter performed many hits off her latest album, Reflections in Real Time.
Singer Jillian Hervey of up and coming neo soul duo Lion Babe helped deliver a unique and tantalizing set.
The image for the curator of the event speaks for himself. This picture demonstrates the energy and dedication that Raury has as a musician. He provided an unbelievable kickoff to the headliners that would shortly grace the stage.
During Raury’s set multiple members of Raury’s crew came out and handed out flowers to the audience symbolizing peace and unity.
The dynamic duo known for coming together through the Pro Era collective made for an excellent way to cap of the night. The energy from Joey Bada$$ (pictured above) and Kirk Knight (shown below) flowed perfectly.