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I’ve been pumping Mustock as the best D.C. indie music festival for at least five years. This is now its eight year.
Mustock is the love child of the one and only Mustafa Akbar. The first time I went to his ancestral farmland in Lignum, Va., I was blown away by the festival the brother had envisioned and brought to fruition.
Mu, as many endearingly call him, is a D.C. funk veteran. He’s traveled the world hustling funk to the masses. Whether through his solo music projects or with more commercially known bands like Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, and Fort Knox Five, Mustafa has always been in the mix—and most likely, as some point in time, your mix. He’s rocked many cultures and embraced many customs When I ask him (sometimes jealously, I admit) about his favorite place to rock and entertain, he tells me, “Mustock!” It’s his home and with his great appreciation for history, Mustafa understands that many people may not be connected to where they come from like he is. So, since 2003 Mustafa has been sharing his roots; offering an overnight “spiritual grounding” experience to all who attend.
Mustock is a concert event for those brave enough to travel from the hood to the woods. The artists and their fans come mostly from the D.C. area, but Baltimore, Richmond, and Philly funk, rock, and soul seekers always represent lovely and lively. Folks from as far away as North Carolina and New York City show up. All that is to say that people from all over come to Mustock, and there is mucho good reason!
The artists and performances are always top notch. Something about being on a beautiful big stage with oh-so-perfect sound in a uniquely intimate, natural setting has produced very remarkable performances at past Mustock festivals. I must give a shout out to Marty, who has been providing and working Mustock sound since Day 1, I believe. One of the best, Marty is a well-trusted name when it comes to making sure everyone is satisfied, from the bands to the fans. My guess is that’s the reason he’s the go-to guy for D.C.’s best inner-city indie concert series, the legendary Fort Reno summer concerts (going on now!).
With the talent, sound, and stage tight , Mustock’s hospitality is just as attractive a reason to attend. There are ample outside bathrooms for festivalgoers, and even showers. In past years, a fish-and-chips fry run by Mustafa’s blood relatives was the key featured grub, and I hear this year will see additional vendors on the grounds. There is ample open space where people and pets can dance, play, and meditate while enjoying the live. For me, the highlight of Mustock is playing with my daughter and watching her play with other kids—usually Asheru’s kids (his band rocks Mustock this year). Mustock is very kid-friendly and very family-friendly. It’s a cultural event where folks look out for one another. To borrow a phrase from my man Kush from Violet Says 5 (rocking with GODISHEUS at the Black Cat on Aug. 16), at Mustock we “stay Kings and Queens with it.”
And just who’s rocking Mustock this year? Twenty-five of the Mid-Atlantic’s best “James Brown overtime grind” funk, rock, and soul artists. Every one is a rock star and the accumulated accomplishments would fill encyclopedias. I already mentioned the mighty Asheru–who wrote theme song to the animated “Boondocks” show–who will be rocking along with The Els. Other notables are Lady Alma, Punk Rodgers, and Nappy Riddem (Friday night), and Pure Light Seed, Tony Ozier, W. Ellington Felton, Tamika Love Jones, Fort Knox Five, Thunderball, GODISHEUS (Saturday day and night). For a full listing of bands and times visit www.mustockllc.com. There will be a tree-planting ceremony on Sunday as folks who camped out the night pack up and prepare for their journeys back home.
See ya’ll at Mustock!
Mustock 2010 Outdoor Music Festival takes place July 30 to Aug. 1. For more information visit www.mustockllc.com.