Earlier this year, Durham-based and jazz-centric nonprofit The Art of Cool Project
hosted its first festival. The lineup featured national names, like Maceo Parker, Bilal and Christian Scott alongside local hip-hop, soul and jazz acts such as The Foreign Exchange, The Hot at Nights and many others. Art of Cool hopes to bring its festival back
for a second year; to power the push into 2015, they've launched their second Kickstarter campaign
—with some big aspirations behind it.
Festival co-director Cicely Mitchell says the crowdfunding platform helps provide the money most music festivals need to get going. “The way funding works with festivals, or festival financing, a lot of things you have to purchase up front,” she says.
The crowdfunding helps set up the festival’s financial and physical infrastructure in advance. If successful, she says, it will also proves that the AOC festival is something the people of Durham actually demand.
Right now, Art of Cool has raised just under $10,000 of its $35,000 goal, compared to last year's reached goal of $25,000. Mitchell says the extra money will go toward increased booking fees. In the long term, Mitchell hopes the Art of Cool Festival can continue and that AOC can continue to expand its youth offerings from a week-long summer camp to after school programs for kids.
“There are really two things here," Mitchell says. "One, of course, we’re a nonprofit, and we’re all about letting the music reach a lot of people, but also people are seeing that Durham is safe and it’s walkable and it’s fun and cool."