Stepping onto Florida A&M University’s campus for the first time at 15 years old, creator of One Musicfest Jason Carter knew it was where he needed to be.
“At 15, I automatically knew,” Carter said. “I’ve never seen so many different types of young, vibrant, progressive black people … in on space, and for the backdrop for that to be palm trees and higher education. For me, it was a no brainer.”
Coming in through FAMU’s School of Business and Industry, Carter quickly realized entrepreneurship was the avenue he wanted to take, and graduated in 1996 with a major in business economics.
“I love SBI for what it gave me, but I felt like it was teaching me how to perform well in a structured, corporate environment. It taught me how to climb the corporate ladder, whereas business economics gave me more entrepreneurial skills,” Carter said.
Now years later, Carter is the face behind Atlanta’s biggest music festival, drawing more than 60,000 music lovers from across the country. He’s also the CEO and founder of Sol Fusion Media Group, an Atlanta-based brand marketing company that specializes in events. Carter said FAMU gave him the tools for success at an early age.
“There are little things that you don’t even know you’re learning,” he said. “It’s like ‘Karate Kid.’ Mr. Miyagi has you wax on and wax off … it’s things that you’re learning that you don’t even know you’re learning.”
Carter mentioned after pledging Omega Psi Phi, one of his duties as a “neo” was to negotiate deals with local club owners to plan social outreach events or parties. He said he took that experience with him after moving back to Atlanta.
“I started to realize the nightlife was changing in Atlanta. The types of parties and events I wanted to go to, I wasn’t finding,” he said.
Starting off as a small party, Sol Fusion snowballed into something greater.
“It was a party that started off relatively small, like 20 to 30 people. It grew into 100 then to 1,000. Once that event became a large monthly event, we kind of changed direction,” Carter said.
Sol Fusion’s brand marketing clientele helped propel the idea of One Musicfest into reality. Carter noticed something “lacking” in the urban community when it came to festivals.
“Nowhere could I find an open-air, multi-stage festival that could play everything from R&B to funk to hiphop to reggae to down south hip hop. Nothing was really catering to that,” he said. “I was thinking what better city than Atlanta, the progressive urban mecca.”
According to Carter, the idea was pitched and as soon as the brands came on board with sponsorship money, the rest was history.
Since its creation in 2010, One Musicfest has been about unity through music and Carter wants those in attendance to walk away with this message: “Don’t be afraid to invest in your culture. If you have an idea, jump … Understand that all these people you admire or aspire to be like are just like you. Everybody is obtainable. Nobody is untouchable. You just have to believe and follow through.”
One Musicfest will be Sept. 10 at Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Ga. Tickets are on sale now and for the full lineup, visit www.onemusicfest.com .