The Art of Cool Music Festival April 28-30

American rapper, actor, film producer and poet joins to the 2017 festival lineup

By Derek Ross 

The 2017 Art of Cool (AOC) Festival just got cooler.  In partnership with the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), the two organizations announce the addition of Golden Globe, Academy and 2-Time Grammy award-winning rapper/actor/film producer/poet, Common as part of the official lineup for the 2017 AOC Festival taking place in Durham, North Carolina on April 28-30.

Common will perform on Saturday, April 29 during the festival weekend at the DPAC.  Tickets will be available beginning Friday, December 16, 2016 at 12:00 p.m.  The AOC Festival VIP Pass provides fans with access to purchase exclusive premium seats to see Common perform. The AOC Festival VIP passes can be purchased at

In addition to Common, the AOC Festival VIP Pass also includes two-day access to all Club Pass venues; no waiting in line; and access to the VIP Sunday Brunch on Sunday, April 30 with a special performance by The Hamiltones.

Revive Big Band

Fans can also experience the festival by purchasing the 2017 AOC Festival Club Pass that grants two-day general admission to: Carolina Theatre, The Armory (with a sonic and lighting makeover), PSI Theatre, MotorCo, Pinhook. Club Pass holders can add on a ticket to see Common at the DPAC. Details available at  An official ticket is required to attend the Common show at DPAC.

“Partnering with DPAC to add Common to an already exciting lineup for the 4th installment of AOCFEST is a true testament to the growth of not only Art of Cool, but also the audience for Black American Music in the area,” states Cicely Mitchell, President/Co-founder of The Art of Cool Project. “This truly is an honor and privilege to present such a world-class musician in one of the country’s best performing arts centers.” Single performance tickets to see Common can be purchased at, Ticketmaster, or The Ticket Center at DPAC.

The three-day AOC Festival, a remixed experience of the Black American Music Festival, features forward thinking jazz, alternative soul and mature hip hop in its mission to expand the audience of jazz as well as innovative thought. In addition to Common, the legendary Godfather of Funk, George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic, will headline the Durham-based nonprofit’s 2017 AOC Festival.


Also, joining the 2017 AOC Fest lineup with a unique performance with a full backing band will be legendary emcee, Rakim; producer/disc jockey, Just Blaze; Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton’s background vocalists, The Hamiltones (Exclusive VIP Brunch); saxophonist/vocalist/producer, Kenneth Whalum; jazz trumpeter and composer, Theo Croker; emcee, Goldlink; singer/songwriter, Nao; singer/songwriter, JMSN (pronounced Jameson); vocalist, R.LUM.R (pronounced ARE-LUM-ARE); singer/songwriter, Alex Belle and singer/songwriter/guitarist Isis, St. Beauty; trumpeter/composer, Marquis Hill; jazz drummer, Makaya McCraven; drummer Marcus Baylor (Yellow Jackets) and his wife, vocalist Jean Baylor formerly of Zhane, The Baylor Project; and more to come.

The Art of Cool Festival will also present two marquee showcases as a part of its performance lineup: Revive Big Band: A Journey Through the Legacy of Black Culture with Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band featuring special guests; and Ropeadope: The Next Wave featuring saxophonist/rapper/Grammy winning ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ producer, Terrace Martin and The Polly Seeds; trumpeter/composer/producer, Christian Scott; Snarky Puppy drummer/producer Robert ‘Sput’ Searight’ of Sputnik; guitarist/composer, Matthew Stevens; Snarky Puppy keyboardist/producer/songwriter, Shaun Martin; and Erykah Badu’s band, RC & The Gritz.

George Clinton

Last year’s AOC Fest hosted over 8,200 music lovers, and 60 bands and presenters in 10 venues with an economic impact projection of $1.9 million for the city of Durham. To purchase passes for the 2017 AOC Festival or for more information about the AOC Project and its programming and events, visit

About Art of Cool (AOC) Project

The Art of Cool (AOC) Project is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the state of North Carolina and operating in Durham.  AOC has been presenting live jazz and educating the local community about jazz since 2011. Co-founded by Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong IV, the AOC has three flagship programs: Art of Cool Festival (AOCFest), StArt of Cool Jazz Education (Start of Cool), and Innovate Your Cool Conference (IYC).  For more information about the AOC Project and its programming visit,


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