Trillectro, a New Event for a New Era

Marcus K. Dowling | 8/8/2012, 4:32 p.m.

Daylong Music Festival Debuts in Southeast

A weekend getaway to the West Coast for a popular music-fest inspired three college friends to take the best of what the event had to offer, put their unique spin on it and bring it back to the Washington Metropolitan area.

In April, Modele "Modi" Oyewole, Quinn Coleman and Marcel Marshall checked out the annual, three-day Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., that features numerous genres of music that run the gamut from indie to rock to hip-hop and electronic. The festival also showcases up-and-coming and emerging new artists.

Great minds think alike - and this band of brothers - seized the moment.

"D.C. needed a festival," said Oyewole, a marketing event planner who lives in Northeast.

The friends penned a popular blog, DCtoBC.com during their school days at Boston College in Chesnut Hill, Mass. By the time they graduated, their Internet portal had become arguably one of the most beloved sites in all of underground culture.

Today, the trio has set their sights on a far more ambitious venture in the form of the Trillectro Hip-Hop and Electronic Music Festival which debuts on Saturday, August 11 in the shadow of Nationals Park at the Half Street Fairgrounds in Southeast. The daylong music festival, fashioned along the lines of the renowned Coachella Festival, promises to attract an eclectic crowd with estimates of up to 4,000 plus in attendance.

"There's so much movement between the hip-hop and electronic communities right now. There are hip-hop artists sampling dance and the same happening with dance and hip-hop as well. We wanted to showcase that," said Oyewole, 25.

For example, main stage headliners Flosstradamus, also known as Josh "J2K" Young and Curt "Autobot" Camerucci, who both hail from the Windy City, have a decade of experience and their electro house style carries an urban twist. Their current popularity comes from an affinity for producing the traditionally Southern and hyper-urban "trap music" sounds. The idea of two Midwesterners creating dance tracks that could easily double as the soundtrack to dirty South hustle tales may seem bizarre, but given the current era's penchant for blurring the lines between genres, it makes sense.

While the DCtoBC team is from the nation's capital, that's not the only reason that Trillectro is taking place in this region. The festival will feature underrated but internationally respected talent - like headlining rappers who include Schoolboy Q and Casey Veggies. D.C. acknowledges both hip-hop culture and electronic music because the sound has achieved a certain level of success in mainstream.

D.C.'s rap story is already well known. Wale's ascendance to major label superstardom with the Maybach Music Group is common knowledge. However, the festival's "DMV" representatives Tabi Bonney and Oddisee are seasoned underground veterans who aren't mainstream names yet, but a new musical environment could be what they need to catapult their careers to another level.

The dance revolution in the District may be the most intriguing story of the entire event. The two most significant players in this movement are D.C. native DJ/producer Jesse Tittsworth and Dave Nada and his moombahton sound.

Tittsworth, who lives in Los Angeles, is a co-owner of the U Street Music Hall in Northwest. Since the early 2000s, he's achieved a considerable level of indie fame, setting a standard that fellow Trillectro artists like the Nouveau Riche and Rock Creek Social Club DJ Collectives aim to reach.

Nada, 34, a DJ who hails from College Park, Md., is credited with creating the tropical-based sound that's best described as slowed reggaeton meets house music along with myriad samples that range from the strange to the familiar. While Nada will not DJ at the event, his genre will be represented.

The District's new cosmopolitan population dances to a fresh and vibrant global sound that epitomizes what the Trillectro Festival is all about.

"I want to share experiences with people. As far as the future, I believe that an event of this caliber is necessary, and will hopefully [take place] annually," said Coleman, 23.

His colleague agrees.

"This event is going to be colorful. There's going to be a lot of different fashions, different people, people from various backgrounds, all in the same place," said Oyewole, flashing a smile.

For more information about the TrillectroMusic Festival, visit www.trillectro.com.