Indianapolis to Host First Black Rock Festival Celebrating the Originators of Rock ‘N’ Roll

Groundbreaking “I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll” Festival

Indianapolis is gearing up to host the inaugural “I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll Festival” on Saturday, May 18th. This groundbreaking event aims to honor the origins of rock music and celebrate the oft-overlooked Black artists who pioneered the genre.

“So you think about the OGs — Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Chuck Berry, Little Richard. They all created rock ‘n’ roll, the roots of it,” explained Hayes Barnes of GANGGANG, the event’s organizer. “That authorship was never really recognized. For a lot of people we see this association with rock ‘n’ roll as a White form of music and we’re saying the story is more beautiful than that.”

Star-Studded Lineup

Attendees can expect an electrifying lineup of live performances from renowned Black rock artists. Headlining the festival is the award-winning musician Janelle Monáe, alongside Gary Clark Jr., Robert Randolph Band, Joy Oladokun, Meet Me @ The Altar, and Inner Peace.

Beyond the music, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Black rock history. Interactive exhibits, photo ops, and curated retail and food vendors will create a vibrant atmosphere celebrating Black artistry and authorship.

“We’ve curated the place so that you don’t need to leave, you have everything there,” said Barnes. “A couple food trucks will be there and we partnered with a couple of businesses for vending opportunities. We’re calling this Rock n Row.”

Hands-On Activities

One highlight promises to be the hands-on experience of designing personalized overalls and denim jackets. Festivalgoers can customize their looks with the help of on-site artists, adding buttons, patches, and pins to reflect their individual aesthetics.

General admission tickets for the “I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll Festival” are priced at $85. For those seeking an elevated experience, reserved cabanas start at $600, with VIP viewing areas beginning at $250 per person.

As Indianapolis prepares to make rock ‘n’ roll history, this festival promises to be a remarkable celebration of the Black artists who laid the foundation for a genre that has captivated generations.