Pop Culture with Aminah: Summer In Tha Carolinas


A small crowd gathered by the stage at the festival
Photo by Aminah Jenkins

On July 17, Summer In Tha Carolinas held their first music festival in Moore Square Park. This event featured artists from all over the state as well as various vendors and food trucks.


Festival Goers

Most of the attendees had heard about the event from performing artists who posted about it. By the looks of it, most festival goers had some kind of personal connection with performers, but that made the festival even more meaningful. Everyone in attendance was extremely supportive of the performers. From engaging with the sets to making new friends, the energy was benevolent.


Because so many festival goers were made aware of the festival by performers, most of them were supporting artists that they’d been following for a while. Attendees Dylan and Morgan came because their friends knew of artists who were performing. “We’re excited to meet new people and see new artists,” they said. Mida, a native of Winston-Salem, was there to watch OG Spliff and TiaCorine. Mida spoke candidly about TiaCorine (who is also from Winston-Salem), saying “she’s a blessing to our city, it’s her time to shine.”


Meeting the Vendors

Around the perimeter of the event, various vendors were set up. Nada, owner of Spiral Temple, was selling her handmade crystal jewelry. She had mainly been selling her creations online due to COVID-19, so the festival was something to look forward to.


Another booth showcased art from Mir and Alex Figueroa. Mir, owner of Molded Into Realness, is a Raleigh local and saw the festival as an opportunity to showcase her work.

Figueroa, owner of AF.Artistry, is a mixed media artist from Greensboro. Both worked to incorporate their perspectives on life in their mediums. “My main message is that you create your reality,” Figueroa said. “If there was anything I wanted to get across, it’s that everyone is in control of their own lives.”


Natasha Rae and Caleb Barnhart, owners of Buku Photo, were part of the festival’s media team. Rae and Barnhart’s experience with local artists prior to the event made them privy to the processes many of them use. “We get to see their work ethic,” Rae explained. “It feels more like art instead of work.”


Various events from the last year had a profound impact on everyone at the festival. COVID-19, for obvious reasons, had changed a lot of their plans. Barnhart explained that he and Rae were able to witness many of the performers at the festival adapt to the pandemic. “What we’re seeing right now is a bunch of artists who spent the last year going ‘I’m going to create by myself,’” Barnhart said. This festival was the product of that work. “I can’t wait to show this to the world.” For Mir of Molded Into Realness, her sister being on life support after contracting COVID-19 initially stopped her from creating. But eventually, she found the courage to start again. “I chose to put all of that sadness and anger into my work,” Mir said, “and I got something completely different out of it.


We also caught up with Elijah, Isaiah and JT (aka the Balloon Boys) almost a year after their interview with The Meredith Herald. The boys were finally back to making in-person content and are more excited than ever. They still plan on staying in Raleigh because, as Isaiah put it, “the city loves us, so we gotta stay.” The Balloon Boys are looking forward to releasing content about Summer In Tha Carolinas, and were hopeful that it would showcase the talent that the North Carolina community has to offer.


Nada, Mir, Figueroa, Rae and Barhart agreed that Summer In Tha Carolinas provided a space for them to network. “You’re meeting new people and making new connections,” Nada stated.


NOAHH

Across all of the interviews, one name came up every single time: NOAHH. NOAHH, the stage name of Noah Beard, is responsible for creating and facilitating the event. Beard is part of the music group The Lo$t Generation and is heavily involved in the local music scene. He’s collaborated with F4rty Oz — one of the performers at the festival — as well as the late musical artist Cloudy Nueve.


Summer In Tha Carolinas has been a year in the making. From having to reschedule due to COVID-19 to adjusting the lineup, Beard has been hard at work creating an event that artists, vendors and festival goers could benefit from. This isn’t Beard’s first time holding a music event, either. He’s performed at the Lincoln Theatre and Motorco Music Hall with his group while also hosting other artists. Beard had initially planned a festival called OffTheRalz for March 28, 2020, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, that didn’t stop him from working to reimagine a festival that North Carolina had never seen before.


Beard’s love for the local music scene was clearly on display. He was constantly speaking and connecting with people. Beard was stopped by someone during his interview with The Herald, and he took the time to speak with them right at that moment. Despite having to run the festival, Beard still found the time to perform later that night. And despite spending the last year and a half planning Summer In Tha Carolinas, Beard still found a way to release an album titled NOAHH'S ARK in 2020 and a single, "Out My Mind," in May 2021. There wasn’t a person he wouldn’t speak to or a friend he wasn’t willing to make. This genuine warmth was evident in how the event ran. “I just like creating memories that will last forever,” Beard said. “And to me, this will.”


Overall, Summer In Tha Carolinas was a success. There’s been some talk of the festival making a reappearance sometime in October for a Halloween theme, but it’s clear that this won’t be the last time we’ll hear from them. Use this link to listen to The Herald’s favorite songs from the performers of Summer In Tha Carolinas.


By Aminah Jenkins, Associate Editor

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