Emerge Festival 2019


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About

Emerge is a thoughtfully curated annual event for emerging thoughts and voices in music and social impact spaces. It’s a pop-up crucible for the kind of passionate, intense interplay between art and agitation, between beats and movements that pushes culture. It’s a fantasy dinner party discussion between leading figures and thinkers ...

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Contact

Publicist
Ben Michaels
812-339-1195 X 204

Current News

  • 03/04/201903/04/2019

Social Impact + Musical Edge: Emerge Unveils Full Lineup of Artists & Activists for Flagship Event

Emerge (May 31-June 1, 2019) insists that festivals should have all the raw energy of protests, and that social change can spark emerging creative voices. “We’re setting up a hub for creative energy to engage some of the most wrenching, challenging questions right now,” says festival founder Rehan Choudhry.

The creative energy will be palpable at the festival’s second edition, as its first round of confirmed artists and speakers proves. Headliners will include artists...

Press

  • Billboard, Feature story, 02/20/2019, The Greatest Festivals of This Decade Are Not Festivals, They Are Protests Text
  • Consequence of Sound, Feature story, 02/28/2002, Emerge Festival reveals 2019 lineup: Laura Jane Grace, Andrew Bird, Big Freedia, David Hogg Text
  • Relix, Event preview, 03/19/2019, Emerge Text
  • Las Vegas Weekly, Feature story, 02/28/2019, LAURA JANE GRACE, TALIB KWELI AND ANDREW BIRD HIGHLIGHT EMERGE’S REIMAGINED 2019 FESTIVAL Text
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News

05/31/2019, Las Vegas, NV, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino  
01/15/201905/31/2019, From Protest to Fabulous: Las Vegas’ Emerge Festival Re-Aligns Music Discovery with Social Unrest
Event
05/31/2019
Event
05/31/2019
Event Notes
May 31, 2019 - June 1, 2019
Venue Zip
89169
Venue City, State
Las Vegas, NV
Venue St. Address
4455 Paradise Rd
Venue
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino  
Rehan Choudhry spent a year thinking about festivals, their models, and why most of them seemed to fail to present emerging perspectives and sounds in a compelling way. The tendency to present thousands of little-known bands without curation or context has become ineffective. MORE» More»

Rehan Choudhry spent a year thinking about festivals, their models, and why most of them seemed to fail to present emerging perspectives and sounds in a compelling way. The tendency to present thousands of little-known bands without curation or context has become ineffective. The digital revolution had transformed the music business, yet the festival model remained the same.

There was something missing. “It struck me that over the last 80 years of music history, every time emerging music spiked in popularity, it was tied to social unrest,” Choudhry relates. “Think about the explosion of rock and songwriters like Dylan and Joplin in the ’60s, the rapid development of hip hop in ’80s when city communities faced crises. This is the best time ever, now; the social movements suggest it. I realized the emotional tie, that sense of personal relevance was missing at many events.”

This epiphany brought him to create Emerge, a thoughtfully curated annual event for emerging thoughts and voices in music and social impact spaces. It’s a pop-up crucible for the kind of passionate, intense interplay between art and agitation, between beats and movements that pushes culture. It’s a fantasy dinner party discussion between leading figures and thinkers from across time and space, writ large and made wickedly fun.

This year’s festival revolves around four themes--Self, Protest, Fear, Sex--meant to drive conversations and discovery. For two days (May 31-June 1, 2019), festival goers will get a chance to focus on these themes at the Hard Rock Hotel. Though music and ideas form the foundation, Emerge will offer a range of immersive experiences and explorations, from the gritty to the charming. Eschewing scattered, clashing stages or tents, Emerge invites those present to sink deep into the topics one at a time, sometimes for as long four hours--and to find for themselves the new voices making vital connections between grassroots movements, social change, and musical expression.

The performers and speakers are a counterpoint to festivals that only consider career moments, follower data, or nebulous notions of “influence.” It’s about substance and wonder, not popularity. “Though we like to invite a few headliners to anchor the experience, we make it a point to incorporate a lot of perspectives and voices who wouldn’t play at a major conference or festival. Talks aren’t TED slick. They may not have the audience to drive a slot somewhere like Coachella, at least not yet. These are not the who’s who of glitzy influencers about how to get attention. It’s visionaries, regardless of career phase, talking about how to create a better world.”

This isn’t Choudhry’s first festival. Though he never thought he’d go into entertainment as a career--he worked for years in emergency management IT at the Department of Homeland Security--he wound up switching gears and running entertainment initiatives for an Atlantic City casino hungry to bring younger crowds to the city. Choudhry put together hip music, celebrity chefs with help from the Food Network, and other cool happenings. His success caught the eye of a major investment bank, and he ended up working as the opening Director to Entertainment for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

After years of working with big names at big venues in places like Las Vegas, Choudhry took the plunge into the festival world and became the founder and driving force behind Life is Beautiful. Sparked by Choudhry’s interest in building an event around the theme of shifting our concepts of mental health, the Vegas festival morphed into a major music, art, and food event. Choudhry wove together his past experience in high-energy, crowd-drawing entertainment to make a bold, engaging statement. The festival won Pollstar’s Festival of the Year Award and was named Best Musical Event by Forbes.

Yet Choudhry wanted to get back to his original vision, so he parted ways. He knew he wanted to create a platform for emerging voices, and he knew he wanted it to be about much more than a few days of intense enjoyment once a year.

Choudhry built a new team and launched an online magazine, A Beautiful Perspective, to create a home for deeper, globally-minded engagement with pressing issues and ideas. And with this team, he launched Emerge.

Its first edition saw a glittering enactment of the history of transgender people’s contributions to the culture of Harlem. It saw YouTube phenoms ranging from the android-like pop star Poppy to the liberated raunchy, sex positive rapper Cupcakke, alongside performers like redneck, terrorist drag queen Christeene and Dylan Marron, creator of the podcast “Conversations with People Who Hate Me.” A highlight of the festival was The Fairytale Ball, which celebrated the history of voguing, runway walking, and waacking, while dropping historic facts and demonstrating their impact on mainstream pop culture.

Instead of scattering attention, the festival focuses it. Instead of many shallow brushes with thousands of performers, Emerge offers a chance to go deep, to really listen.

This year, the need for inspiring beauty, cogent discussion, and meaningful action feels more urgent than ever. The myriad emerging challenges call for a chorus of new voices, and Emerge is giving them a platform to support their impact. “We want everyone involved to feel they have this uplifting, exciting opportunity to come together for a better world,” says Choudhry. “We can make things better, create a more hopeful world, not through pessimistic annoyance, but with artistic integrity. We want to leap from this moment in time, and work to really create sustainability.”

 

 

 

 

Event
05/31/2019

03/04/2019, Social Impact + Musical Edge: Emerge Unveils Full Lineup of Artists & Activists for Flagship Event
03/04/201903/04/2019, Social Impact + Musical Edge: Emerge Unveils Full Lineup of Artists & Activists for Flagship Event
Announcement
03/04/2019
Announcement
03/04/2019
Emerge (May 31-June 1, 2019) insists that festivals should have all the raw energy of protests, and that social change can spark emerging creative voices. The release of 2019's full lineup of activist musicians and social action leaders reflects a diversity of themes, genres and voices! MORE» More»

Emerge (May 31-June 1, 2019) insists that festivals should have all the raw energy of protests, and that social change can spark emerging creative voices. “We’re setting up a hub for creative energy to engage some of the most wrenching, challenging questions right now,” says festival founder Rehan Choudhry.

The creative energy will be palpable at the festival’s second edition, as its first round of confirmed artists and speakers proves. Headliners will include artists Andrew Bird, Big Freedia, Talib Kweli, JID, Bedouine, Leikli47, Culture Abuse, Doja Cat, Hobo Johnson, J.I.D., Laura Jane Grace, Marian Hill, Nahko & Medicine for the People, Tasha, Yoke Lore, and The Ladies of LCD Soundsystem; and activist David Hogg (March for Our Lives), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), Jonathan and Paula Williams, Jose Antonio Vargas, Miki & Radha Agrawal, and AlecWithPen (see full lineup below).

If this lineup departs from those of other major festivals, there’s a reason: Emerge aims to create a radically different experience. The festival unites calls to action, insightful discussion, and engaging artists, both established and emerging, to grapple with topics vital to our times. This year’s themes include Protest, Self, Brave, and Sex.

“I like to imagine it like a fantasy dinner party, where your most admired thinkers and activists from the past and present get together and talk art and the way things could change for the better,” says Choudhry, who launched the Las Vegas event after years of creating groundbreaking festivals like Life is Beautiful.

For two high-intensity days, the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas will be transformed into a platform for emerging voices and creative connection. The festival will make full use of a wide range of spaces on site, but with a focused schedule that encourages festival goers to dig deep and get engaged.

It kicks off Friday night with HopeXHuman, a celebration that merges the best of human endeavors: exquisite cocktails, artist showcases, and meaningful social change work. The party will provide a fun dive into the festival ethos, as sensual delight and progressive creativity collide. Four banner showcases will explore the four themes and weave speakers, poets, artists, and performers into four-hour immersive experiences. Shorter studio sessions curated by collectives like Vegas’ post-punk art instigators Depressed Monsters will provide a more intimate environment for savoring provocative thought and art. There will be intriguing opportunities to meet like-minded creative thinkers and doers at several carefully crafted Collides, networking events designed to increase the connection and reduce the cringe.


Emerge Showcases:

PROTEST (Friday night)

Marching in the streets is one of the oldest forms of speaking truth to power, but what does it mean in our increasingly connected, yet fractured world? What other forms, media, and modes of expression will define the protests of the future? How do we move the needle to bring change, equity, and happiness FOR ALL via political means?

During PROTEST, we will celebrate the pivotal protests throughout history while exploring what the future of protest movements will look like in a world that is both highly connected and incredibly divided. Topics will include telling your own community’s story; the effects of police militarization; new forms of protest in a digital age; fighting for tangible policy change in women’s rights, lgbtq rights, and gun reform that leads to less violence.


SELF (Saturday morning)

Mental health and a beautiful life start with you, yet it’s a struggle in the age of the face-tuned selfie. No more filters: let’s talk about seeing who really you are and coming to love yourself, inside and out.

From body positivity to mental health, and everything in between, we will explore how identity is shaped and transformed, how it evolves over time, playing an integral role in being your best self. Topics include body perception; self-care; ego and compassion; giving/charity; addiction; identity; social media dependency, holistic wellness.


BRAVE (Saturday afternoon)

Fear is universal. We’ve all felt it, but some confront it on a daily basis. Meet a series of speakers who’ve grappled with fear and found courage in the face of violence, harassment, ignorance and intimidation.

To turn our fears into strengths, we need to confront more than what scares us as individuals, but what threatens safety in our community.

We will dive into the sources of fear and celebrate those who have overcome their own traumas and achieved their own triumphs. Topics include overcoming fear and finding bravery; first-person stories of coping with or combating fear and violence; the current state and future of our union; and how holding  onto fear can either keep us stuck or save us from ourselves.


SEX (Saturday night)

Sex has never been more accessible than it is right now. It’s on your phone. It’s on the street. It’s questioning monogamy and exploring new tangles of relationships and bodies. At this VERY NSFW panel, it’s all on the table: sex positivity, consent, sexual health, kink, and dating in the age of Bumble.

This showcase will be a forum for discussions around consent and relationships, and also a celebration of the diversity of circumstances, gender non-binariness, and sexual positivity.

Topics include sex positivity, consent, sexual health, dating, gender as a social construct, polyamory, and love in the app era.


Emerge full lineup:

AlecWithPen

Comedian, Cartoonist

Mental Illness

Ana Tijoux

Musician

Protest

Andrew Bird

Musician

 

Bedouine

Musician

 

Big Freedia

Musician

Hip-hop

Bishop Briggs

Musician

 

Cherry Glazerr

Musician

 

Culture Abuse

Musician

 

David Hogg

Speaker

Gun reform

Dessa

Musician

 

Doja Cat

Musician

       

Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers

Musician

Mental Illness

JID

Musician

Hip-hop

Jonathan and Paula Williams

Speakers

 

Jose Antonio Vargas

Journalist/Author

Immigration

Junglepussy

Musician

 

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Musician

 

Ladies of LCD Soundsystem

DJ

 

Laura Jane Grace

Musician

Punk, Trans

Le1f

Musician

Sex

Leikeli47

Musician

Hip-hop

Marian Hill

Musician

       

Nahko

Musician

 

Patrisse Cullors

Speaker

Minority rights

Swsh

Musician

 

Talib Kweli

Musician

 

Tank and The Bangas

Musician

 

Tasha

Musician

 

Tayla Parx

Musician

 

Yoke Lore

Musician


 

Announcement
03/04/2019