From Bonnaroo to Hopscotch to small homegrown gatherings like Charlotte’s own Recess Fest and God Save the Queen City, festivals of all shapes and sizes have grown in popularity.
On Saturday, Charlotte-based blog, marketing and entertainment company CLTure throws its latest event, CLTure Fest, at Chop Shop in NoDa. It features three stages and two buzzed-about national headliners: Man Man from Philadelphia and Utah’s Desert Noises.
Like most of CLTure’s events, CLTure Fest doesn’t rely solely on music. Saturday’s show also features food trucks, local vendors, art, vintage video games and raffles for passes to larger Southeastern festivals, with proceeds benefiting the Isabella Santos Foundation for children’s cancer research.
The event may seem like a lot rolled into one, but that’s how CLTure founder Cameron Lee thinks. Covering so much ground sometimes makes it difficult to explain just what his company does.
“It was always supposed to be a marketing company, entertainment and culture blog. That concept is hard for people to grasp. I get overwhelmed with people asking me what I’m trying to do and what my goals are,” says Lee, whose grassroots company has done video work for Bonnaroo and Floydfest, promoted and booked local events like Brews Fest and DrumStrong, and has a stable of photographers and writers covering music, food and art.
“What I envisioned it being, it’s become that,” he says.
Earlier this month, his 3-year-old company was able to go behind the scenes to cover Bonnaroo.
“A little old company that I started a few years ago, to be in that situation? It’s incredible,” he says. “I hope I’m able to take those resources and help take the Charlotte music scene to the next level.”
Lee left his job in the financial sector to found CLTure and had little experience in the music business, but local musicians who work with him appreciate his desire to better the city’s cultural landscape.
“There are not a lot of people taking on the task of covering a wide range of genres of music,” says Shane Coble, aka Rapper Shane (formerly Stranger Day), who performs Saturday. “I take my hat off for the efforts of what they do for the city. If there were five groups of people doing what they’re doing, this city would have a lot of cool things happening.”
“Cam’s one of the few people who are doing it solely to just make cool things happen in Charlotte,” says Phil Pucci (Melt, Serfs), a musician, writer and former CLTure editor who puts on the bi-annual Reverb Fest.
In addition to the headliners, Saturday’s CLTure Fest features a full slate of indie rock and hip-hop artists from across the Carolinas, including: Asheville’s RBTS Wins and the Tills, the Triangle’s TOW3RS and the Love Language, Charleston’s Susto, and Charlotte acts Pullman Strike, Late Bloomer, Rapper Shane, Stereoloud, Elevator Jay, Serfs, Modern Primitives, Miami Dice and DJ AHUF.
“Most people in Charlotte may only know one or two people on the lineup,” Lee says, “but for us it’s kind of a regional all-star lineup.”