Fashawn, Fresno's top rap talent, is back in town Saturday night and doing something different -- taking the helm of Grizzly Fest, a first-year festival at the Fresno Fairgrounds.
Organized by Fashawn and his management, the festival features both national and local hip-hop acts -- 15 total -- plus skateboarding demos, games, food and giveaways.
It's been a busy last few months for the young rapper, who released an album with underground rap hero (and Grizzly Fest performer) Murs in September. Fashawn is also releasing a new project, "Champagne and Styrofoam Cups," next week.
We chatted with him about what Fresno can expect from Grizzly Fest.
Question: How long have you wanted to do something like Grizzly Fest?
Answer: For a few years now. I always wanted to throw a festival that involved all the elements that help shape me, from skateboarding to hip-hop. The name actually didn't come until earlier this year. I have to give credit to Hecktik (his manager) for that. This dream of mine wouldn't of turned into reality with his contributions.
What does the ability to have something like Grizzly Fest say about Fresno's hip-hop scene?
It says that we aren't confined to just having the traditional music festival. This is me paying homage to the festivals I grew up going to like Street Rock and Urban Combat. I feel like the hip-hop scene in Fresno hasn't seen anything like that in awhile. This is a perfect opportunity for us as a city to give that energy back to the next generation.
You purposely don't perform in Fresno all the time, as to not over-saturate yourself. But how good does it feel when you do?
I am always humbled when I come back to my hometown to perform. To see the audience grow larger year after year blows my mind. For years Fresno has been the muse for my art and every second I am there I am reminded why I wrote these songs in the first place.
What do you see as the possible future for the festival? Could it be like a mini-Rock the Bells in Fresno?
Anything is possible. Hopefully this is just the first of many Grizzly Fests for years to come.
-- Fun fact: Tim Flannery, the third-base coach for the San Francisco Giants, is also a musician. He's playing a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at The Sportsmen's Club, 10645 N. Lanes Road. It's a fundraiser for Community Food Bank and scholarships for a local association of Realtors. Tickets: $50. Details: (559) 490-6400.
-- Friday night's Newzapalooza concert is a fundraiser for the Community Alliance newspaper and radio station KFCF (FM 88.1). It features Agustin Lira, Patricia Wells Solórzano and Jemmy Bluestein performing at Unitarian Universalist Church, 2672 E. Alluvial Ave., Clovis. 7 p.m. $10-$25.
-- In Visalia, U2 tribute band The Joshua Tree plays Friday night at The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St. 9:30 p.m. $10.
Grizzly Fest featuring Fashawn, Murs, Strong Arm Steady, Omar Aura, L ! Z, Zee Will and more, 6 p.m. Saturday at Fresno Fairgrounds. All ages. Tickets: $22. Details: livemusiccity.com
Read an extended version of this Q&A with Fashawn at fresnobeehive.com
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, email@example.com
or @mikeoz on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.