Music, poetry and speakers to be featured at Kemet Music & Arts Festival 2 in Montclair

rostafa kemet

Rostafa organized and will perform at the second Kemet Music and Arts Festival.

Following last year’s Kemet Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City, Kemet Music & Arts Festival 2 will take place at the beer garden at the Montclair Brewery, July 31 from 2 to 8 p.m.

Organizer Rostafa, a singer-songwriter-guitarist who lives in West Orange, describes the event as a Black heritage festival intended to be “a positive influence on the community,” and says it will feature music ranging from rock, funk and R&B to reggae, blues and jazz, as well as poets and speakers.

Proceeds will be used to help fund an album that will be titled Black Is Beautiful and raise money for a black-owned business in need. It will be a business serving the mental health needs of the African American community in New Jersey, said Rostafa, adding that two organizations are currently under consideration.

“Kemet,” he said, “is a word in Egytptian that means black land, or just the term black in general. I heard the word at a rally last year when we were protesting in East Orange and Orange. … Whenever you’re at Kemet, you’re on black ground.”

The second Kemet Music and Arts Festival takes place in Montclair, July 31.

The veteran group Lil’ Bastad, performing for the first time in public since the pandemic began, will be the main headliner.

“They are a combination of musicians that tour with other musicians all around the world,” said Rostafa. “One of the co-founders is a guy by the name of Mark Bowers. He plays for The Manhattans. He also played with Kool & the Gang, Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block and a number of other different acts. He’s an amazing guitar player and also my guitar teacher and mentor.”

Rostafa will co-headline with his own group, Rostafa & Co.

“We’re going to be performing four songs off of the (Black Is Beautiful) album project that pretty much describe the current African-American condition as well as the main human condition that we have in the United States,” Rostafa said.

Other performers will include Bard, Howlin’ Poets, Just Like We Rehearsed It, Lynette Live, Public Warfare and Cazavana.

Food trucks and other local vendors will be on hand.

The rain date is Aug. 1.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Here is a video of Rostafa & Co. performing the song “Black Is Beautiful”:

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