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Representative recreation promised at Bloomington's On the One festival

On the One Festival highlights Minnesota's top urban entertainment artists featuring R&B, Neo-Soul, Afrobeat, Hip Hop and spoken word performances.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Friday and Aug. 12, Normandale Lake Bandshell in Bloomington will host the On The One festival, a first-of-its kind concert series featuring Minnesota's top urban entertainment artists.

On the One producer and director Chadwick Niles Phillips said the festival started out as an open mic, long ago.

"We put it on September 2019, it became wildly successful," Phillips said, explaining that they would host these sessions at Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. "It was like negative three degrees in the winter and it was still packed. And it featured some of the best local talent and up and comers, and people wanted to express themselves. Then COVID hit March of 2020, as we all know so we had to stop it."

However, when opportunity came knocking again from the city of Bloomington, Phillips thought, "why not a festival instead?"

"It is happening in Bloomington because I have a partnership with the city of Bloomington regarding diversity and inclusion, bringing arts and music to the scene, to the forefront, to bring everyone together," Phillips said. "All throughout history, that's always been a way to show our commonalities and to bring our culture together."

Faith Jackson-Ogunyemi, the city's Chief Equity Inclusion Officer said there are many ways a city can put in equity work. It could be through its hiring, its access and/or infrastructure. However, she said thinking about representative recreation is important as well.

"Offering art and culture that represents the identity of the people there as an example of our commitment to doing things differently," Jackson-Ogunyemi said. "And that has a really lasting impact on community members that we serve."

She added that this is just simply in response to the changing demands of a growing city.

"In 1970, only one percent of people who lived in the city of Bloomington identified as something other than white," Jackson-Ogunyemi said. "And today that number is 32 percent. So we're growing, and we're becoming a more racially diverse city. and so with that, the city has changed its programming over time."

Phillips noted, "It's important to offer diversity because we're all sharing this planet together. You have different cultures, different ideologies, different philosophies, different generations, but we're all here, we wake up and go to sleep on the same Earth. So why not bring the commonalities to the forefront and show a positive, optimistic way of coexisting with each other?"

"We're hearing people saying, 'I see myself in Bloomington, I feel safe, I feel included,' and they're happy about it so that feels really good," Jackson-Ogunyemi said.

The concert will be at Normandale Lake Bandshell from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday August 5, as well as August 12. It is free and open to all.

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