The Carrboro music venue is hosting OMG Music Fest, a youth music tour featuring young pop, rap, R&B and soft rock artists aged 14 to 20 years old.
Tour host and director Lisa McQueen has been promoting youth talent since 2012 with her web series “Playtime” and an episode featuring her nephew Austin Mahone grabbed the attention of entertainment executives. She continues to promote youth YouTube sensations, including some of the young artists of OMG Music Fest.
“I was able to meet quite a few (young musicians) that were very talented and just hadn’t had the right break,” McQueen said.
“So what I did is I decided, ‘Why don’t I just go ahead and host my own show and give them the opportunity to showcase their talents? And maybe they might get that platform to get them their break.’”
McQueen said the young musicians have performed 30 shows in 35 days and are arriving to Carrboro from stops in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.
Performers will include Jacob Whitesides, Reed Deming, Round2Crew, Alyssa Shouse, Grant Landis and Tyler Matl.
Matl, a 19-year-old pop singer, said he enjoys performing on the tour.
“We have a variety of different artists who are going up there and performing,” he said. “It’s super high energy and the crowd absolutely loves it.”
McQueen said the shows in the tour engage fans — usually between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. She said OMG chose Cat’s Cradle as a venue for its centralized location in an area with teens and tweens.
Whitesides, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter from Knoxville, Tenn., is a headliner in the show.
“Sometimes I can’t even hear over them, but the energy I get off the crowd is so amazing,” he said.
“It’s just like a big party between the fans and all the artists on the OMG tour. The energy is so incredible, and everyone always leaves happy.”
McQueen said while these musicians are young, they aren’t new to the business and have been cultivating their craft and their fan bases for years.
Whitesides has more than 970,000 Twitter followers and Matl is nearing 70,000. Deming has also placed in the Top 24 contestants on the TV show “The X Factor. ”
OMG places an emphasis on its artists connecting with fans through a meet-and-greet before the show and VIP ticket options that allow fans to hang out and eat pizza with the artists.
Similar to Willy Wonka, there are also randomized golden concert tickets sold for the tour. Ten fans who purchase a golden ticket are able to go backstage after the show and talk to the musicians for 30 minutes.
“These guys and girls are their idols,” McQueen said. “It’s definitely very surreal for them. They don’t ever think they will be in the same room with them, much less hang out with them.”