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Inaugural genre-bending festival blends music and activism

Guitarist of the band “Sesame” performing at LFG Fest at Motorco Music Hall on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.

While attending the inaugural LFG Fest at Motorco Music Hall on Aug. 25 and 26, Galaxy Lineberger said she felt like she was in the '90s.

Lineberger bought her tickets for the genre-bending hip-hop, punk and noise microfestival without previously knowing any of the bands in its two-day lineup.

“It’s unlike any punk event I’ve ever been to, or DIY event that I’ve been to,” she said. “So far, I’m really surprised at the diversity of how it sounds. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem modern.”

LFG — which stands for Let’s Fucking Go — was the vision of Renee Jonard, the marketing manager at Motorco Music Hall.

Performer at LFG Fest, “J Waves”, poses outside of Motorco Music Hall on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023 following his performance.

“I just had this vision of what an event mixing dance punk, post-punk and hip-hop could be like,” Jonard said. “I feel like all these artists kind of blend genres and they all have the same kind of independent, DIY spirit to their whole vibe and I just felt like that would work well in a show.”

The festival featured 14 artists and bands — some from the Triangle area, like J Waves, Sesame, Geeked, Jooselord and Bonies, and others from across the United States. A full list of performers can be found on Motorco’s website. 

Jonard said she wanted to bring people together across music communities and across the Triangle.

Chapel Hill rapper Jon Gregory — whose stage name is J Waves — opened the second night of the festival on Aug. 26.

“Festivals — there’s just an excitement in the air, especially when it’s something that you know is lasting more than one day, right?” Gregory said. “Because you don’t have to put everything into one small moment, because there’s going to be so many other moments.”

Gregory said he was excited about the networking at the festival. Throughout the weekend, musical artists mingled with each other and connected with audiences on and off the stage as they watched other acts perform.

Jonard invited local progressive organizations, such as the North Carolina Triangle Democratic Socialists of America,Girls Rock NC and the Carolina Abortion Fund to set up tables and share information with concert-goers. 

Mason McCray was one of the representatives from the N.C. Triangle DSA. They said it was their first time using the music scene to inform people about politics.

“I think it’s generally a space full of very caring people that might not necessarily know how to get plugged into politics,” they said. “So I think that this is a very useful way to provide an avenue in — where someone might look around them and see that stuff’s generally terrible and know what to do.”

A number of artists expressed progressive views on stage, including J Waves and Providence-based duo La Neve, who were founding members of the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers in 2020.

“These artists are progressive artists and in their different ways they are pushing against society’s norms to give voice to folks and to give people something to motivate them,” Jonard said. “These organizations support that underlying vibe of the whole fest.”

Jonard also made it a point to pay artists fairly and provide lodging for those traveling long distances to perform.

Nikhil Rao, a member of Ecstatic International, a Washington, D.C.-based band that performed on the first night, called the festival truly punk.

“This is a true gift — for us to be playing here and they put us up," he said. "We’re in a hotel and they paid us well. They should do this everywhere, every city. We should be doing this in D.C. This is inspiration here.”


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@dthlifestyle |

Emi Maerz

Emi Maerz is a 2023-24 assistant lifestyle editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously covered UNC for the university desk. Emi is a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and media and dramatic art.