Janelle Monáe, Gary Clark Jr. announced for new Black music festival in Indy

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Janelle Monae
Janelle Monáe is scheduled to headline the first I Made Rock ’n’ Roll festival May 18 at American Legion Mall. (Photo provided by Atlantic Records)

Janelle Monáe, an album of the year nominee at the upcoming Grammy Awards, will headline the first I Made Rock ’n’ Roll festival in May in downtown Indianapolis.

The single-day Black music festival is intended to honor rock ’n’ roll originators such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I Made Rock ’n’ Roll will celebrate the ongoing legacy of Black performers and promote equity in the genre, organizers said.

Indianapolis-based cultural promotions firm GangGang and concert company Forty5 unveiled on Wednesday a six-act lineup topped by Monáe and four-time Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. I Made Rock ’n’ Roll is scheduled May 18 at downtown’s American Legion Mall.

“We are doing this to celebrate the significance of Black artistry in rock music, a sound with direct ties to the rhythm and blues of Black people,” GangGang co-founder Alan Bacon said in a written statement. “This festival is about the longstanding presence of Black artists and authorship in rock ‘n’ roll as much as it is about racism, cultural appropriation and economic justice.”

GangGang and Forty5 announced their plan to launch the festival in November as part of Parliament Funkadelic show featuring George Clinton at Holliday Park.

A limited number of presale tickets will be available starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The presale code will be shared after potential ticket buyers sign up for the festival’s email newsletter. Tickets, starting at $75, go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Jan. 15. For more information, visit imaderocknroll.com.

The festival lineup:

  • Janelle Monáe: Kansas City native Monáe is in the running for two Grammy Awards when trophies are handed out on Feb. 4. Her 2023 album “The Age of Pleasure” is nominated in the categories of album of the year and best progressive R&B album.
  • Gary Clark Jr.: This native of Austin, Texas, performed his song “This Land,” backed by the Roots, as part of the 2020 Grammys telecast.
  • Robert Randolph Band: Pedal-steel guitarist Robert Randolph was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” published in 2003.
  • Joy Oladokun: This singer-songwriter collaborated with Chris Stapleton and Noah Kahan on her 2023 album “Proof of Life.”
  • Meet Me @ The Altar: This Florida-based pop-punk trio made its Lollapalooza debut in 2022.
  • Inner Peace: This Indianapolis-based hardcore punk band features rapper Drayco McCoy on vocals.

GangGang launched the annual Butter fine art fair in 2021 and was a co-presenter of the Chreece hip-hop festival in 2023. Forty5 operates the Vogue music venue in Broad Ripple and produces the Rock the Ruins concert series in Holliday Park.

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