One question has been on the mind of lots of people online: is this real? Is an A-list music festival really coming to Little Rock?
“It is real, it is happening,” said Cliff Aaron. “It’s a real deal. It’s a huge deal. It’s a big deal for central Arkansas, and we’re glad to do it.”
Aaron is part of a group of musicians, producers, and promoters called Infinity Music Group that is planning The Fulcrum, a one-day music festival slated for March 17, 2018.
“This has been in the works since January. And even at that point, we didn’t even know Riverfest was being shut down,” Aaron said.
Riverfest organizers announced that the 2017 edition, its 40th, would be its last. Its leadership said at the time they could not afford to bring in popular-enough acts to maintain ticket sales. Aaron believes The Fulcrum will succeed in part because it will offer fewer things for fewer audiences.
“You have to have a target audience, and we have that,” he said. “It’s 18-and-up, period. This is not an all-inclusive, big family deal.”
The list of possible performers includes Kelly Clarkson, Migos, The Roots, Solange, Joe Jonas and more. Aaron said Wednesday he has spoken with their management, and that all are able to perform that day and within the group’s budget. But Infinity Music Group is leaving it up to fans to vote on Facebook for the acts they want most to see.
“For the first time, we want it to be totally transparent and totally open to the fans,” Aaron stated, “and say, OK, let’s let you pick. Who do you want?
“We purposely went after artists that usually don’t come here. You know what I’m saying? You’ll see them at major festivals in New York and LA, but you don’t see them here.”
Facebook users began sharing posts about the festival this week. Many doubted, in the wake of Riverfest’s demise, that a new, larger festival would actually be in the works, especially from a group that has no experience with an event this size.
“But when people say, ‘this can’t be real.’ ‘Girl, this ain’t real.’ You know, ‘there ain’t no way.’ It saddens all of us in the production, because we’re like, oh my god, they actually don’t think that their worth us bringing them there. They don’t actually think that Little Rock, or them as a fan or patron, is good enough for this kind of show.”
A handful of students at UA-Little Rock told THV11 that they would be excited if The Fulcrum happened as planned.
“I feel like having a different concert here, having different people come in, would kind of fill the void that Riverfest left behind,” said Michelle Burton. “There would just be so many people there, so much going on, and you would get to see these awesome people. Like, I remember Lupe Fiasco coming in, and the crowd getting so huge that I had to, like, stand way off on the edge just to even hear the music.”
Ra’Phael Davis never attended Riverfest, but said he has gone to music festivals in the past, and thinks it could be a large draw for Little Rock. “I mean, just the fact that you get to go to it with your friends,” he explained. “And I mean, it’s something to kind of take your mind off of everything else that’s going on. Particularly being in school, it’s a good, fun time.”
As of Wednesday, Kelly Clarkson and The Roots were the leading vote-getters in the online voting to be the festival’s headliners. Aaron said he expected to make an announcement by Dec. 1.
“After that, we’re still gonna be adding more huge acts,” he promised. “You know, huge acts that were probably headlines at any other festival in Little Rock.”
Aaron said his experience as a musician and promoter, and the experience of the other members of Infinity Music Group, give them connections that allow them to pull in some of the music industry’s biggest names.
“I’ll bring the tops of the tops,” he claimed. “And right now, honestly, there’s not one artist in this world; you can’t name not one artist in this world that we can’t get.”
Aaron said he is in final discussions with the venue, so he could not divulge where the festival would take place, though he said it would be big enough to accommodate 60,000 fans.
He expects to begin selling tickets by the end of the month. He claimed that demand had far exceeded his expectations, so Infinity music Group may offer a pre-sale at a discount for fans who have expressed interest before even knowing the lineup.
Aaron said he has two goals for the festival. First, he wants it to be a good enough event to sustain itself for years to come. He added that profits would be poured into a new project called Infinity Music Academy, which would include classroom and recording space to help Arkansas musicians and producers develop without having to leave the state.