The Masterminds Behind Trillectro: Why Last Year’s Festival Is Just The Beginning
Modele Oyewole, known as Modi, reminds me a bit of the early legends of Sean “Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy” Combs. You can hear his drive, his hustle, his ambition whenever he talks about a project he’s working on. And after seeing all Oyewole has done with DC to BC, his blog that’s now grown into a stellar team of promoters and trendsetters, he would be remiss not to brag. The five-man team that makes up DC to BC—Oyewole, Quinn Coleman, Marcel Marshall, Jason Mowatt, and Erick McNair—has spent years hustling and making a name both within and beyond the local music scene. Their crowning achievement to date, the Trillectro Music Festival which debuted last summer, will be back for its second year this August.
It all started back when Oyewole and Quinn Coleman were hosting a radio show together at Boston College—hence the “BC” in DC to BC. Oyewole and Coleman actually knew each other in D.C., prior to attending Boston College, but made a connection on campus over their shared musical backgrounds—Oyewole had interned with Def Jam Records, Coleman with VH1. The freeform college radio station gave the duo the opportunity to play whatever music they wanted to play.
Their show grew in popularity, encouraged by the duo’s early use of emerging social media, Oyewole tells D.C. Music Download, “eventually, it evolved into a legitimate radio show.” That forward-looking online presence was their biggest blessing early on. Oyewole, a self-professed technology nut, connected to influential writers from music magazines and other musicians through Twitter, and those early relationships would help DC to BC get the word out on its blogs and mixtapes down the road.
Later, “when we were dropping exclusives [on DC to BC], we’d use Twitter along with Facebook to get the word out,” Oyewole says, which grew into a larger fan base and greatly expanded the team’s reach.
With their popularity on the rise, DC to BC decided to take things a big step further and bring a new and unique music festival to D.C..
Having experienced Coachella, Oyewole recalls feeling that the East Coast, particularly D.C., needed something similar. “I went on a Twitter rant about how we wanted to change the city,” Oyewole recalls, adding that he wanted a festival that was representative of the sort of music they enjoyed—hip hop and EDM.
While DC to BC hadn’t formally done a festival of that magnitude before, they were not going to let that stand in their way. “We thought, we know how to put an event together, kind of. Let’s do a festival!”
What’s also impressive is that DC to BC used Twitter, and only Twitter, to let people know about Trillectro; “We didn’t have a press release, we didn’t send emails to the press.” That’s where being connected to all those influential people on Twitter came in handy; garnering buzz from Complex Magazine, with further press from Huffington Post and the Washington Post. “All we had to do was tweet and those tweets became stories.”
And so, by way of social media and word of mouth, Trillectro began to gain traction with fans and artists alike. “All that was involved was visualizing it and explaining our vision to the people,” Oyewole muses, adding that further connections, whether through personal ties or management, enabled them to secure the artists and really bring the festival together.
That inaugural festival, which featured artists like Schoolboy Q, Oddisee, and was headlined by Flosstradamus with hip hop legend Doug E Fresh making an appearance, was hugely successful, getting positive reviews from Complex and other publications. Oyewole and the crew took away a lot from the festival and that helped shape their current plans for the second go-around this summer.
This year’s festival will expand the roster to include more electronica acts—Gent & Jawns, Nadastrom, and Ghost Beach to name a few. The festival will also serve as a launch pad for new and up-and-coming acts; as Coleman explains, a band’s level of buzz was one of the factors in picking this year’s lineup. The end goal: to expand the breadth and scope of the festival’s creative focus.
The work DC to BC does is, it goes without saying, for the love of music. But it’s also for the love of the city it calls home. “We definitely understand that we—D.C.—are often overlooked,” Oyewole says. “The reason that those shows are here is because a lot of the artists miss D.C.. But we have this platform and that platform that we have will give the artist more visibility.” Trillectro and DC to BC are not only about bumping popular artists, but really making them grow. “Our goal is to really put this place on the map. D.C. is a place with a lot of culture, a lot of open-minded people, and our goal is to bring them together.”
Trillectro will happen on August 17th at the Half Street Fairgrounds [1299 Half Street SE, Washington, DC.]. Pre-sale tickets start at $35.