Made From Scratch Music Festival is the indie hip-hop platform the Charlotte area needs

 By Jose Mujica

June 18, 2018

“I don’t like when people just talk about what they accomplished and don’t give the people something useful,” Demarco Matthews explained while he contemplated the idea of discussion panels at his upcoming fest, Made From Scratch on July 14. “Gems aren’t gems unless you can apply them and see results.”

Matthews is well acquainted with results as far as throwing parties go. The former owner of The Showroom Gallery lists the diversity of events the now-defunct event space previously hosted in Uptown Charlotte: pop-up shops, movie screenings, panels, and live shows among others. Trendy art parties incorporating live painting, art and music which have become popular in recent years. The Showroom Gallery did them before most. Pride is evident when he reminisces on the aptly named party “College” he threw during his tenure at Winston-Salem State University, which he ran for two years and garnered attendance in the thousands. Now Matthews is setting his sights higher, planning the first youth-oriented hip hop music festival in the Charlotte area without any major corporate backing or sponsors. Made from Scratch references the creative process he went through. It began with only a initial festival concept and has culminated in a fully produced reality, but it also serves as a slogan for the self-made entrepreneur.

Demarco Matthews, founder of Made From Scratch Festival. Photo: @dave_haswingz

Born in Memphis, TN and raised in the small military town of Jacksonville, NC, Matthews remembers the all too familiar boredom he experienced as a youth in rural North Carolina. It is perhaps due to being deprived of such debauchery in his youth that Matthews decided to compensate for time lost when choosing which college to go to. Determined to attend an HBCU, Matthews was accepted into Winston-Salem State University and decided upon it once being made aware of the girls-to-guys ratio on campus. It wasn’t long until he found his true calling: planning and promoting wild parties. It was in these formative years that Matthews picked up invaluable experience organizing such festivities and developed a deep appreciation for well-coordinated event planning that would serve him in the years to come.

Graduating in 2011, Matthews was among the typical tide of recent grads trying to find their purpose in life. Looking for a full-time job “wasn’t on my list of things to do at all,” Matthews chuckled. A committed and struggling creative determined to develop and make a living off his skills in photography and videography, he made the ambitious move to Long Beach, California in hopes of gaining practice and making contacts in the emerging cultural media space. A few months of making and breaking deals with notable streetwear designers and emerging rappers taught Matthews an important lesson. The scene in LA was overcrowded with clout chasers and stiff creative competition. He returned to North Carolina with new ideas and a new perspective. Why not build a regional platform and bring the “culture” to our own backyard. In many ways, the defining concept of Made From Scratch was birthed at this time.

Yachty at 1AM Vibes in Atlanta. Courtesy of The Showroom Gallery

Back in Tarheel territory, Matthews began planning events and parties once again and opened The Showroom Gallery in 2015. After an onslaught of successful and well-received events hosted frequently throughout that year, the venue closed due to high overhead costs. It’s expensive to maintain an event space in Uptown Charlotte, even with many intriguing happenings. Matthews wanted to throw parties, not deal with all the operational headaches in between them. He took his show on the road and began planning events in different venues throughout the Southeast region among them ‘1AM Vibes w/YesJulz,’ a traveling party that he helped produce in Atlanta with rappers such as Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert in attendance before their stars had global reach. It was at this point the idea of a festival really began to occupy his mind and he wanted to focus on fewer, but bigger celebrations.

Music fests have been trending for well over a decade now and seem to grow in popularity every passing year. Thousands of young adults plan their vacations around attending these grand events. Yet despite the increase in popularity and corporate funding, Charlotte has lagged behind. Matthews noticed that the major music events in Charlotte such as the Jazz Fest were catered towards an older crowd. Not one seemed to appeal to the under-30 demographic. Matthews set out to do just that.

After compiling a list of 60 artists, Made From Scratch organizers took to the internet and allowed fans to have input in picking the lineup. Fans got to vote on which artists they’d like to see at the inaugural fest. After selecting the most popular artists who were within budget, Made From Scratch’s lineup was set, featuring rappers with cult followings such as New Orlean’s Curren$y and Broward County’s Robb Banks. It also includes local up-and-coming acts such as Charlotte’s 10Cellphones, Cyanca, and Buzz City mainstay, Elevator Jay. Matthews also reassured us that some very special guests would be brought out as treats to fest-goers.

Matthew’s excitement about what this could mean to Charlotte is clear. “It’s the first year. We want to blow it up so we can go even bigger. We want to bring the experience closer to home.”  I, along with many other hopeful Charlotteans, eagerly await the results.

Made from Scratch Music & Arts Festival
Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m.
Route 29 Pavilion
5650 Sandusky Blvd
Concord, NC 28027

Tickets: $39 plus

Lineup: Curren$y, Robb Banks, Elhae, Reese Laflare, Sir Michael Rocks (The Cool Kids), Elevator Jay, Cyanca, Austin Royale, Diamond Miller, Trent the Hooligan, Zensofly, and more.

Learn more about Made From Scratch Festival and follow them on Instagram and Facebook. Want to be a vendor at the event

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