The 2×2 hip-hop festival will be happening the weekend July 22 Sat. in Columbus Ohio. It will be the 3rd edition this year and will feature groups such as: Cannibal Ox, Wordsworth, Clear Soul Forces and Mad Squablz. We caught up with one of the festival’s co-founders and organizers, Josh Miller of Matchbox LTD, to tell us about his role and what goers can expect..
Q. MRCPROMO: Peace Josh, tell me about yourself? How did this event start out?
A. JOSHMILLER: Peace my man. Thanks for the opportunity to chat. 2×2 (pronounced 2 by 2) came to life after I started organizing a monthly hip-hop night here in Columbus with my dude David Wade. David and I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of steady hip-hop going on around town so we booked our first night in January of 2014. Shortly after that, I realized that Columbus had a lot of festivals going on throughout the year, but none of them were supporting the hip-hop scene. That gap in support along with the years that had passed since the legendary Scribble Jam had taken place in Cincinnati, led me to the idea that we should organize a hip-hop festival.
David got married and shifted his focus the following year and moved back to PA and I was on the hunt for a crew to help organize a hip-hop festival. After meeting a couple guys that were into graffiti and bboying, I hit them up and let them know what I was working on and we joined forces. Fast forward to now and we’re in our 3rd year of the festival, we brought on my wife and another member of the crew to help organize and we are growing and looking to the future for what’s to come.
2×2 Hip-Hop Festival 2017 Promo Video No. 01
Q. MRCPROMO: What is the main aim of the hip-hop festival?
A. JOSHMILLER: 2x2Fest is really just a place where every element of the culture is alive and well. The name is simple, 2×2 equals 4 and there’s 4 main elements to hip-hop so that’s what it’s all about. It’s to show the city of Columbus that hip-hop can be positive and is loved by people of all walks of life and all shapes and sizes. We also focus on attracting people from all over the country to come to our city and see what we’re all about when it comes to this hip-hop thing that we all love.
Q. MRCPROMO: What’s different about this years festival than the others?
A. JOSHMILLER: This year we are really pushing to get bigger acts and take the festival to the next level. When it comes to booking, whether it’s booking our performers for the stage, our judges for the bboy battles, or our graffiti writers hitting the walls up with paint, we always want a good mix of Ohio and out of town cats at 2x2Fest. So we’ve locked in Cannibal Ox thanks to one of our sponsors and local hip-hop brands, Every Body Else’s Ent., and our dude Columbus Rick helped a lot with booking the legendary Wordsworth. So pushing to get those bigger out of town emcees has been a huge step for us since we try to keep admission fees low and are still super young.
Q. MRCPROMO: Tips for those attending the very first time?
A. JOSHMILLER: Don’t just come to see the people you know on the flyer. Get there early for better parking and stay for the day. There’s so much going on all at once that it’s hard to take in at times, but there’s something dope happening around every corner.
2×2 Hip-Hop Festival 2017 Promo Video No. 02
Q. MRCPROMO: Can anyone get booked at your events? How?
A. JOSHMILLER: Yeah. Everybody’s encouraged to submit. This year, we had over 200 submissions for the festival and that was just music performers. We’ll be opening up submissions probably in January for next year’s festival so you can sign-up for our mailing list at www.2x2Fest.com and get updates on when that happens. We also have freestyle battles, cypher videos, and the cypher tent where anybody is open to get in on.
Q. MRCPROMO: Can I rent vending space to sell my merch? Will there be others vendors in attendance?
A. JOSHMILLER: Vendors are big for us. Plenty of brands from around the Midwest and beyond set-up shop at the festival and connect with hip-hop heads from around the area. For vending, just drop an email to vending@2x2Fest.com and we can chat.
Q. MRCPROMO: Is there a social media account you can follow for updates?
A. JOSHMILLER: We’re on Facebook and Instagram @2x2HipHopFest
2×2 Hip-Hop Festival 2016 Recap Video
Q. MRCPROMO: In 5 years time where do you see the Festival?
A. JOSHMILLER: In 5 years, I see 2×2 getting to that next level when it comes to our attendance. I see us in a larger space and I see us booking more dope hip-hop. What we stand for and what we represent is everything that I’d ever want to put into 2x2Fest and that’ll never change. I just want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep it growing and bringing in more people from around the country.
Q. MRCPROMO: What is the most challenging part of the event for you?
A. JOSHMILLER: There’s so much to do and so little time. Planning a monthly hip-hop event or any event that’s just a few people on stage and at a music venue is so much easier than an outdoor festival. At a music venue there’s already a stage, a sound system, a sound engineer, there’s even BATHROOMS already there. 2x2Fest happens at a motorcycle junkyard and there’s nothing there except for a bunch of bikes, a couple gates, and a road. So it’s sweet to be able to have that blank canvas to create whatever you want on, but there’s a lot that goes into it. Time management and keeping the team on track is a big challenge for all of it.
Q. MRCPROMO: What is the most rewarding part of the event for you?
A. JOSHMILLER: Hearing people after the festival in previous years come up to me and say “Man, this was the best festival I’ve ever been to” or “It’s an incredible experience at 2x2Fest” feels amazing. Lately, we’ve been handing out flyers to people at other shows and festivals and we’ve got people like “oh yeah, I’ve heard of this” and that’s a good feeling knowing that word is getting around and that we are growing. Being able to provide a platform for good hip-hop and to bring people out to enjoy it is a great feeling.
2×2 Hip-Hop Festival Cypher Video 2015
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ARTICLE: MRC Promotions
EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: 2×2 Hip-Hop Festival