BLA/ALT is not a second, it’s not better than, it’s also not just another option. It is an inclusion for the black identity. BLA/ALT Festival is a free alternative music arts festival that centers around the work of black and brown artists. The festival was established in October of 2017 in Charlotte, NC as an effort to create equitable space for black artists to thrive and be celebrated in the spectrum of their expression.
Out of the 100+ alternative, punk and indie festivals that are slated between now and the end of the year throughout the United States, less than a handful of them have centered the works of black musicians as headliners. Even fewer are providing a showcase that highlights and celebrates black alternative musicians and bands specifically.
The legacy of black alternative music began as early as Billy Holiday, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, A Band Called Death, and Michael Jackson. Today we celebrate alternative black greats like Tracy Chapman, Black Joe Lewis, Brittany Howard, and Saul Williams. We desire to honor those who laid the foundation by celebrating those who are continuing the legacy right here in the Southeast.