Live music took a tremendous hit last year. Venues like the still-shuttered Bunkhouse Saloon serve as a painful reminder of that. But as many spaces remained closed over the summer, open-air concert series DTLV Field Trip joined the fight in bringing live music back to the eastern end of Fremont Street.
DTLV Field Trip hit the ground running in May, with a stacked lineup of local talent that included The Lique, B. Rose, LinaDrae, Papichuloteej and DJ Wizdumb. The inaugural show, presented by Fergusons Downtown and local Instagram account @DTLV, drew more than 600 attendees, and the turnout has only improved since.
Zoneil Maharaj, @DTLV editor and Field Trip producer, began developing the concept of Field Trip back in January with Fergusons. (Disclosure: Maharaj has written freelance pieces for Las Vegas Weekly in the past.) “We wanted to be able to bring live music back Downtown in some capacity,” he says. “I wanted to do it in the vein of things that I enjoyed—hip-hop and R&B. Nothing too ratchet, nothing too hood, nothing too hardcore-EDM, just very vibey. Fun, laid back, shake your ass a little bit, nod your head, come out to Fergusons.”
Maharaj curates the local talent for the Field Trip shows, leveraging his years of experience writing about hip-hop and the relationships he has fostered along the way. The concert series has opened doors for several upcoming musicians. Rapper and pop artist Papichuloteej was tapped for Life Is Beautiful after Maharaj invited an executive from the festival to the inaugural show. For some artists, Field Trip marks their first paid gig, the producer says.
Local singer and “Gumbo” rapper Tanna Marie took the stage in June, and she says Field Trip “made me realize my worth.” Since then, she says, she has become more selective about her bookings, because she realized what she can accomplish as a performer. “I really took it in, and it was different,” she says. “I feel like it was the start of something very different for me.”
People who’d never heard of Marie before stopped her after the show, singing her praises. Others slid into her DMs, she says, eager to work on projects with her. “It was a huge validation,” she says.
And Field Trip is still expanding. On top of the local shows, the series has hosted partnered events with music collectives like We the Beat, selling 700-plus tickets, and bolstered the return of DJ Crykit’s Playhouse fashion party. Erica Bell, Fergusons’ lead event manager, says the space was made for these situations.
“Jen Taler, our creative director, visualized Fergusons’ yard specifically to try to own the daytime, especially in the fall when it’s cooler, but to also build a really cool amphitheater vibe,” she says. “For me personally, it’s very Palm Springs, really California. It’s this little oasis that people don’t know about.”
But they’re quickly discovering more of what the renovated motel space has to offer. An evening at Field Trip isn’t just about the music. Attendees can grab specialty dishes at the neighboring Vegas Test Kitchen and recently opened restaurant Peyote or enjoy an icy treat at Paradise City Creamery. It’s a block party, and you can make a night of it.
The series returns September 24 with a ’90s-inspired lineup, including jazzy five-piece The Lique, rapper Hassan Hamilton—who will perform a Notorious B.I.G. tribute set—and singer Ami Divine, who will honor the iconic Aaliyah during her performance.
DTLV Field Trip featuring The Lique, Hassan Hamilton, Ami Divine, DJ Mr. Vibe. September 24, 8 p.m., 18+, free if on guest list at dtlvfieldtrip.com, 1028 Fremont St.
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