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The Art of Cool Festival Acquired By The DOME Group; Announces 2018 Dates, Lineup


Durham, NC – Durham-based 501-3 (c) The Art of Cool Project, has approved the acquisition of The Art of Cool Festival by The DOME Group, LLC. The music festival, now in its fifth year, will shift from operating under the non-profit organization, to being owned and managed as a subsidiary of The DOME Group LLC.

AOCFEST Co-founder Cicely Mitchell (Photo: Mel Brown)

Festival performers for this year include Nas, Erykah Badu, Damien Escobar, Sons of Kemet, Iman Omari and Sango. Additional national and local acts will be announced on a rolling basis.

The 2018 5th Anniversary AOCFEST will be held September 28-29th, 2018. The main venue will be the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, located at 408 Blackwell Street. Additional venues will include the Durham Armory, Motorco, Carolina Theatre, and the Pinhook. Presale tickets will start April 25th, and general onsale opens to the public on April 27th. All previous ticket sales for AOCFEST 2018 will be honored. Refunds through the Eventbrite ticketing system will be accepted until April 27th.

The DOME Group LLC is an established entertainment promotions company born in NC and operating since 2007, with offices in both Durham, NC and Detroit, MI. They promote and produce sold-out music events throughout the Durham area and the state including Mary J. Blige, Big Sean, Kirk Whalum and countless others. The DOME Group LLC also books major artists for local university homecoming shows, and for community events for the City of Durham.

Sulaiman Mausi, The DOME Group, LLC CEO (Photo: Mel Brown)

“AOCFEST has always, and will remain, Durham born and bred,” said AOCFEST founder, Cicely Mitchell. “This acquisition with The DOME Group LLC will allow the festival to operate in a better place financially, and allow it to continue to bring quality programming to the area and expand the festival brand at a faster rate.”

“AOCFEST is a great addition to the city of Durham, and we look forward to working to expand the festival’s prowess,” said Sulaiman Mausi, CEO of The DOME Group LLC. “We’re working beside Cicely and the team to stay true to the festival’s original mission and continue to deliver and grow a great festival experience.”

“The AOC brand has been respected by all of us here at The DOME Group since its inception,” said Lesleigh Mausi, Co-Founder and Vice-President of The DOME Group LLC. “A lot of hard work, love and dedication to the people of Durham have gone into the festival every year, and we intend to build on that and make the community proud.”

Many of the same staff from festivals prior will remain on board, and founders Mitchell and Al Strong will remain involved with AOCFEST in the curation of programming. Innovate Your Cool and Start of Cool will continue under the umbrella of The Art of Cool Project nonprofit status.

StArt of Cool is AOC’s jazz education program for 3rd-8th grade Durham youth. The Innovate Your Cool Conference (IYC) is a day-long conference during the festival featuring workshops and intimate discussions on innovation, entrepreneurship, and science with nationally recognized thought leaders, educators and musicians.

Noted AOCFEST past performers include Common, George Clinton, Anthony Hamilton, Terence Blanchard, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Anderson .Paak, Goldlink, Roy Ayers, Snarky Puppy, and BadBadNotGood.

L-R: Sulaiman Mausi, Lesleigh Mausi, V.P. -The DOME Group; Al Storng, AOCFEST Co-founder; Cicely Mitchell (Photo: Mel Brown)

ABOUT THE ART OF COOL PROJECT: The Art of Cool Project is a 501(c)(3) jazz presenting non-profit organization that strives to cross artistic, economic and social boundaries to bring together a diverse mix of people, cultures, experiences and creativity.

ABOUT THE DOME GROUP LLC: The DOME Group, LLC is a premier entertainment promotions company based in North Carolina specializing in turn-key production of top-billed music performances across the country since 2007.

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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