Words by Brittany Burton

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Many of us can recall the feeling: that unsettling dose of reality sinking in when juggernauts like SXSW and Coachella revealed plans to cancel the 2020 editions of their staple productions. It brought on the collective fear that COVID-19 was very much real–for those of us holding out unfounded hope as a pandemic unfolded–paired with a justifiable disappointment of our beloved festival season disappearing right before our eyes. 

A year later, while some major festivals still hold on to their cancellations and others push back dates typically reserved for their lineups to accommodate fans’ anticipation, the inaugural Rose Music Festival set up shop in California’s Orange County to offer a glimpse into festival life post-COVID. 


Festival organizers took an intuitive approach to creating an environmentally-friendly outdoor concert experience for fans to flock to. The first annual Rose Music Festival holds a notable place as one of the first live music festivals to take place in the United States since the country first went into a lockdown. 

With well-known acts such as Mozzy, Eric Bellinger, Rubi Rose, Day Sulan, 1TakeJay, Kalan Fr.Fr killing the stage, the energy present was nothing less than musical bliss. They set the stage ablaze, following acts such as Rizz, Chef Sean, and Black Fortune who all had undeniable levels of talent that captivated the audience from song to song. Host and influencer J Mulan made an appearance as well as Cali rap legend YG and his 400 crew who supported Sacramento’s hottest act Mozzy. The California culture showed up and showed out.

 “We are really excited to have created this moment for California because our community needs this beam of light during these unusual times,” says Phillip Riian, co-founder of The Rose Music Festival. “It has been a tough year, a year that has shed light on the health and economic disparities in Black and Brown communities, so I’m happy we’re able to make this experience that looks out for many communities. Not only was the concert essential to us because of the cause, but it also provides a platform for up-and-coming artists to be able to see their name in lights and not have to wait on someone to allow them to because they are trending on social media.” 

Proceeds from the festival’s revenue will benefit Avalon Carver Community Center. Avalon Carver works to care for youth through education, community outreach, and empowerment throughout the greater Los Angeles area. 

Providing a lucrative opportunity for music acts to get back to performing publicly in a mainstream manner while giving back to the community is something Riian and co-founders Ry & Kendyx put into the air a little over a year ago. A unique aspect to this festival is that Ry & Kendyx, who double as rising artists themselves, performed live sets showing women worldwide that you can live out your dream as a professional in music and as a creator sharing your voice with the masses. To see it all play out is something these three entrepreneurs only dreamed of. 

If you are wondering what life would look like for music and festival goers post COVID,  the Rose Music Fest has set the foundation for what we can expect to see in the music industry going into the summer months. As many other festivals will take place this year including Rolling Loud, The Outside Lands, and Chicago Blues Fest, you can expect to enjoy good outdoor vibes, food, and music similar to the atmosphere provided at the Rose Music Fest.