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Crews put finishing touches on stage and venue for ‘I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll’ festival

Set up and preparations for Saturday’s ‘I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll Festival’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Crews working behind the scenes of Indianapolis’ first Black rock music festival were finalizing setup at the American Legion Mall Friday.

“I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll” is on Saturday. A first-of-its-kind experience, it looks to honor the origins of rock and celebrate the contributions of black musicians and artists.

The festival is a collaboration between GANGGANG, an Indy-based art and culture collective and Forty5, a promotions group. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe will headline the festival. In addition, it will feature performances by Robert Randolph Band, Gary Clark Jr. and Joy Oladokun.

GANGGANG co-founder and executive director Mali Bacon says it’s exciting to be this close to their vision coming true.

“We are finally here,” Bacon said. ” We’re putting final touches on everything. We’re putting up the vinyl, setting up the cabanas, rock and roll advocacy messages, timelines, all sorts of things like that for a really wonderful day.”

Fences went up around the mall Monday. A bulk of the stage was ready by Thursday. Organizers say they were putting up the bars and finishing touches Friday morning.

Jenny Boyts, CEO of Forty5, says it was an interesting challenge getting the venue festival ready.

“They’ve [GANGANG] been fantastic partners,” Boyts said. [We] just want to be able to respect … their rules. They put a lot of time and money and investment in this site and such a beautiful site in the middle of downtown … Our team really has to work hard to make sure our forklifts can’t get on the lawn; we’re preserving and keeping safe.”

GANGANG is also working on installing many of its signs and artistic touches to the area.

The festival includes an area dubbed “The Backyard.” GANGANG co-founder and president, Alan Bacon says it’s designed as a way to get away from the crowds.

“There’s going to be a lot to see here,” Bacon said. “You’ll get the same multi-sensory experience that you would get from a BUTTER [Art Fair] … graffiti and there’s big, large objects that kids can play with. There’s games, there’s all types of selfie opportunities.”

Organizers are hoping to make this festival an annual event.

Tickets to the festival are still available and start at $85. Gates are set to open Saturday at noon.