ScoreMore’s Seventh Annual JMBLYA Music Festival Offering In Dallas Once Again Turned Fair Park’s Parking Lots Into A Jubilant, Vibrant Pop-Up.
Photos by Breanna Loose. Video by WolfPat.
The Texas hip-hop event promotions agency ScoreMore may be owned in part by Live Nation these days, but the company’s yearly springtime JMBLYA throwdown in Dallas stuck to its old formula this weekend: Book some of the rap game’s biggest names; toss up a pair of over-the-top stage stages (along with rows upon rows of vendors and porta potties) inside of a massive, fenced-in footprint in Fair Park; usher hordes of hype-beasting youths through the entrance gates; watch the magic that follows.
OK, it’s likely a little more complicated than that.
But it’s worth pointing out that Friday’s seventh annual JMBLYA event in Dallas was very much more of the same of what we’ve come to expect from the event: It was gargantuan in scope, rife with excitement, handled with professionalism and amazing in the most basic definition of the word.
The diverse, decidedly Gen Z crowd of 25,000 on hand shuttled from one end of the grounds to the other, forming human oceans in front of each of JMBLYA’s two main stages as they did, and taking in sets from a lineup featuring Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Lil Nas X, Kevin Gates, YoungBoy NBA, Gunna, Sheck Wes, Bhad Bhabie, Dababy, Jpegmafia, City Girls, Maxo Kream and others. (Dallas’ own 10k.Caash, who was set to be among the day’s earliest performers, missed his set.)
The performances were appropriately lively. Afternoon offerings from up-and-comers got the jubilant crowd as hyped up and rowdy as expected, but no other performer quite matched the vibrancy of Travis Scott, who closed the night by skulking and strutting across his pyro-infused stage unfazed by a flash flood that opened up on the grounds in the middle of his set. By comparison, a gamely Lil Wayne, even armed two decades worth of hits, looked downright ancient in his across-the-way set — and, at 36 years old, he was likely twice the age of the average attendees and might as well have been.
But the youth came bearing lessons, as — somewhat hellish parking aside (pro tip: next year, just drive or take public transit to Expo Park and then hoof or e-scoot it through Fair Park to the event grounds) — it was tough not to be impressed with the way this set took to the grounds.
As in years past, this year’s JMBLYA once again was a phenomenal case study in what Fair Park’s 277 acres of mostly parking lot-filled public space can be when it’s not just setting itself up for the 24-day annual takeover that is the State Fair of Texas. Better yet, unlike that dated institution, JMBLYA has always been a decidedly welcome-to-all-comers event.
The lesson here, as always? Listen to the kids, bro. They know what they’re doing. And, better yet, they know how to have a good time.