Free music festival returns to downtown Spartanburg for second year


By Mary Norris
The Carolinian

Melting Pot Music Festival heads into its second year on Saturday with 20 music artists performing across three stages in downtown Spartanburg.

Thirty-two bands performed last year at Melting Pot in Spartanburg’s Grain District. This year all of downtown Spartanburg will be blocked off and Melting Pot will be held in Morgan Square.

The free event is 2-10 p.m.

Buck Shoals will take stage at the festival, a band formed by alumni of USC Upstate’s music program. Local acts Ty Graves, The Apartment Club, Courteous Monk, and Total Astronaut, will also be featured.

Interdisciplinary Studies student, Reid Johnson partnered with Daniel Ross to put the event together after Ross expressed interest in starting a St. Patrick’s Day festival. They coordinated with musicians, artisans, entertainers, vendors, and local nonprofit, Melting Pot Music Society to form the festival.

“When I first moved back here, the void of not having a music venue was apparent,” Johnson said, having lived in Guadalajara, Mexico after his time as a professional touring artist with Charleston based band, Number One Contender.

Johnson and Ross start planning for the festival around six weeks in advance, although Johnson recommends six months for planning large events.

“The reason we’re able to do that is because of the field I’m from,” Johnson said.

Melting Pot is anticipating between 5,000 to 10,000 people, and Johnson hopes that number will only grow with time, as it gains national visibility with major headlining bands.

The festival will continue to be held in Spartanburg, to give local artists a larger audience to perform in a festival that includes major acts that will draw large crowds of people, according to Johnson.

“Putting this festival together is all about using music to put people from different walks of life in the same space,” Johnson said. “It reaches across all lines of division. Music is a gift. To be able to share that with a community, it can bring a community together in a way nothing else can.”