Paid Dues Festival

Independent Hip-Hoppers Find A Home On The Road

Justin Alan Hood
1 min read
Mr. Lif is one of the excellent performers at this year’s Paid Dues festival.
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Who’s your favorite independent rapper? Name the last time you saw this beloved word wizard of yours in person, on stage, with other independent rappers. If you’re speechless, you’re not alone. Sure, you get your token emcee at Coachella or South by Southwest. You can even get whole festivals of indie hip-hop in New York, California and Cincinnati. But both take large lump sums and a trip halfway across the country. For far too long, world-class independent hip-hop has been inaccessible to most of the country.

Then, in early 2006, a lightbulb illuminated in the noggin of a Living Legend. Murs (Living Legends, Felt) got together with Guerilla Union (the promoters behind those big indie festivals in New York and California). The result is Paid Dues, a traveling festival that’s bringing the best in independent hip-hop to rest of us.

The Lineup for this year’s festival includes Felt, Living Legends, Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Cage, Mr. Lif, Grouch and Eligh, and Hangar 18. These are hip-hop artists who’ve been banging on the gates of success for more than 10 years now, and they just keep getting better. They’ve paid their dues. It’s time we paid them some respect.

The Paid Dues festival is Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Paolo Soleri in Santa Fe. Tickets are $30 through TicketMaster. Gates open at 6 p.m. For details on the festival and Paid Dues performers, log on to

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