April 5, 2022 By Allie Griffin
Queens native LL Cool J has announced that he is launching a new hip-hop music festival in his home borough this summer.
The Grammy award winner who grew up in St. Albans will be one of several big-name performers at the inaugural “Rock The Bells Festival” at Forest Hills Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6. Other heavy hitters include Ice Cube, Rick Rock, Lil’ Kim, The Diplomats ft. Cam’ron, Jim Jones & Juelz Santana, Fat Joe & Remy Ma, Jadakiss, Scarface, Trina, N.O.R.E and Digable Planets.
LL Cool J described the music festival — which will also feature art exhibits, interactive experiences, food options and more — as a love letter to hip-hop.
“This festival is my way of showing love to the community of Hip-Hop and celebrating the incredible journey this culture has taken, going from DJ Kool Herc’s Sedgwick Avenue rec room, to the global phenomenon we all cherish today,” he said in a statement. “Getting to bring some of the most iconic and influential Hip-Hop artists to the same stage, in my hometown and the city that started it all, is an honor and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store for them.”
Another Queens native, hip-hop pioneer and rapper Roxanne Shanté, will host the one-night-only event. Shanté was born and raised in the Queensbridge Houses.
“The Rock The Bells festival is going to be different from any other festival you’ve attended, bringing great people, great vibes, and great music together to represent and celebrate the originality and greatness of Hip-Hop,” Shanté said. “With me as your host, you are guaranteed to have a nice day making Hip-Hop memories from dusk till dawn. Plzbelieveit baby.”
More performers will be announced as the event date nears.
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The Rock The Bells festival is named after LL Cool J’s 1985 hit of the same title. The musician also founded a hip-hop platform and SiriusXM channel with the same moniker.
The festival is a brand new creation of LL Cool J’s — separate from the series of Rock The Bells concerts from 2004 to 2013 produced by Guerilla Union Inc. LL Cool J won a lawsuit against the company for using the trademark name in 2019, according to Billboard.
Entertainment company AEG Worldwide, which helped rehabilitate Forest Hills Stadium, is co-producing the festival.
“We’re thrilled to welcome LL COOL J home to Queens for this special event that celebrates the genre and the culture as a whole,” Mike Luba, AEG Senior Vice President of Global Touring, said in a statement. “The borough has played such a vital role in Hip-Hop history and being able to host this day of music from this group of music icons is an honor.”
Presale for Rock the Bells tickets starts Thursday at 10 a.m. and general admission tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Registration for pre-sale tickets is now open at www.rockthebellsfestival.com/ VIP ticket packages will also be available.
Partial proceeds from every ticket sale will be donated to the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx.