By Jillian Diamond

Starting on September 13 and lasting until the next day, UMD’s NextNOW Fest is the school’s biggest music festival on campus. Over the course of the festival, there are set to be performances from all manner of musicians, dancers, and actors. The number of things to do and people to see at NextNOW Fest can be overwhelming, especially for someone who isn’t familiar with the event’s headliners. This guide hopes to shed a little light on a few of the performers at this year’s festival. 

2019’s biggest headliner is Snail Mail, the indie rock solo project of singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan. She released several EPs under the name starting in 2015 but just recently achieved mainstream success with her first full album, 2018’s Lush. Jordan is one of many artists at the forefront of an indie rock resurgence that’s been building over the past few years, and her mellow, moody songs about the hardships of growing up have amassed millions of views on Youtube. Her singles “Heat Wave” and “Pristine” are a good place to start for anyone interested in her music. As the headliner, her concert at The Clarice’s Dekelboum Concert Hall quickly sold out. 

In the same vein as Snail Mail is Priests. A post-punk band that releases singles from and operates its own indie label, Sister Polygon Records, Priests are a strong proponent of individuality and challenging musical norms through their music. They’ve actually worked with Snail Mail before as well, releasing her Habit EP through the label. With vocalist Katie Alice Greer, guitarist G.L. Jaguar, and Daniele Daniele on drums, Priests are strong supporters of the D.C. area’s local music scene and believe in creating platforms for less mainstream music projects. They’ll be performing at 11:00 PM on Friday, September 13 at the Grand Pavilion.

The other big name at 2019’s festival is rapper JPEGMAFIA, whose trap-influenced music has achieved widespread critical acclaim since he released his album Veteran in 2018. Also known as Devon Hendryx, and referred to as Peggy by his fans, JPEGMAFIA specializes in experimental, subversive hip-hop and rap with hard-hitting subjects ranging from racism to Christianity. He actually dropped his latest single, “Beta Male Strategies” not even a week before his performance at NextNOW Fest, where he addresses Internet culture and the dangers and temptations of anonymity on social media. His concert is also at the Grand Pavilion, though it’ll be taking place on Saturday at 8:00 PM.

These are just a few of the major musical acts performing at this year’s festival – among them are also hip-hop groups J Pope and the HearNow and Black Folks Don’t Swim?, indie alternative duo April + VISTA, and several of UMD’s own jazz performers. And that’s just on the musical side of things: several dance and theatrical workshops, art displays, and rummage sales will also be happening at The Clarice over the course of the festival, along with its iconic Silent Disc-Glo event. NextNow Fest starts at 6:00 on Friday, September 13 and continues into Saturday, September 14.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Clarice’s Facebook Page.

Jillian Diamond is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at

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