D. Cipher launches free music festival to support Detroit’s music community

Detroit City Distillery and D.Cipher are collaborating to host “Rock the Block,” this Thursday, Sept. 23, at the distillery from 5 p.m. to midnight (UPDATE: This event is rescheduled to Thursday, Sept. 30 due to rain). 

The free, street music festival and fundraiser is dedicated to supporting Detroit’s music community and its contribution to the city’s culture and nightlife. The event will take place outside 2462 Riopelle St. in Eastern Market with live bands, DJs, visual art, and local vendors.
Two Detroit DJs, Blaaqgold and Donavan Glover, will team up to headline the festival alongside Detroit-raised, LA-based DJ House Shoes. The NLR Experience and BC Keez plan a jam session with Detroit musicians bringing live hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, and rock to the block. Legendary J Hearns will open the festival. 
“Since our inception, we have been deeply committed to supporting our local community of musicians,” says Nique Love Rhodes, co-founder of D.Cipher. "This block party is a celebration of the return of live music this summer and is a way to continue our efforts towards advancing a strong music economy here in the city."

D.Cipher serves as an amplifier within the music community — connecting musicians to resources to develop their careers and connect communities to music through activating cultural hubs with live music.

They do so by providing Detroit musicians with paid performance opportunities, artist workshops, and masterclasses, as well as jam sessions and networking opportunities. The organization is in the process of opening a co-working space for musicians which will feature rehearsal space and production labs that will serve as a place where they can come together and collaborate. 

Rhodes notes that the coronavirus pandemic illustrated the importance of infrastructure within Detroit’s (and the national) music industry. “A lot of musicians lost money because they weren’t able to perform, so they had to turn to other income streams. There were grant opportunities for other art forms, but there weren’t many resources for musicians to supplement their lost income at that time.” 

Funds raised from the festival will help D.Cipher to offer resources and opportunities to Detroit’s community of musicians, including a sonic hub for musicians.

“D. Cipher has invested a little over $50,000 directly into the pockets of Detroit musicians,” Rhodes says. “That work is important and critical to our community. It drives the culture and the soul of the city. Can you imagine Detroit without music? Or without the musical contributions that the city has made on the world?” 

“The music community is vital to who we are as a city.” 

Cocktails will be available for purchase from Detroit City Distillery, food from Midnight Temple and Soo Fraiche Grill and art, music, and clothing by a host of local vendors.
Instead of charging cover, D.Cipher is asking for donations either online or via the CashApp $dciphermusic. All donations will support D.Cipher’s mission to build a more sustainable music economy. 
D.Cipher's "Rock the Block" is made possible with support from Detroit City Distillery, Midnight Temple, Red Bull Detroit, District 5 and Black Leaders of Detroit.
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Read more articles by Biba Adams.

Biba Adams is a regular contributor and project editor for Model D. Formally Model D's Editor at Large, she is a longtime journalist whose work is fueled by her passion for people and her native Detroit. Find her on all social channels @BibatheDiva.