DJ Low Key at one of the Goodness summertime parties.EXPAND
DJ Low Key at one of the Goodness summertime parties.
Photograph courtesy of Armando Geneyro

The Goodness Block Party Celebrates Denver Soul & Hip-Hop

Justin Green, known in the Denver music scene as DJ Low Key, says he and his team are going big with the Goodness Block Party on September 1.

Why? Because after this weekend, "Broncos mania takes over and the weather cools off. Everyone knows in Denver how that works. It is what it is. People know Goodness is only for a certain amount of time."

Goodness isn't just a block party; it's a summer-long series at Meadowlark, but this weekend's event is the big finale. Goodness, which has been swinging for the past seven years, has corporate sponsorship from Red Bull Presents, which has given DJ Low Key a chance to expand the lineup.

Talented local hip-hop and soul artists such as Kayla Marque, YaSi, Sur Ellz and Crl Crrll will be creating feel-good energy alongside national acts like DJ Jazzy Jeff and TiRon & Ayomari.

Westword spoke with Green about the evolution of Goodness and how it's distinct from other hip-hop events that take place in downtown Denver.

Westword: You’ve had the party Goodness since 2011. How has it changed?

Justin Green: When you start any party, Goodness included, you hope for the most and do everything you can to make it succeed, but I think for a lot of DJs, promoters, musicians, there’s a lot more stuff that doesn’t work out than what does. In the early days of Goodness, I just wanted to make sure the party could exist. Through the process of trying to constantly improve and try new things, it’s evolved into something bigger, crazier and more meaningful than I could ever have hoped for when I first started it. That’s the magic of how things grow organically sometimes.

How has the event gotten bigger this year?

Working with a team at Red Bull makes things happen that I couldn’t do myself. They have a lot more resources and really great people over there that are interested in making cool things happen. For the most part, they do a great job of deferring to creative types and actually putting in an effort to team up with people rather than dictating what they want to see happen. And that’s why you end up with something that is special.

I think [Red Bull] realized that adding value to a city or to a culture is a much better way to spend their promotional dollars than just bugging people with a few more national TV spots

Do you think you’ve added value to the Denver scene?

When I look at the history of the parties, there’s a lot of people who have become friends because of the parties; there are people who’ve literally met their husband or wife at a party, and crazy things you could never do on purpose. But special things happen when you throw parties that are for a more specific crowd. I describe it as the parties are for everybody but not just for anybody. We say that for people who have a more active interest in the music and vibes we are putting out.

What makes this event special?

This is an event that is exclusive to Denver. This is the only opportunity to really see this lineup. We have a ton of great artists involved from Denver and artists from out of town that are friends of the party and of course, Jazzy Jeff is one of the best DJs in the history of DJs. We are musically representing the vibe of the party. We are making something special, especially with the all-star band concept we got going called Goodness Greatness...If you don’t catch them at the block party, there’s not another time to catch them.

What can people expect from the party?

Hopefully a lot of good music and good energy. The party is called Goodness because literally the concept is to shine the light on things that make me and my individuals feel good, starting with music then spreading out into art and food.

Why do you enjoy throwing parties here in Denver?

I love the Denver scene. It’s a one-of-a-kind city.

I think because we are isolated from a lot of other major cities and music industries, the scene here has been slower to grow. But because of that, we’ve been able to grow with unique personalities. ... In a lot of ways we are kind of an island when it comes to culture, and because of that our scene is more unique.

I see people come from all over the country and praise it because we are so different; people don’t know what to expect, but I feel people leave with a good impression. Even though Denver has been getting a lot of attention over the last decade or so, people still don’t know what to expect, and that is part of the magic that makes Denver so special.

Goodness Block Party, 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, September 1, Meadowlark, 2701 Larimer Street, Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

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