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Native POP brings first annual POPFest to Downtown Rapid City

Labor Day weekend brought Rapid City its first annual POPFest at Main Street Square. It was a full day of music across genres.

POPFest is a production of Native POP, or People of the Plains, which has been holding an annual visual arts show for the past ten years.

Lafawn Janis, executive director for Native POP, said there’s a value for providing performance stages to Native musicians.

“The lyrics are amazing, and it's relevant to our lives," she said. "We brought in artists from around the country and had local artists as well. We all experience a lot of the same social issues. It was really cool to see, and it's good for our youth to be able to see this.”

Janis said for her, there’s an emotional connection to the show.

“It just makes me smile from the inside out, I know that sounds cheesy, but it really does. It’s an honor to be able to create it and bring it for everyone here.”

One of the performers was Welby June who describes his sound as soul music. June said engaging with art builds connections.

“It’s great to have this platform to help the local community see the different facets of native folk. That’s incredibly helpful in building community relations in Rapid City and around the area.”

Janis said Native POP hopes to make more musical events possible in the future.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture