Q&A with Pompano Beach Fall Festival Owner, T Dogg
By Attiyya Atkins
T Dogg is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, restaurateur, gospel rapper, and businessman. But this local legend’s latest venture is bringing crowds to the city by the thousands. T Dogg is the owner of the Pompano Beach Fall Festival, which has brought acclaimed artists like Monica, Drew Hill, Ball Greezy, and Freddie Jackson to the greens at Pompano Community Park. This year the festival is in its second throw and the lineup includes Plies, Keke Wyatt, Lyfe Jennings, Silk and other acclaimed musical artists. Tickets are on sale on Eventbrite, $40 for general admission and $100 for VIP. Villij News Editor Attiyya Atkins sat down with T Dogg for a Q&A about his life, the festival, and being successful.
Q: Hi T Dogg. Good afternoon. Tell Villij News about yourself.
A: Hello. I’m a recording artist, owner of T Dogg BIGG Dreams Charity Foundation, I’ve been given six keys to six cities, granted four city proclamations. I’m the owner of the Pompano Beach Fall Festival, owner of 2 Extreme Marketing and Promotions, owner of the South Florida Soul Rodeo and former owner of Tasty’s Soul Food. I wear a lot of hats, I’ve been in the game for 17 years.
Q. Wow. You’ve got a lot going on. Where are you from?
Q. How was the first year of the Pompano Beach Fall Festival? What are you doing this year to make it different?
A. The first year was a test run, I’ve done concerts before this one at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater which holds 4,000 people, but it was getting to the point where it was bigger than the amphitheater….so I was like… let’s take it outside.
We were the first event that happened after COVID died down, we brought in Monica, Drew Hill, Freddie Jackson, Ball Greezy, Michael Sterling… we had a phenomenal lineup. We knew it was going to be a great turnout, but it was far from what I expected. The gates opened at 2 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m., the police were shutting it down. To see all that in 3 and a half hours I was like whoa, it was crazy… the vendors ran out of food… there were so many people there… around 10,000.
We learned a lot from the first year, this year our focus now is on real community work. Our theme is “Partying with a Purpose,” so many festivals are just festivals. We want to make sure when you leave here you get fed. I created a community village inside of the festival and inside of this village you will be able to attain awareness on different things like mental health, job fairs…I’ve never seen this done at a festival. This year there will be HBCU scholarships at the festival. The community village is the real centerpiece of the fall festival. And because of the success of last year ricocheted so hard, this year we gained major sponsors like Budweiser, Mercedes Benz, Board of Health, FPL, Metro PCS, Lyft, Pepsi, Hampton Inn, Demesmin and Dover, and so many more.
Q: What about the timing of the festival? Right after Thanksgiving could be a hard sell.
A. A lot of people are in town. We took a chance on that day. Usually on that date you have eight concerts going on. We’ve been so blessed that we overshadowed everyone else so bad that no one is doing anything on Thanksgiving weekend, but us. At first a lot of people didn’t get it and we got a lot of backlash from community residents because of me being from another city. My focus was never about where you are from, I just teamed up with the city officials and they thought it was great. It just worked. People are like they coming to Pompano!
Q: Who is in this year’s lineup?
A: Plies, Keke Wyatt, Silk, Lyfe Jennings, Rome, Trick Daddy, and took it back for the older crowd so we have MC Shy D, Prince Raheim, Splack Pack, and Gigalo Tony.
Q: What’s one act that you’re really excited about?
A: When I was coming up as a kid Gigalo Tony was like Lil’ Baby. He was the largest rapper around. He was signed to 4 Sight Records, which was the first rap label in the state of Florida owned by Billy Hines. When Gigalo Tony came out, he came to the Deerfield Mango Festival and me and my friends hid behind the car talking about “It’s him!”
All of these other major festivals come to the state of Florida and no one hollas at the pioneers. They never been on the stage at Funk Fest or Jazz in the Garden, they never been on the stage nowhere but the Pompano Fall Festival. I’ve been a fan of Gigalo Tony all of my life and now I get a chance to bring him here and perform. That’s huge. These pioneers are people who should be celebrated.
Q: What advice would you give to someone making their way?
A: Failures are the blueprint to winning. Don’t stop. People don’t know how many times I failed, they only get to see the winning side. I failed 250,000 times. You can’t be afraid to bet on yourself. A lot of people never succeed because they are afraid to gamble on themselves.
Q: What Advice would you give specifically to black males and black youth?
A: Men are ego driven and by us being ego driven, we are fast for success. It’s not about how fast you get there, just get there. You ever see someone hustlin’ making thousands of dollars and they hustlin’ for a year and go to jail for 10 years, and the guy at McDonalds runs past them. Stay focused.
The Pompano Beach Fall Festival is Saturday, November 26 from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite, $40 for general admission and $100 for VIP. For more information visit www.PompanoFallFest.com