The phrase iron sharpens iron exemplifies the idea that you can get better at something by constantly learning from those who share a similar talent. This is the premise of The Playlist Retreat, an annual gathering where musicians and creatives come together to break bread, break boundaries, and break new ground with their craft.

Musical luminary Jeff “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes started The Playlist Retreat in 2014. The Philly-born legend wanted to connect the most innovative minds in music after observing a disconnect between the icons who built the foundation of modern music and the up-and-coming talents who are changing the game in real time. “People would naturally think that I brought the legends in to give wisdom,” *Townes says. “In all actuality, I actually put the up-and-comers in to give the legends courage.” A simple idea turned into a four-day retreat complete with panel discussions, on-site activations, and creative challenges putting together random groups of musicians to create music using instruments and tools given to them to be featured in a collaborative project at retreat’s end. When considering where to host such an event, Townes decided to keep it close to home— by having it in his home. “I absolutely believe having something in your house, inviting someone into your home is personal. This isn’t at a convention center, this isn’t at a hotel, there’s a level of respect you have for people when you come to their home that I can see people have when they come here that plays a very, very big part.”

This type of creative think tank is rare in the music industry, and while its list of participants changes from year to year, it has become the breeding ground for some of the most avant-garde musical creations to be heard by the masses.

Check out CASSIUS’ inside look at The Playlist Retreat, and what it is poised to become.

Video courtesy of DJ Jazzy Jeff/PlayList 2017


*(Yes, he is my father.)