Congressman Frost’s Madsoul Festival merges music and politics

Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost celebrates at Come Out With Pride in Orlando in October 2023. (Photo by Caitlin Sause)

ORLANDO | Speaking with U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, the Congressman from Florida’s 10th District, less than two weeks before the sixth Madsoul music festival, excitement could be seen in the eyes has he spoke enthusiastically about the festival’s return and what to expect.

“Madsoul is the first ever of its kind event; it is the first ever music festival hosted by a member of Congress at this scale,” Frost says. “Usually, you go to a music festival and you’re being sold things, but at Madsoul you’re being told things, you’re learning about how you can get involved.”

For Frost, the major idea behind Madsoul is that it bridges the gap between “cool and conscious,” helping to reach the people who wouldn’t go to a political rally. Madsoul, he says, will reach those people in a way that has not been done before.

A key aspect of Madsoul is that profits are donated to local charity organizations, including Zebra Youth, which provides services and resources to LGBTQ+ youth. Madsoul will also benefit the Florida Access Network, Equal Ground and SWAN of Orlando.

Frost says that because of the recent targeting of transgender people, especially trans youth, in Florida, it is now more important than ever to support LGBTQ+ organizations.

“We identified four problems in our state that are really poignant right now,” Frost says. “We know it’s a rough time in Florida, mutual aid and organizations that recognize the difficult position were in but organize to make it a better state anyway are really what’s going to help save us.”

On top of benefiting an LGBTQ+ organization, Madsoul is also helping to highlight queer artists. Muna, the band headlining the festival, is a queer indie pop band.

“We have Muna headlining. Which is an amazing queer band that has never performed in Florida before, in part, because Florida is a scary place for a lot of queer people,” Frost says. “And they’re bringing their full show.”

Since its founding in 2015 by Frost and his friends Niyah Lowell and Chris Muriel, Madsoul has put on five festivals. Frost says that for its return, this year’s sixth Madsoul will be the biggest it has ever been.

“We started this years ago and we’ve always dedicated 100% of the profits to a local nonprofit, my friend Niyah and I would actually put up the funds for the event ourselves,” Frost says. “The first few times we lost a ton of money and we still donated money of our own to organizations because we wanted to make sure there was some sort of impact.”

Now, with the funding and resources from his campaign’s backing, Madsoul can open up to more people and reach a wider audience. With a sliding ticket scale people can spend from $20 to $100 per ticket, depending on what they feel like contributing. Frost says that this helps them offer free tickets as well.

“Ten dollars or even five, that could be what keeps someone from going, and I believe this is going to be such a powerful event that we don’t want anyone in our community to not go because money is a barrier,” Frost says. “We might say that $10 isn’t expensive, but we never know what someone is going through.”

This year’s Madsoul features an impressive lineup of artists and speakers, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Melanie Faye, Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones, Nohemy, Kaelin Ellis, Palomino Blond, Florida Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and many more. Madsoul also recently announced the addition of Tony Award-winning performer Lin-Manuel Miranda to the guest list.

“Madsoul is multi-genre, it’s going to be weird, it’s going to be so many different styles. I tell people it’s like I made everybody a playlist and we’re just listening to it live,” Frost says.

Frost even slyly hinted at the possibility of himself getting on a drum set to help close out the night with Venture Motel, another band that will be performing.

The biggest hope for Madsoul is that people have fun while also making a difference, that’s what it is all about, says Frost.

“I want to make sure that I’m not just some politician in D.C. making laws, but that I’m also involved here locally on the ground,” he adds. “Using my influence to help raise resources, and also awareness, for these amazing organizations.”

Madsoul Music & Arts Festival will take place at Loch Haven Park in Orlando March 2, starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at

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