ATLANTA — FreakNik is coming back once again as a three-day music festival that will feature more than 40 artists performing live over the course of the weekend.
This year’s festival will run June 19-21 at the Cascade Driving Range in southwest Atlanta.
This year, the festival is debuting a new name, Freak World.
Last summer, Carlos Neal, of Atlanta-based promotion company After 9, resurrected the infamous Atlanta event with a daylong concert at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. A lineup featuring Project Pat, Uncle Luke, Da Brat, Foxy Brown and many more nearly sold out the venue and attracted an adult audience old enough to remember the rambunctious Freakniks of the past, but young enough to still party responsibly.
“For everyone who said, ‘This isn’t the Freaknik of the ‘90s,’ I’m like, look, we’re older now and most people got that and still had fun,” Neal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This year’s festival has been expanded to three days. Neal said the Cascade Driving Range has significance to him.
“I wanted to do it in a community where people embraced this event. I chose the community where I grew up because I wanted the dollars to impact that community,” he said, adding that last year’s crowd was about 94 percent African American. “So I wanted to do it in a predominately African American neighborhood.”
Neal, who is also working with Atlanta festival promoter Eric Barnes, plans to enlist more than 100 vendors and schedule about 40-50 acts during the three-day event, which he will cap at about 10,000 fans per day (the event is 18 and older).
Freaknik started back in 1983. It was a small gathering then, but over the years and into the ’90s, hundreds of thousands of people came from all over the country to the big event.
The community became outraged over huge parties, chaos in the streets and crime.
In the ’90s, then-Mayor Bill Campbell’s staff made a big decision to stop Freaknik.
By 2010, then-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed banned any Freaknik-related activities from being staged within the city, and a hallmark of Atlanta revelry disappeared.
The festival returned last year in a more family-friendly form, endorsing inclusiveness and a safe environment.
Several thousand parking spaces will be available among the driving range site and the parking lots of nearby Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church and Greenbriar Mall.
Neal has only praise for Lakewood and its Live Nation management, but believes moving the event to a location where he has more control will ultimately benefit the consumer.