With acts like Cee-Lo Green, Santigold, Janelle Monae, Gym Class Heroes, DJ Jillionare, Das Racist, Ninjasonik and Reggie Watts lighting up the Fort Greene Commodore Barry Park stage on Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28, it’s hard to believe the annual outdoor jam fest is free – but it is.
“When I started Afro-Punk, my mantra used to be an equal playing field for all and that still applies today,” said Matthew Morgan, the festival’s founder. “I think everybody should have an equal opportunity at everything.”
For Morgan it’s all about affordability and diversity.
“The fact that it is the only festival of its kind in the world and America is shocking … we probably have the most racially diverse audience,” he said.
The festival gets bigger every year but Morgan says without the support of the local community, it wouldn’t be what it is.
“I’m thankful to the supporters: Tish James, Marty Markowitz, the 88th Precinct,” he said. “How we do it financially is one thing but the commitment of people and local officials and police department is another; they never really get a lot of love.”
Morgan hopes the festival grows large enough that it becomes international but he says Brooklyn will always remain the epicenter of it all. “It started here and it will always be that place that we keep free,” he said.
Speaking of free. How does Morgan describe the experience of Afro-Punk? You guessed it.
“A single word that defines the experience for me: freedom,” he said. “If people are allowed to express themselves with no boundaries then that is the true sense of freedom, that’s why people come and they dress up and they let themselves go.”
In addition to the music, the festival will also include a custom motorcycle show, the Battle for the Streets skate and BMX bike competition, and the Skate Artwall, which features one artist’s paintings on 300 skateboards to make up a whole mural.
And to quell the hunger of fervent festival-goers, over 20 of New York City’s hottest food trucks will be on hand. For more information, visit afropunk.com: http://bit.ly/leo8nB