Why You Should Attend Afropunk Fest at least Once
I attended my first Afropunk Fest in Paris in mid-July and have attended Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn for the past three years (and plan to attend again this month!). In case you're not familiar: The Afropunk Festival (commonly referred to as Afropunk or Afropunk Fest ) is an annual arts festival that celebrates and unifies the cultural cornerstones of AFROPUNK through music, film, skate, and art. The annual festival made its first debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Brooklyn, New York City in 2005, and has since culturally expanded the festival across countries. Originally co-founded by Mathew Morgan and James Spooner, the festival was inspired by Spooner's 2003 documentary film Afro-Punk, which spotlighted black punks in America (source).
While I enjoy many musical festivals and concerts, I love Afropunk Fest in particular because it just has a wonderful energy. though this music festival is inclusive and all are welcome to attend, it was conceived as an event that is a safe space for black people and other people of color/other marginalized groups. As the music festival has grown in popularity, the crowd size has also increased, but despite the large crowds, I still always have a great time. Sadly Afropunk Fest Brooklyn is already sold out, but there are other cities on the docket in the U.S. and abroad (Atlanta, London, Jo'burg) that you may want to check out. Here are some key reasons you should attend Afropunk Fest at your next opportunity.
The creative, innovative outfits/costumery.
Attendees really "show-out" with Afro-futuristic and bohemian fashion inspirations. There's some amazing street style to behold at Afropunk Fest. You get the sense not that people are dressing up but really showing their authentic selves in the efforts they put into what they wear. There will be numerous photographers taking photos of the most stylish attendees that will be all over social media and online publications.
The amazing musical performances.
Without a doubt the musical performances are usually eclectic and amazing at Afropunk Fest; from Hip-Hop, Heavy Metal, Rock, and everything in between! The hard decision is choosing which musical acts to prioritize when your favs are performing on different stages at the same time. At previous Afropunk Fest performances I've seen include: Solange, Gary Clark Jr., Maxwell, Kelis, Lauren Hill, Sza, Rafael Saadiq, and many other outstanding performers. There are also always fantastic DJs who perform during intervals when the stages are being set up and taken down between artists that make for great dance breaks.
The positive, inclusive energy of the attendees makes for some fun conversations with attendees who visit from near and far to participate in the music festival. It's great to attend an event like Afropunk Fest with your crew, but consider attending solo to push yourself to make friends with other attendees. Chat up people about your favorite musical acts and where they sourced their unique outfits. Fostering a sense of community and truly making time for joyful experiences is more important than ever in the troubling times we are living in right now.
Afropunk Fest also has a marketplace where you can shop for unique wares from outfits, to accessories, to beauty products and much more. You can support small businesses and indie brands who you may not have previously been aware of.
For all of these reasons and many more, consider adding addending at least one Afropunk Fest to your bucket list.