A3C Festival and Conference announced its 2016 dates Sunday. The festival serves as one of the most popular hip hop festivals in the nation with artists from around the world coming out to perform as well professionals offering wisdom and insight into the hip hop inustry.
KENNESAW, Ga. — October 11, 2012 is a date I will never forget. I got inside of my Mazda, drove down to the Masquerade and waited in line with what felt like hundreds of other people from around the world. I was overcome with excitement as I received my ticket and entered the venue. The energy from the music could be felt from the parking lot. As I entered the lower level of the venue, I heard a familiar song. Skewby, a rapper from Memphis, TN, had been performing songs from his album “Humble Pie”, and though I was the only one singing along with him, everyone else in the crowd was nodding their heads in typical fashion. It was at this moment, I fell in love A3C.
A3C, short for All Three Coasts, Hip Hop Festival and Conference is one of the most popular hip hop festivals in the nation. The self-proclaimed “hip hop family reunion” is a 5-day event takes places typically in October and features over 1,500 performing artists, 75 concerts and events, 3,000 experts within the hip hop industry and 80 panel discussions, workshops, mixers and sessions. Festival season is upon us, and with SXSW, short for South by Southwest, out of the way, A3C has officially announced the dates for its 12th installment slated to take place Oct. 5-9.
Producing Memorable and Meaningful Experiences
A3C prides itself on bringing its audience memorable experiences, and while some are more memorable than others, there are enough moments throughout the festival for everyone to enjoy, whether it is Nashville’s Starlito and Don Trip performing in 2011, or legendary hip hop group De La Soul headlining last year’s lineup . It I easy to see how A3C creates such lasting impressions and memories as notable performers include recent stars such as J. Cole and Big K.R.I.T. as well as legends such as Bun B and Scarface.
“We saw a panel for producers and were amazed this guy did tracks for Kanye West,” Eugene Crump said. “They played beats they made that turned out to be hit records on the radio, and it was crazy to think we were this close to this man.”
Developing Unique and Original Content
A3C also takes the time to develop unique and original content through the artist showcases presented throughout the festival. Rather than selecting the showcases themselves, A3C put this opportunity in the hands of the people as it offers anyone the opportunity to present a showcase for the festival.
On the website, under festival, companies seeking to highlight artists deserving of the opportunity can submit a proposal for a show just by entering basic contact information along with show length and concept, the number of artists and any partners o sponsors for said showcase. Previous showcases have been submitted from both corporate giants like BET Music Matters and lesser known blogs such as the Atlanta-based Dead End Hip Hop partnering with Man Bites Dog Records.
Creating Opportunities that Stimulate Discovery and Promote Creativity
A3C is at the forefront providing a platform for undiscovered artists to share their craft with thousands of people. Every year, those not selected for a showcase are given the opportunity to submit an electronic press kit via SonicBids for a chance at performing during the festival. Once the press kit is submitted, A3C offers the top 50 artists with the most votes a designated performances slot during the This Is My Year Campaign.
Undiscovered talent is not the only thing that sets A3C apart from other festivals. It is the first hip hop festival to showcase an entire battle rap event during the ceremonies. During the 2015 installment, a battle league based in the United Kingdom known as Don’t Flop Entertainment held an event with a total of five battles, the most notable featuring Chicago’s Big T versus Oakland’s Caustic.
Sparking Connections and Worthwhile Relationships
With such a wide variety of performers and topics being discussed, A3C attracts a broad audience of people from all walks of life. This melting pot hip hop lovers makes for a great networking opportunity, as crowds are filled with the likes of bloggers, hip hop artists, producers, talent scouts, radio personalities and much more.
“Performances are dope because there are a lot of upcoming artists there, but the best part is the panels,” Desirae Tucker, Music Director of Kennesaw State University’s Owl Radio said. “The panels are more beneficial because you get to meet people who are just ambitious and passionate as yourself that the same information. It becomes a networking opportunity because the people in the crowd are seeking to get in the industry as well, and you get to ask the panelists questions.”
However, A3C is not without flaw. With its constant growth and expansion comes navigation issues for fans who find themselves conflicted between which acts to see at certain time.
“My only complaint with A3C is that it was too widespread out,” Rapper Luckey Cage said. “There is no way you can be at Star Bar, Terminal West and Masquerade at the same time.”
In an effort to combat missing their favorite artists at a festival whose grounds span across downtown Atlanta, many patrons are taking preemptive measures to map ut the artists they want to see ahead of time.
“Since it’s a festival, the first time we went we set up a plan,” Icon Studios Intern Kyle Smith said. “We looked at the app to see who we wanted to see and mapped it out to make sure we did not miss their performance. There so many people it impossible to see everyone.”
While the 2016 lineup has yet to be announced, tickets are currently on sale, with standard festival and conference passes starting at 144 dollars and VIP tickets starting at 299 dollars. VIP tickets receive exclusive access, private events, food & drinks, merchandise and additional amenities. Tickets are also available for people who only want to go to the festival as well as those only seeking to go to the conference. For more information, please visit www.a3cfestival.com and follow A3C on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.