Known for its conference just as much as it is its music programming, the A3C Festival brings forth artists and industry personal alike across North America for five days of networking, learning, exchanging music and fanning out to the headliners. For their 13th annual festival. A3C programming once again took over Atlanta, balancing both southern talents and OGs and introducing new names to be aware of.
Whether it was a conference featuring the likes of the Goodie Mob or Motown VP Ethiopia Habtemariam, or the live podcasts shows like Its The Real or even the massively important Action Summit across the street from the conference centre, the days of A3C were packed with knowledge before settling into the showcase-filled nights, parties and even a Wu-Tang art museum.
It’s incredible that over the course of 4 days, a festival can not only educate, but also create a platform to start using that education immediately. The music incubator, also open throughout the week of the festival, allowed artists to do everything from take headshots and review their social media to learning about YouTube analysts and how to master a beat. What would generally cost a single artist thousands of dollars was Free99 — and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what #DoingItForTheCulture actually means. As the educational programming closed out the week, the weekend lead everyone to the Georgia Freight Depot grounds to see an array of artists, including its headliners, Wu-Tang Clan, Dipset and, even if briefly, Lil Wayne*. But the grounds also allowed for women to take over, and the festival, unlike many with similar concepts and programming, actually balanced out their performers in gender. While the headliners were by all means male, moments where Trina crowd-surfed or Talib Kweli bringing out K’Valentine to perform, Young M.A. bodying the stage or Saweetie dancing her way through her set were equally as exciting and unforgettable.
It’s hard to encapsulate everything that happens at A3C, but what we can conclude is that this is, without a doubt, one of the most important festivals in the hip-hop community for artists, managers, journalists, promoters and anyone who just loves this culture fully and purely.
**Editor’s Note: On the last night of A3C, an incident occurred on the grounds where Lil Wayne’s set was cut short due to safety reasons just after 15 minutes. Despite our team being stretched out in front of the stage, we managed to leave the grounds safely [although, my AWOK AJ1s x Vogue kicks did get wildly scuffed, sigh]. This moment isn’t a reflection of A3C, its staff or the 12 years of incident free years prior to this. We love y’all.
Gallery Shot By Tse Daniel.
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.