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Freaknik Returns To Atlanta For One Day

(Left to Right) Shenisha Williams, Tamika Gresham and Echols Hood were a few of the attendees that came out to Freaknik 2019.
(Left to Right) Shenisha Williams, Tamika Gresham and Echols Hood were a few of the attendees that came out to Freaknik 2019.
Credit Lauren Booker / WABE
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90’s nostalgia was in full effect this weekend.

Rain or shine, Freaknik, one of the most renowned and notorious events in Atlanta, was revived again — in a different form — after the original event ended in 1999.

Related: A Look At The Phenomenon Of Freaknik As An Organizer Tries To Revive It

Event organizers After 9 Partners LCC were expecting a major turn out, but declined to comment the day of the event. More than 40,000 Facebook users posted that they were interested in attending the revived event.

Their event isn’t the first in the years since the original ended to use the name, and it didn’t bear many similarities to the old Freaknik. It was planned to be contained in one centralized location for one day, the Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood on Saturday from 1 to 11 p.m. The venue is the site for concerts in the city for artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Thomas Rhett.

Past Freakniks, from the late 80s through the 90s, were known for spanning the city and  cruising — or driving around slowly — on highways and roads. Some revelers back then would hop out of their cars to dance and socialize on Atlanta’s streets, such as Roswell Road and Marietta Street.

As the old Freaknik was anything but contained, much of it was free, from hanging out in parks to partying on streets. For this year’s event, tickets are priced from $61 to $160 through Live Nation.

Organizers of the Freaknik event wrote on their Facebook event page that this is the only official Freaknik Festival happening on June 22. But some other events have popped up online that bear the same name, such as a Freaknik produced by iFreaknik.com happening in Southbend Park.

But this one tools things old school, with Juvenile, Trina, Uncle Luke and other hip artists set to perform during the festival.

Georgia native Andrea Ludaway said this is her first Freaknik, and she came to the event to see Atlanta performers, such as Lil Scrappy, live.

“Freaknik 2019. It’s going down today,” Andrea Ludaway said. (Photo credit: Lauren Booker)

Ako Spriggs, 48, said he didn’t come to this year’s Freaknik for the lineup. While he didn’t plan to stay any longer than an hour, he said that he wanted to experience the atmosphere.

“It feels like a reunion,” Spriggs said. “I wanted a chance to see what it would be like.”

He went to Freaknik in 1993 and 1994. He describes the one in ’94 as being “incredible.” Back then he said he would cruise the city with his friends and go to parks, such as Mozley Park and Grant Park.

“People all over the nation came to Atlanta and it was gridlocked,” he said. “It was a great time. I was younger. I was 23. I hadn’t grown up yet. I’m 48, and I thought, for old time’s sake, I’d check it out.”

Severe thunderstorms brought heavy rains down on the crowds, but attendees stuck around under concession stand roofs, amphitheater’s covering.

During the day, a musical artist competition called “Freaknik’s Last Independent Artist” was planned to happen. The winner, according to organizers, was to be featured on the Freaknik Festival website and have a chance to get a track created.

Mercedes Robinson, whose artist name is Kimistry, came to Freaknik to perform for the talent contest. She said that this is her first Freaknik and has heard of the past event from people in her hometown in Michigan.

Mercedes Robinson and Diamond Robinson pose at Freaknik 2019. (Photo credit: Lauren Booker)

“Whatever the outcome, I am glad to have the opportunity,” the rapper said.

Meanwhile, Spriggs said the event didn’t feel like it was on par with how Freaknik used to be because the “culture changed.” He doesn’t plan to come out to any future Freaknik events.

“So far it’s like any other concert … I’m sure it will not get as wild and crazy as ’94,” he said. “This will be it for me.”