Mostly Mozart Festival 2012 Finale
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2012

Afropunk Festival 2012

afropunk fest 2012Let's start with the positives: last weekend's Afropunk Fest brought together one of the most heterogeneous audiences I've ever seen for two days of live music, skateboarding, and other diversions in Commodore Barry Park—an underused lot in the shadow of both the projects and the BQE. The vibe was friendly, with hipsters, punks, whites, blacks, and everyone else hugging, vamping, and horsing around with each other. And the music—what I saw of it—was generally high quality, spanning everything from guitar rock to R&B and hip-hop. (It wasn't immediately clear what qualifies as "Afropunk," other than the pre-requisite that there be at least one African-American in the band.)

Unfortunately, organizers seemed woefully unprepared for the crush of people who came out for the free event, on one of the nicest weekends of the year. Crowd control was virtually nonexistent, with huge lines at the entrances and bottlenecks at the gates connecting the two stages. Set changeovers took longer than they should have, capped off by an hour-long wait for Eyrkah Badu's closing set on the Green Stage Saturday night. (I didn't wait around.) And, by the time I arrived on Sunday, security had shut down the gates entirely. "Maybe we'll start letting people in again in an hour," one of them shouted, a bit too aggressively. I have no idea whether or not that actually happened: by then, I was already comfortably back in Park Slope.

Which is too bad, because from all reports, Janelle Monae and TV on the Radio finished things off with a bang Sunday night. Guess I'll try to get there a bit earlier next year.

afropunk fest 2012

More pics on the photo page.