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2014 SXSW Music Festival - Day 2

Source: Daniel Boczarski / Getty

Word on the Tweets is, people are upset about AfroPunk charging this year. Peep some of the tweets:

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People have valid points. On one hand this could mean that  AfroPunk will lose it’s authenticity since that often seems to happen in cases like this, where small businesses begin expansion. On the other hand, AfroPunk is a business that needs to sustain itself in order to continue so, shouldn’t we support that mission for the sake of authenticity?

I’m  conflicted.  But surely we saw this coming. Right?

I went last year for the first time, and the general public was forced to pay paid the “suggested donation” of $10, and even then, my friends who had been going to the festival for years balked about it, saying that this was the beginning of the end. This year, tickets will cost $40 for a day’s admission, $70 for the weekend, and $130-$225 for VIP tickets.

I get why all the new charges have been made. Like I said, it’s a business as well as a large event that requires a lot of time and resources, so costs must be offset and profits made if this is to continue.

I had always admired the AfroPunk Festival from afar since the very beginning. Every year, I’d resolve to go to the festival but the timing was never right. Last year, when I realized that I could go,  I was apprehensive at first, because I felt that I had missed it in its prime. My cynical theory was that since it was in its 10th year, it wouldn’t be enjoyable because it would most likely be overrun by pretentious scenesters and posers who probably weren’t even familiar with or couldn’t care less about the acts. However, I went anyway, and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. I didn’t feel the pretentious energy that I initially anticipated. The energy felt positive, I got to see singers I adored like, Valerie June and Lianne La Havas, and I shopped the marketplace, which was a lot more exceptional than what I usually expected at events like this in NYC.

I do plan to attend this year’s festival again–not as press, but as a paying ticket holder, because I like the AfroPunk institution. But I can’t help but wonder if this does actually mean that we have reached the end of all the things we loved about AfroPunk.

More people attending often means more exposure and eventually, the Hollywood folks and the Columbuses will arrive. We’ve seen this happen often (*coughs Grits and Biscuits). It’s a lot like gentrification. You know, a neighborhood that has been cool forever gets “discovered” all of a sudden and then wackness ensues once the original authenticity gets completely stamped out. Yeah, scary thought.

But I’m going  to quiet my cynical mind for now and prepare to be amazed by Muvah Grace Jones. If this is the beginning of the end, I’d like to experience it in at least one more time. And if this is the beginning of something bigger and better, then right on too. I have yet to see anything to convince me otherwise so I’m still there for now.

How do you feel about AfroPunk charging? Are we doomed?

 

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