ATL WKNDR 2013: SIX DAYS OF A WEEKEND
Ah, the end of Summer. While the rest of you are lamenting the loss of sand and surf time, I’ve been waiting for the air to chill and the leaves to change color. Boot Season is my time of year… So, what better way than to kick things into autumn than a festival?
I’ve done some traveling in 2013: WMC (Miami) in March and Southport Weekender (UK) in May and now House in the Park (Atlanta Weekender) and then Mi Casa Holiday Season Finale (Mexico) scheduled for October. Each of these events is well established, run by crews who have been doing so for years: well versed in what it takes to make such an undertaking successful and above board. This being my second attendance at HITP I wanted to make sure to take advantage of the full experience, the Atlanta Weekender 2013 Experience. I purchased the Atlanta Weekender Full Experience Pass, which offers a full weekend pass starting with Thursday, August 29,2013 through Sunday’s House in the Park After party event. The standard ATLANTA WEEKENDER PASS ran $35, with the upgrade, THE ATLANTA WEEKENDER FULL EXPERIENCE PASS, an additional $15. I admit it: I wanted the T shirt AND the CD… I went VIP baby!
In July, the City of Atlanta officially declared September 1, 2013 “House in the Park Day” and presented founder, Ramon Rawsoul with the official proclamation. That’s monumental, to say the least. To have your efforts recognized not only by your community, but by those who officiate over your community says volumes about the efforts put into this undertaking.
This was my second visit to Atlanta for HITP. So, here’s how it went:
Disclaimer: I originally wanted to put this piece out as a weekend series. Turns out that each day was so intermingled that I couldn’t possibly do the “six days of a weekend” justice unless the piece was posted as a single reading.
Day 1 – Arrival in ATL
Flight was delayed – no reason given (of course). But, who am I to complain about an hour and a half flight for a six day weekend?
Met by friends I spent the weekend with, we’d been planning this for months, maybe even since WMC (Miami).
Dinner: $5 Crab leg special. Simple, delicious and satisfying, it was just what the doctor ordered.
Next up: LOVESEXY- The Prince Tribute Party at Sound Table, falling in love with Prince all over again. Picked up the weekend passes. Partied until 3 am. Salah Ananse on the decks, Purple Rain projected on the stone wall of Space 2 of Sound Table, EARGASMS MJ Tribute (DJ Jaycee) in Space 1 of The Sound Table, back patio a blend of everyone catching up with everyone down for the weekend.
I picked up the weekend pass, distributed by Nina Ananse, one of the organizers of ATLWKNDR. The pass provided entries to all the weekend parties, ATLWKNDR 2013 & 2012 T-shirts and CDs, which was worth every penny.
Caught up with amazing spirits, made new friends, fell in love with Prince again. A successful night, to say the least.
Day 2 – Recovery and then
Coffee was my best friend. Better than my best friend. Spent the day letting friends know I was in town and making plans to meet up for dinner or at House in the Park. The evening promised to be another incredible adventure with SPACE 1 (The Sound Table) hosting DISTINCTIVE (10PM-3AM), with Kai Alcé & Special Guest: MOODYMANN and SPACE 2 (The Sound Table) hosting AFRIQUE ELECTRIQUE x HONEY SWEET (10PM-3AM), with Salah Ananse & Guests: JOSH MILAN & SABINE BLAIZIN and live performances by Atlanta’s own Miranda Nicole and Roland Clark. As if that wasn’t enough, AIM STUDIO (383 Marietta St.) hosted the after party, FREE UR SOUL (2AM-UNTIL) with DJ Yusef, DJ Doc and Kevin Latham.
The dawn came too quickly. To say that these DJs brought it would be an understatement. Sabine brought her fresh perspective to the decks as only she can, Salah teased and cajoled, seduced and teased some more. Josh Milan made that floor hummmm. The dance floor came alive and stayed that way from the first beat drop to the dirty looks from the overworked bartender trying to get everyone out so he could sneak a couple of ZZZs under the bar.
Day 3 – I’m home
With a break for a shower, breakfast and coffee, the day party kicked off at 2 pm. It felt WMC-ish, with one party starting just as another seemed to end and then from day to night just music all around. PASSPORT: The International Day Party featured KING DEETOY (South Africa), DEEP JUST AQUABEAT, BE, PHAZE and LOX. I’d never seen King Deetoy play live and it was a treat. The vibe flowed well between all the DJs. Carlos Mena, who was scheduled to play at the Secrets late night underground party, stopped through and hung out.
SPACE 2 (The Sound Table) hosted SOUL STAGE from 7PM-9PM. Set up of the live band came complete with dancers still on the dance floor. It flowed until everyone was ready. The event was hosted by ANTHONY DAVID and featured KHARI CABRAL and SA-ROC with live performances.
Taking a break for dinner; Space 1 had the most incredible Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower small plate, grits and brisket entree and steak tartar tacos that, simply put, were finger lickin’ good!
After freshening up, it was back to SPACE 2 for SPREAD LOVE SPECIAL EDITION with DJ Kemit & KCiv (The Fela Edit King) and SPACE 1 SOUL IN THE HOLE with SADAR BAHAR
Aside from the full dance card of the ATLWKNDR, DJs Yusef and Fyre and special guest Carlos Mena (Ocha Records) played the Secrets party at Aphrodisiac Natural Hair Salon. This underground spot has the look and feel of a huge loft space set up just for the type of “caliente” vibe that it brought.
Needless to say: 4 am swept in fast… the Secrets party was still going.
Day 4 – House in the Park
September 1, 2013 House in the Park celebrated 9 years of community love. The 2013 Free outdoor event found home for a second year in Grant Park, having outgrown previous venues. Two of the three pavilions served as DJ booth and covered dance floors. The event even offered VIP Packages, catering to those who wanted to “enjoy House in the Park in style”. In true outdoor festival style, food trucks and a variety of vendors made appearances.
HITP officially kicked off at noon, with background music playing prior to that for patrons who were setting up tents and preparing for the back and forth of family and friends. Veterans of HITP were out as early as 8 am in order to get the best parking and real estate available. I was fortunate enough to be with the same group of family and friends as my last visit to HITP in 2011.
This event may be in Atlanta every year, but it certainly has national House community support. Representing house were visitors from Chicago, Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. This was House without borders. The music eliminated every possible degree of separation.
As the day progressed, the crowd grew and the sun turned to rain. As with my last experience, the rain did little or nothing to deter these die hard house heads. It was quite a sight to see so many people cooking, chatting or dancing with umbrellas or just out in the open.
The music was provided by the dynamic residents of House in The Park: RAMON RAWSOUL, KAI ALCE, DJ KEMIT and SALAH ANANSE. Dignitaries of House included Ron Trent, who closed out the weekend at the HITP after party, Carlos Mena, Josh Milan and on and on. Everyone got their dance on. The sun went down, and people were still dancing. The crowd in the pavilions screaming could be heard at the street level. The energy was fun, thrilling, open and loving.
As if the weekend was packed with enough, the Brooklyn NY born Ron Trent blessed THE HOUSE IN THE PARK AFTER-PARTY at Space 2 to close out the weekend.
Day 5 – What day is it? Where are the Bloody Mary and my sunglasses?
As if the weather knew everyone needed a chance to recuperate, the sun hid out for the better part of the day, making an appearance mid afternoon. The toughest decisions of the day were where and when to have dinner. There really wasn’t energy for much else. Pictures, thanks, and videos made the social media buzz.
Day 6 – Return home – Properly Housed
So there you are: Atlanta weekender in six days. I’ll be back.
As with all the festivals I attend, I encourage everyone to attend at least once. Not sure if it’s for you? Do it anyway. If a festival has been around five, six, seven, twenty years, they’re doing something right.
To keep House in the Park a free event, organizers are keeping things simple. Donate. Volunteer. Support the vendors. In order to keep it part of the community, the community needs to be part of the experience.
Learn more about House in the Park
Check out HITP on Facebook
Here is a taste of the experience. Click play and relive those moments you never knew you loved.
Videos provided by Deique Blue (Deique Bleu Recordings)