Since the Hulu documentary had been making rounds across the internet, Freaknik, the 90s spring-break festival is back in action. The docuseries provides insights into the biggest cultural movement of its time and reminded fans of the full-blown music festival that lost its charm over the years.
What Is Freaknik?
Before we start talking about this crazy festival, it is only worth it to understand the meaning behind the word, Freaknik. The name of this 80s festival, originally known as Freaknic, is a combination of the words, “freak” and “picnic”.
Back in the 80s and 90s, the festival was known to be filled with music, sports and dancing. Primarily attended by historically black college students, the festival was first created by a club at Spelman College. The “freak” in this festival majorly meant sexual promiscuity.
The festival was all about concerts, rap sessions, film festivals, job affairs and dance concerts from 1983 to 1999. But then, it was shut down in 1999. But again, the festival emerged in 2019 as a “family-friendly” event. The festival was finally reworked into a 3-day event and focussed on some of the emerging artists.
Once a hub for black students who couldn’t afford to return home for spring break, soon became open to the general public as people from the United States, the Caribbean and Europe came in to participate.
The event became open to the general public, and people from the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe came to participate in it. In 1990, it was attended by 300,000, many of whom did not plan to attend Freaknic, compared to the previous year’s 80,000. In 1991, up to 350,000 people attended it.
Why Was Freaknik Shut Down?
Freaknik started in Atlanta, Georgia as an annual spring break festival. What started in a public park as a small picnic for students who couldn’t return home for spring break, later broke into a full-fledged music festival.
The festival became a haven for parties, booze, music and everything wild. While there wasn’t enough security in the 80s and 90s like it is today, drugs and alcohol led to a lot of facades. As the festival gained popularity, it turned into a hub for sexual assault.
Some women reported that they became victims of assault and rape whilst the madness. The Atlanta Committee for Black College Spring Break and police officials finally decided to put an end to the festival in the 90s. Back then, Committee chairman George Hawthorne stated:
“We cannot support events that bring lewd activities, sexual assaults, violence against women, and public safety concerns—firetrucks not being able to reach victims, and ambulances not being able to reach hospitals in a timely manner.”
In April 2010, Atlanta officials revealed: “There are no permitted Freaknic-related events inside the city limits.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also stated that “he will be tough and even sue organizers of any Freaknic-related activities who violate city guidelines.” As things became strict, the festival soon died down.
But again, after a 20-year-hiatus, the last official Freaknik is said to have taken place in 1999. Apart from this, a revamped Freaknik version was organised in June 2019, which welcomed hip-hop and R&B artist. The authorities also encouraged other activities, like community service events across Atlanta.
In 2020, the original event dubbed “Freak World”, took place at Morris Brown College in downtown Atlanta from June 19-21. Organizer Carlos Neal, who revamped the fest in 2019, stated that “40-50 music acts he expects to book will perform in the Greek Plaza – which holds about 15,000 people – and the renovated gym across the street from the plaza.”
Freaknik Remained Alive In Popular Culture…
Freaknik may have shut down, but the entertainment industry kept giving us glimpses of the festival via spoofs and television shows. In 2010, a one-hour special spoof, Freaknik: The Musical, aired on Adult Swim.
If you’ve watched the show “Popular”, you may recall the character Mary Cherry saying, “I went to Freaknik in hotlanta and turned the mother out.” She said it when she was grilled on her spring break activities. Season one of “True Life” also showcased the 1998 Freaknik. Not only this but the festival has also been referenced in various rap songs.
All About The Upcoming Hulu Documentary
If you have still missed all of the above, Hulu is producing a documentary, “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told”, which provides insights into the untold stories and moments from the wild festival.
Freaknik Fest also has an official Instagram page, where it shared a video about the hype surrounding the upcoming Hulu documentary. From commentary from a former Freaknik attendee to some never-heard-of moments, the documentary is surely worth a watch.
As for the question, when is “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told” releasing, there is no official press release or trailer. The documentary is supposed to come out in 2023, possibly in mid-April 2023.
Interestingly, this would mark the 40th anniversary of the 1994 Freaknik. We hope that this documentary opens the doors for a full-blown version of this festival once again. If you’ve freaked at the ’94 festival and if you’re reading this article, we’d love you to share your stories from the days in the comment box.