In A Season of High Priced Tickets, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Stands Out
May 16, 2007 In less than a month the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival will be entering its third year. The Festival has made significant leaps from year two. For one, the event takes place over five days during the month of June (June 7th, 14th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd). It covers three venues, the powerHouse Arena, The Tobacco Warehouse, and Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. More than music, the Festival covers film (“Wild Style” screening on June 22nd), photography (“June 14th with Magnum Photos), cultural history (Stax 50th Anniversary, June 7th) as well as performances from Hip-Hop’s best and brightest (Saturday, June 23rd).
One thing remains constant in looking at the summer music schedule and makes the Festival stand out. The price. While ticket prices for Hip-Hop shows skyrocket into the hundreds of dollars the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival remains a free event. “To be honest this year we are asking for a $5 donation to help us offset costs but yes, we are still a completely free event,” writes Ebonie Jackson, General Manager and CFO for The Room Service Group one of the producers of the Festival. Ebonie is responsible for watching the money for RSG and its creative department Brooklyn Bodega. “It is tough keeping the Festival free but that is what the mission is and we have done well to stay true to our vision,” Jackson added.
The Festival is completely funded by corporate sponsorship, Brooklyn Bodega members, public donations and its producers, Brooklyn Bodega, The Room Service Group, Seven Heads Entertainment, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy, and powerHouse Arena.
“It’s great to see so many good shows around the city this summer. You have Rock The Bells bringing a tremendous show to Randall’s Island. Common is playing SummerStage, Mos and Kweli will be at the Highline [Ballroom], but we have been hearing a lot of feedback from our members thanking us for producing a show they can actually afford,” Wes Jackson, Festival Chair and president of The Room Service Group. “I can look at the lineups and completely understand the reason for the $50 or $80 ticket. Business is business. And if that is what the artist demands then what can you do? The other side of that argument is you price out so many people. Young people, families and everyone just trying to make ends meet are going to have a tough time fitting that ticket into their budget. But you know those shows and the Summer Jams sell out so they are clearly operating within market constraints. We like how we have positioned our BHF [Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival] brand. Economical, quality, long tail talent in a low stress atmosphere. Beautiful venue. Great energy.”
Despite the low price the Festival has been able to attract A level talent. From Lupe Fiasco to this year’s headliner Ghostface. Festival Director Alma Geddy-Romero, “Our ticket is not only affordable but as strong as anything else this summer. We have all sat around and complained about how unfair it is that this or that artist doesn’t get the right push. How sub par talent with gigantic marketing budgets flood the airwaves while the little guy drowns. We put our money, figuratively and literally where our mouth is. Now that young kid in Farragut [Projects] can walk down the street and see a great show for free.”
Tickets to the June 21st and June 23rd dates are free but you must be a member of Brooklyn Bodega. To join visit www.brooklynbodega.com. The other dates are free but capacity is limited.
Participating artists include: Ghostface, Consequence, Emily King, Skillz, The Large Professor, Dres, El Michels Affair, Tanya Morgan, Uncle Ralph McDaniels, and others.
The 3rd annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is produced by Brooklyn Bodega, The Room Service Group, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy, and in conjunction with powerHouse Books.
Adult beverages provided The Brooklyn Brewery.