A Web site is promoting the return of Freaknik to Atlanta this April, but city officials say there’s no permit application and they don’t expect the event to happen.
“I don’t believe it will materialize and it’s not my intention for the city to be supportive of it,” Mayor Kasim Reed said.
“We have too many challenges in the public safety space to deploy those kinds of resources around a program or an event that is not well run or well managed,” he added. “To create a festival over the Internet is something I’m not comfortable in doing when I have a police force that is extraordinarily stretched.”
“The Official Atlanta Freaknic Site” says the event will be held April 16-18 in Washington Park. It was not immediately clear who is the organizer.
Freaknik started in 1983 as a small picnic for college students who could not afford to go home during spring break. By the mid-1990s, more than 200,000 students, predominantly from historically black colleges and universities, were flocking to Atlanta. The massive street party caused traffic gridlock and was marred by incidents of women being taunted and groped.
Freaknik ended in 1999 after the city and police imposed major restrictions.
Councilman Ivory Young said he was unaware of the online effort until a TV reporter asked him about it Tuesday.
“The city of Atlanta should be equipped and prepared to handle any crowd of folks who want to come to Atlanta, stay in our hotels, spend money in our restaurants and take advantage of our entertainment venues,” Young said.
“But Freaknik as it was previously defined can’t work for Atlanta,” he added. “The blatant disrespect that was shown to women and the general mayhem that seemed to become a part of the event is not something that’s acceptable to any city.”