There seems to be a bit of a skirmish over who’s behind the effort to bring Freaknik back to Atlanta this April.
Earlier this week, the AJC reported a new website, “The Official Atlanta Freaknic Site” that says the event will be held April 16-18 in Washington Park. It’s not immediately clear who is the organizer. City officials told the AJC no application has been submitted for a permit.
Atlanta resident DaVinci Barcelo talked to several news outlets including the AJC and he called that website a fraud.
Barcelo said he’s filed an application with the city’s recreation and park’s department and is working with Atlanta Police to hold Freaknik April 16, 17 in Cleophus Johnson Park.
Barcelo said the event is going to be an alcohol-free picnic for college kids to socialize. But he’s also working with clubs to help host nighttime events that weekend as well.
“I want to make it clear, I’ve been working with people … I want to make this a legitimate thing for the city,” said Barcelo, an event promoter and manager of small businesses and restaurants in the city.
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 people, including many students from black colleges and universities from all over the country, 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.
Meanwhile, Barcelo said the event is going to happen “with or without the city.”
As for the person behind the other website, Barcelo said he’s willing to work with him “if he goes through the proper channels.”
“He has drive, I respect that,” Barcelo said. “But I haven’t slept in three days. I’m completely wide-open on No-Doz and Starbucks.”