“Freaknik” Threatens to Return in 2010

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The once-popular Black college spring break event “Freaknik” is nearing a possible return to Atlanta.

“The Official Atlanta Freaknic Site” is claiming the return of the event from April 16 through April 18, but the city has not received a permit application and city officials are not convinced the event will 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 told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “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. 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.”

However, Atlanta event promoter and restaurant manager DaVinci Barcelo claimed the Web site was a fraud and that he’d already filed an application with the city’s park and recreation department to hold an alcohol-free Freaknik event near downtown Atlanta.

Barcelo told the Journal-Constitution that the event would be intended as a venue for college kids to socialize in the daytime, but was hoping for nightclub promoters to host events to work in concert with his plan.

“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.

According to the Journal-Constitution¸ Freaknik began in 1983 as a small picnic for college students staying in the city during spring break. However, the event grew to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Atlanta through the 1990s, until it ended in 1999 after city and police enacted major restrictions.

Barcelo said he’s willing to work with the person behind the other Freaknik Web site to resurrect the event and that Freaknik will happen “with or without the city.”