Every passing year seems to bring us closer to the pinnacle of festival fatigue. Stories abound, as summer winds down to a cooling close, of toxically branded events, problems with outdoor sound quality, some prick on just a bit too much coke walking past you and friends and knocking a drink out of your hand "for a laugh" while portable toilets lose their ability to deal with all the human waste poured inside them. If you're not careful, you can find yourself wondering why you paid the money for the ticket at all, when you could have been partying somewhere in an actual city then going to sleep on a bed frame and mattress in a house made of bricks, and not on a sagging blow-up bed shoved inside several sheets of nylon stitched together and pegged into the earth.
But then there is an event like Afropunk. Matthew Morgan and James Spooner started the festival in Brooklyn, making a nod to Spooner's 2003 documentary of the same name. By the time it expanded, to Atlanta, Paris in 2015, then London in 2016, Afropunk had earned a reputation as a place for black and POC misfits and radicals and distressingly well-dressed people to come together and celebrate being part of a subculture that was hard to pin down or name. It was the place for people who may have been called Oreos or coconuts in school, for being "too white" for the black kids and too black for the white ones, or just those who listened everything from Suicide to SZA and Shabazz Palaces.
This year the festival returns to London for the second year running, moving from Alexandra Palace to Printworks over the weekend of Saturday, July 22 to Sunday, July 23. And the lineup's looking set on taking your money, with Thundercat, Little Simz, Nao, Nadia Rose, Danny Brown, Kojey Radical, JME, and Lianne La Havas among those confirmed to play (so far—there are more names due, with a space blocked out for an as-yet-unknown "special guest"). The weekend is also due to see DJ sets from Radio 1's Clara Amfo, Hannah Faith, Radio 1Xtra's Jamz Supernova, and DJs from UK-based platform for and by women of color, gal-dem. We were at Afropunk last year, chatting to duo Ho99o9 and capturing some of the streets style lewks, so will see you down the front again this time. Tickets are still on sale, though early bird ones have sold out. When taking stuff like this is into consideration, festivals aren't half bad after all, eh? Peep the line-up poster below:
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