Rounding out the mayhem of NYC’s resurgence of live music festivals is the Afro-punk Fest, that was held this past Saturday and Sunday.

How on earth a festival that draws 40,000 people and has been going strong for 8 years and is still under the radar is beyond me.  New Yorkers love discovering something new that is off the chain. This is it.

The 2012 Afro-punk festival was a combination of street and pipe skateboarding and BMX competition, graffiti, motorcycles, local style crafts, oodles of food trucks, picnicking, VIP areas and world class musicians at the epicenter of the bleeding edge of hip (between the Navy Yard, Forte Green and Williamsburg).   

The cherry on this patchwork of over the top cool was that it was free and all ages.

With so much going on, you may almost overlook the amazing line-up: TV on the Radio, Erykah Badu, Gym Class Heroes, Janelle Monae, Das Racist, Toro Y Moi, Reggie Watts, Spank Rock, Ninjasonik, The Memorials, Bad Rabbits, Gordon Voidwell, Cerebral Ballzy, Phony Ppl, Body Language and many more.

Of everything going on, what may have been the most inspiring were the people in attendance.  People of every color decked out in unique displays of individual fashion that puts to shame the Williamsburg hipsters and the burning man style look-a-likes and more black people with mo-hawks than you could shake a stick at. Our hats off to the main sponsor Nike, who stepped in to assure that the Afro-punk Fest was able to happen again this year after getting cancelled by last year’s hurricane Irene.

Saturday night’s headlining star was Erykah Badu.  She showcased her raw artistry to her legions of young and old fans with the acumen of veteran musician who can restructure songs on the fly for a fresh feeling to familiar songs.  Erykah further whipped the crowd into a frenzy by bringing stage Brooklyn native Mos Def to perform alongside her for on song.  

Saturday’s magic left everyone excited for another day of Afro-punk! And what a Sunday it was…..TV on the Radio closed out the fest with a high octane sonic blast of melody, rhythm and passion that met the full force of the amped up crowd and delivered them a musical sermon to remember for life.

The countdown has already begun for Afro-punk Fest 2013.  As they say, “The cats out of the bag.”

– Jeffery Owens

Watch TV On The Radio performing “Wolf Like Me”

Watch Erykah Badu with surprise Mos Def performance

Photos by Ava Fedorov and Jeffery Owens

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