Well y’all, A3C 2012 is upon us. A3C stands for "All Three Coasts" and is the largest hip hop festival in the Southeastern United States. Every year, thousands of hip hop fans from across the U.S. (and some international ones too) flock to Atlanta, Georgia for three days of non-stop, exciting activities and events based on hip hop culture.
This will be the third year I’ve attended A3C and let me tell y’all, each year is better than the last. It’s so cool to be surrounded by folks who appreciate the art and beauty of hip hop culture as much as I do. Every year, after a couple of days of partaking in the festivities, I’ve learned something new on how to appreciate the event even more. So this year I decided to write a post on how to best survive A3C and have fun, with five easy tips.
This list is in no particular order. Again I repeat, cause y’all never seem to get that so I’ll type it in caps: THIS LIST IS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.
1. Keep A Small Container Of Hand Sanitizer On You At All Times.
A3C is the type of event that always brings out your favorite big name artists, indie/blog rappers, new media personalities, hipster chicks, fashion kids, fans and folks whose business caters to the music industry. While you’re out in the streets of Atlanta you never know who you’ll run into.
Last year I was sitting in the main hotel lobby at 9 o’clock in the morning (I’m an early bird) and No Malice walked through solo on his way to breakfast.
And I just so happened to have a copy of his book Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked in my backpack. Random moments like this will probably happen to you too.
During A3C you’ll literally be running into and meeting people all weekend. A standard hip hop greeting includes a dap or a pound. Think about all the hands you’ll be shaking and people you’ll be meeting. And since you most likely won’t have ready access to water and soap, hand sanitizer is a great alternative. Alcohol hand-rubs have been shown to reduce the rate of infection and transmission between folks. This means you’ll be less likely to catch a cold from your favorite rapper.
Don’t overlook this important tip y’all! After an awesome weekend of hip hop fun you don’t want one of the after effects to include a bad cold or the flu.
2. Download The Uber App For Your Android Or iPhone. (Dang. It looks like RIM aka Blackberry loses again).
Parking at the Masquerade is expensive. Hold up, parking in Atlanta period is expensive. Everywhere you will go downtown and around during A3C, you’re going to have to pay for parking.
Going to the New Era store for Chris Webby’s Meet & Greet? You’ll have to pay for parking. Going down to Little 5 Points to check out Gunplay and Trae The Truth? You’ll have to pay for parking. Going to The Plaza Theater to watch the screening of Beat Street? You’ll have to pay for parking. Going to the store for a run "right quick"? You’ll have to pay for parking, again, when you get back. Trust. Those parking fees add up quick. No need to drive if you don’t have to.
Be clear, A3C does offer a free shuttle. But you’ll have to keep up with the schedule. There’ll also be times when you’re just ready to go and don’t want to have to stand around another 20-30 minutes for the next shuttle run.
For 2012, Uber is offering four free rides to or from the Masquerade. On demand! You can download the Uber app from the AppStore on your iPhone or Google Play on your Android and then setup an account. After that enter the promo code UberA3C and request a ride.
The first year I went to A3C the set I really wanted to see the most was Killer Mike. He was scheduled to perform on the 2 Dope Boyz stage. Well like performances tend to do, the prior sets all ran over. Much to the crowd’s disappointment, it was announced that Killer Mike’s set had to be cut for some silly reason I can’t even remember. I do remember folks booing real loud though.
Anyway, after I left the 2DB stage and while waiting on the shuttle (see tip #2 above) some 40 minutes later, I was scrolling my Twitter #A3C feed and saw an announcement: "Killer Mike’s performance has been re-scheduled! Come to the Perfect Attendance stage now!" Word? Word!
Thanks to social media and it’s instananeous and continuous news feed, I was able to go and partake in the Grind Time Rap Gang general’s performance. I actually ended up being disappointed, one reason being he didn’t perform enough of my favorite tracks.
The point here is the A3C staff post and RT important information during the festival on the A3C timeline. Attendees post news as well. In 2011 on the night Big K.R.I.T. headlined, parking was so scarce that folks left their cars in various non-A3C related business parking lots (without paying for parking, see tip #2 above). Subsequently a lot of cars started getting towed. Guess where the news initially got posted (even before announcements were made over the loud speakers)?
4. Don’t Geek Out When You See Your Favorite Rapper For The First Time.
This really should be self explanatory but still needs to be reiterated. You’ll be seeing famous people all weekend (see tip #1 above). Your favorite rapper will be meeting hundreds of their #1 fans all weekend. Don’t act like a 12 year old girl (fellas, yes this applies to you too) when you run into your favorite artist. They will appreciate it if you just act regular and show some respectful love. Especially if you’re in a crowded area and there are still more folks for them to greet.
And for the love of common courtesy, if your favorite artist looks like they don’t want to be bothered, just keep it moving.
5. Relax And Have Fun!
A3C only happens once a year. Some of the biggest names in hip hop will be in Atlanta to participate or attend the event. It is one of the coolest hip hop events in the United States. Take a few minutes, several times a day, to review the official A3C Hip Hop Festival schedule and/or A3C Official Pocket Guide Book. Oh yeah, that could have been another tip. Either keep a copy of the guide on you at all times or download the app. For 2012, in addition to performances, there will be battles, panels, a film screening and multiple special events.
Even though you may plan out your day ahead of time, another cool event may catch your eye. Don’t stress out over the fact that you can’t go to everything. There is literally so much to do, it’s no way for one person to go to every single activity. There will be many times where you’ll want to be in four places at once. It’s not possible so don’t even worry about it.
Appreciate the fact that you were able to attend A3C, experience hip hop culture in it’s many forms and make memories that will hopefully last a lifetime. YOLO!
5 Bonus Ultimate A3C Hip Hop Festival Survival Tips:
6. Carry cash.
7. Be sure to stay hydrated (with water).
8. Make sure your phone is fully charged before leaving your hotel/crash spot.
10. Wear comfortable shoes.