The Top 5 Ultimate A3C (@A3C) Hip Hop Festival Survival Tips #A3C (Updated for 2013!)

A3CHipHopFestival2013 (@A3C)

Well y’all, the air is getting cooler and it’s almost time to break out the butter Timbs and triple fat gooses. Better still, A3C Hip Hop Festival 2013 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 back to back days of non-stop, exciting activities and events based on hip hop culture.

This will be the forth year I’ve attended A3C and let me tell y’all, every 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. Last year, I blogged a post on how to best survive A3C and have fun, with five easy tips. The A3C Festival actually tweeted out the post was a “must read”.

So in honor of 2013’s festivities being right around the corner, I decided to bring back the idea and update it for 2013.

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 had to run back to our car and OG Michael “5000” Watts walked past me solo on the way to his car.

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 Festival’s Google Map For Your Android Or iPhone and Learn The Shuttle Routes.

Parking at the Melia (the main event hotel) 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 Melia Hotel for the Bars Dripping in Ink: A look into the World of Tattoos and Hip Hop event? You’ll have to pay for parking. Going down to Spring4thCenter for HipHopNHipsters to check out Shawn Chrystopher, Clear Soul Forces and Willie The Kid? You’ll have to pay for parking. Going to the QUAD for Capital Hill to check out Fat Trel (with his pretty eyes), Shy Glizzy and Nickelus F? 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. Bruh, parking has got to be the biggest hustle in Atlanta.

A3C offers two free shuttles. Also, Keep the Festival’s Google Map handy. Trust me when I tell y’all, with so many events happening simultaneously at so many spots, you’ll find the map very useful for getting where you need to be quickly.

3. Follow A3C On Twitter (@A3C), Instagram and Save hashtag #A3C As A Twitter Search.

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, its 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, the main reason being he didn’t perform enough of my favorite tracks.

The point here is the A3C staff post and retweet 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. And this is one tip that I’m going to post again year after year. You’ll be seeing famous people literally 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 (which will be available at the gate). Oh yeah, that could have been another tip. Keep a copy of the guide on you at all times.

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!

Six 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.

9. Network.

10. Wear comfortable shoes.

11. Speaking of comfortable shoes, DO NOT wear your favorite or most rare dunks! There are literally 1000s of people at A3C. Your sneakers WILL get stepped on!

The above are just a couple of items that I’ve noticed and kept track of over the years. What about y’all though? Are there any A3C Festival attendance additional tips you’d like to share?

I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment below, Tweet me @nancioishiphop or drop an email to

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