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Afropunk Festival 2018 Guide


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Hilary Simpkins



Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Afropunk Festival 2018! If you are a lover of arts, music, fashion, and culture, then this is an event you won’t want to miss. Bursting with creativity, diversity, and positive energy, the Afropunk Festival has become a global sensation, showcasing cutting-edge talent from the African diaspora and celebrating black culture in all its vibrant forms.


Initially launched in 2005 as a small gathering in Brooklyn, the Afropunk Festival has grown into a monumental movement that attracts thousands of attendees each year. What began as a space to amplify underrepresented voices in alternative music has now become a thriving platform for artists, activists, and trendsetters to express themselves freely and authentically.


The festival offers a dynamic blend of live performances, art exhibitions, fashion showcases, and thought-provoking discussions. It creates a unique environment where attendees can explore their identities, connect with like-minded individuals, and experience a sense of community like no other. It’s an immersive and unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impact on both the artists and the audience.


The Afropunk Festival is more than just a music festival; it is a movement that celebrates the power of self-expression, inclusivity, and social change. By combining music, art, and activism, the festival aims to challenge societal norms and promote a culture of acceptance and diversity.


In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the history of the Afropunk Festival, highlight the key features and attractions of the 2018 edition, provide information on tickets and accommodations, offer tips for attending, and much more. So, get ready to dive into the vibrant world of Afropunk and discover why it has become a cultural phenomenon!


History of Afropunk Festival

The Afropunk Festival has a rich history that dates back to its humble beginnings in 2005. Founded by James Spooner, a filmmaker, and Matthew Morgan, a music executive, the festival emerged as a response to the lack of representation of black people in the punk and alternative music scenes.


Spooner and Morgan envisioned a space where black artists, musicians, and fans could come together and express themselves authentically. They sought to create a platform that challenged the mainstream narrative and celebrated the diversity and creativity within black culture.


The first Afropunk Festival took place in Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park and featured a lineup of groundbreaking artists such as Saul Williams, Cody ChesnuTT, and J*Davey. The event attracted a small but passionate crowd who instantly connected with the festival’s message of empowerment and self-expression.


Over the years, the Afropunk Festival steadily grew in popularity, with attendees flocking from all corners of the globe to experience its unique atmosphere and eclectic lineup. The festival expanded beyond Brooklyn, with editions being held in cities like Atlanta, London, Paris, Johannesburg, and more.


What sets Afropunk apart from other music festivals is its commitment to showcasing artists who challenge conventions and push boundaries. The festival embraces a wide range of musical genres, including punk, rock, hip-hop, soul, reggae, and electronic. This diverse lineup attracts a diverse audience, creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.


However, Afropunk is not just about the music; it is a celebration of black culture in its entirety. The festival showcases the work of visual artists, hosts thought-provoking panel discussions on social issues, and uplifts the creativity of black designers through fashion showcases. All of these elements come together to create an immersive and transformative experience for attendees.


Today, the Afropunk Festival serves as a global movement that continues to grow and redefine itself with each passing year. It remains a powerful platform for marginalized voices, promoting unity, empowerment, and social change through the celebration of black culture.


Location and Dates

The Afropunk Festival is known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique locations. While the festival originated in Brooklyn and continues to have a strong presence there, it has expanded to other cities around the world, providing even more people with the opportunity to experience its magic.


The flagship Afropunk Festival takes place in Brooklyn, New York, where it all began. The festival has become an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric, drawing locals and visitors alike to its energetic and inclusive environment. The exact location within Brooklyn may vary from year to year, with past venues including Commodore Barry Park and Fort Greene Park. Brooklyn offers a vibrant backdrop that perfectly complements the festival’s celebration of black culture and artistic expression.


Aside from the Brooklyn edition, Afropunk has spread its wings to various other cities, both in the United States and internationally. Some of the cities that have hosted Afropunk events include Atlanta, London, Paris, Johannesburg, and many more. Each festival location brings its own unique flavor, showcasing local talent and contributing to the overall global movement of Afropunk.


As for the dates of the Afropunk Festival, they typically vary from year to year. The festival generally takes place over a weekend, allowing attendees to fully immerse themselves in the experience. While some cities may have specific recurring dates, it’s always a good idea to check the official Afropunk website or social media channels for the most up-to-date information on upcoming festival dates.


Attending the Afropunk Festival gives you the chance to not only explore different corners of the world but also to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for music, art, fashion, and social activism.


Whether you choose to attend the flagship festival in Brooklyn or explore the Afropunk experience in another city, you can expect to be part of a vibrant and inclusive community that values diversity and self-expression. The festival’s location and dates contribute to creating an atmosphere where attendees can revel in the celebration of black culture and explore the intersection of art and activism.



The Afropunk Festival is renowned for its impressive lineup of musicians and artists who showcase their talent and captivate audiences with their electrifying performances. Each year, the festival curates a diverse and eclectic mix of acts that represent the best of contemporary black music and culture.


From established artists to emerging talents, the Afropunk lineup spans across various genres, including punk, rock, hip-hop, soul, reggae, electronic, and more. The festival embraces both well-known names and underground sensations, providing a platform for artists of all backgrounds to shine.


One of the highlights of the Afropunk Festival is the range of headlining acts that take the stage. These artists are often influential figures who have made significant contributions to black music and culture. Past headliners have included the likes of Solange, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, CeeLo Green, Grace Jones, and Lenny Kravitz.


In addition to the headliners, the Afropunk lineup features a wealth of talented and up-and-coming artists who bring their unique sounds and styles to the festival. From dynamic bands with infectious energy to soulful singers with powerful vocals, there is always something for everyone to enjoy. The festival aims to showcase a diverse range of voices and perspectives, breaking down barriers and expanding the horizons of what is considered “black music.”


Furthermore, Afropunk offers a platform for local talent in each city where the festival is held. This gives attendees the opportunity to discover exciting new artists from the host city, adding an extra layer of authenticity and community to the lineup.


While the specific lineup for each edition of the Afropunk Festival varies, one thing remains consistent: the commitment to providing a memorable and inclusive experience for all. The festival prides itself on offering a mix of established acts and emerging artists, ensuring that attendees are exposed to a variety of musical styles and talents.


Whether you’re a fan of punk, rap, soul, or experimental sounds, the Afropunk lineup promises to deliver an unforgettable musical journey that transcends boundaries. It’s an opportunity to discover new favorites, connect with the artists you admire, and immerse yourself in a vibrant celebration of black music and creativity.


Tickets and Pricing

Tickets to the Afropunk Festival are highly sought after, as they provide access to one of the most vibrant and inclusive cultural events in the world. The festival offers various ticket options to cater to different budgets and preferences, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to join in the celebration.


General admission tickets are typically the most common option for attendees. These tickets provide access to all the performances, art exhibitions, and other activities taking place throughout the festival. General admission tickets often come in different tiers, with pricing varying based on factors such as early bird discounts, single-day versus weekend passes, and VIP upgrades.


In addition to general admission, the Afropunk Festival may offer VIP packages that provide enhanced experiences for attendees. VIP tickets often include perks such as expedited entry, exclusive viewing areas, private lounges, and access to artist meet-and-greets. These packages usually come at a higher price point but offer added convenience and luxury for those seeking a premium festival experience.


It’s important to note that ticket prices can fluctuate from year to year and vary depending on the city in which the festival is taking place. Additionally, early bird discounts and limited-time promotions may be available, so it’s wise to keep an eye out for any special offers.


When purchasing tickets for the Afropunk Festival, it’s recommended to buy directly from the official festival website or from approved ticketing partners. This ensures the legitimacy of your ticket and minimizes the risk of purchasing from unauthorized sources.


As the Afropunk Festival aims to be inclusive and accessible, organizers often work to keep ticket prices reasonable, offering value for the experience they provide. The festival is committed to making the event accessible to as many people as possible, recognizing the importance of celebrating black culture and offering a safe space for self-expression.


Whether you opt for general admission or a VIP package, purchasing a ticket to the Afropunk Festival opens the doors to a world of music, art, fashion, and activism. It’s an opportunity to connect with a diverse community and immerse yourself in the vibrant celebration of black culture that Afropunk represents.



When attending the Afropunk Festival, it’s important to consider your accommodations to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The festival takes place in various cities around the world, and each location offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets.


If you’re looking for convenience and proximity to the festival grounds, staying in a hotel near the festival venue is a popular choice. Many hotels offer special packages or discounts for festival attendees, so it’s worth exploring these options. Additionally, staying in a hotel provides amenities such as room service, housekeeping, and 24-hour reception, ensuring a stress-free stay.


For those seeking a more budget-friendly option or a unique experience, there are often alternative accommodations available. Renting an apartment or staying in a hostel can be a more affordable choice, allowing you to have your own space or connect with fellow festival-goers. Platforms like Airbnb offer a wide range of options, from private rooms to entire homes, giving you the flexibility to choose what suits your needs.


Another option for accommodations during the festival is camping. Some locations have designated camping areas near the festival grounds, providing a fun and communal experience. Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the festival atmosphere and connect with fellow campers. It’s important to research and plan ahead if you choose this option, as availability may be limited, and you may need to bring your own camping gear.


In addition to traditional accommodations, it’s worth considering the location of the festival when choosing where to stay. Some cities have vibrant neighborhoods that are known for their cultural charm and proximity to local attractions. Exploring these areas for accommodations can enhance your overall experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and extend your festival adventure beyond the grounds.


When booking accommodations, it’s advisable to do so well in advance, as availability can quickly fill up, especially during the festival period. Take note of any restrictions, cancellation policies, and amenities offered by the accommodation to ensure it meets your needs and expectations.


Regardless of the type of accommodations you choose, attending the Afropunk Festival provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and create lasting memories. Whether you prefer the comfort of a hotel, the affordability of a rented apartment, or the camaraderie of camping, finding the right accommodations will enhance your overall festival experience.


Food and Drinks

When attending the Afropunk Festival, you can expect to indulge in a culinary experience that is as diverse and exciting as the music and culture on display. The festival not only celebrates black music and art but also embraces the rich and vibrant flavors of black cuisine.


Within the festival grounds, you’ll find a wide array of food vendors offering a variety of mouthwatering dishes. From food trucks to pop-up stalls, the food options at Afropunk are known for their creativity, quality, and cultural diversity. You can expect to find everything from hearty comfort food to vegan and vegetarian options, reflecting the inclusivity that Afropunk promotes.


Many vendors at Afropunk are local businesses and entrepreneurs, giving attendees the chance to support and discover local flavors. This culinary aspect of the festival not only provides delicious sustenance but also becomes part of the overall cultural experience.


The diverse range of food at Afropunk extends beyond traditional festival fare. You can sample regional delicacies, fusion dishes, and international flavors from African, Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cuisines, among others. The festival celebrates the diversity of black culture by showcasing a global tapestry of flavors.


Alongside the delectable food options, you’ll find a variety of beverage choices to quench your thirst at Afropunk. From refreshing craft cocktails and artisanal beers to innovative mocktails and freshly squeezed juices, there is something for everyone. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover new and exciting beverage creations while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the festival.


While there are food and drink options conveniently available within the festival grounds, it’s worth noting that some events may have restrictions on outside food and beverages. It’s advisable to check the festival’s guidelines regarding food and drink policies before attending to ensure a smooth experience. Alcohol consumption policies may also vary depending on the location and local regulations.


Additionally, if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, it’s best to plan ahead and inquire about the availability of suitable options. Many vendors at Afropunk are accommodating and offer alternatives for various dietary preferences, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the festival’s culinary offerings.


The food and drink options at Afropunk are not just about sustenance; they contribute to the overall celebration of black culture, creativity, and unity. Exploring the diverse and delicious culinary offerings adds another layer to the festival experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in a sensory journey of taste and culture.


Fashion and Style

The Afropunk Festival is renowned for its celebration of fashion and style, embodying a unique blend of individuality, creativity, and cultural expression. It serves as a vibrant platform for attendees to showcase their personal style, breaking free from societal norms and embracing their authentic selves.


At Afropunk, fashion is not just about the latest trends or brands; it’s about self-expression and celebrating the diversity of black style. The festival encourages attendees to unleash their creativity and embrace their individuality, creating a visual tapestry of bold colors, avant-garde designs, and Afrocentric aesthetics.


One of the notable aspects of Afropunk fashion is its fusion of traditional African elements with contemporary and alternative styles. Attendees often incorporate African prints, patterns, and textiles into their outfits, paying homage to their cultural heritage while making a unique fashion statement.


Furthermore, Afropunk fashion is characterized by an authentic and unapologetic celebration of blackness. It challenges societal beauty standards and embraces a wide range of body shapes, sizes, and identities. Attendees express their unique style through Afrocentric hairstyles, vibrant make-up choices, and bold accessories.


The festival also showcases a vibrant marketplace where designers, artisans, and entrepreneurs can showcase their creations. From clothing and accessories to jewelry and artwork, these vendors offer a variety of unique and Afrocentric products that allow attendees to truly embrace the spirit of Afropunk fashion.


Afropunk fashion goes beyond just the festival grounds; it has influenced mainstream fashion trends and has become a source of inspiration for designers around the world. The festival’s commitment to celebrating black style and culture has played a significant role in redefining the fashion industry and challenging conventional beauty standards.


Whether you prefer to make a statement with your clothing, accessories, or overall aesthetic, Afropunk is an inclusive space that encourages personal expression through fashion. It’s an opportunity to embrace your individuality, share your unique style, and connect with others who appreciate the power of fashion as a form of self-expression.


When attending Afropunk, be prepared to immerse yourself in a vibrant and visually stunning environment where fashion knows no bounds. Whether you choose to express yourself through bold prints, Afrocentric designs, or experimental styles, remember that Afropunk fashion is about embracing your true self and celebrating the beauty and diversity of black culture.


Art and Activism

The Afropunk Festival is more than just a celebration of music and style; it is also a powerful platform for art and activism. The festival recognizes the transformative power of artistic expression and uses it as a tool for social change, encouraging attendees to engage in thought-provoking discussions and actively participate in creating a more inclusive and equitable society.


Throughout the festival, you’ll find a wide range of art exhibitions, installations, and performances that challenge the status quo and provoke critical thinking. These artistic expressions explore themes such as identity, race, gender, and social justice, and they provide a space for artists to share their perspectives and narratives.


Afropunk takes pride in showcasing the work of emerging and established visual artists who use their creativity to address social issues and push boundaries. From graffiti art to photography exhibitions, these displays of artistic expression serve as powerful statements and catalysts for conversations around important social topics.


Beyond the visual arts, the festival also incorporates spoken word performances, theatrical productions, and interdisciplinary collaborations that highlight the intersection of art, activism, and storytelling. These performances ignite conversations, challenge preconceived notions, and inspire attendees to take action in their own lives and communities.


At Afropunk, activism is not merely a side note; it is deeply embedded in the fabric of the festival. Throughout the event, you’ll find activists and activists’ organizations hosting panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions that engage attendees in meaningful conversations about a wide range of social issues, from racial inequality and LGBTQ+ rights to environmental justice and mental health.


Moreover, Afropunk actively supports and promotes grassroots organizations and community initiatives, both locally and globally, that align with its values and mission. By partnering with social justice organizations, the festival amplifies the impact of their work and encourages festival-goers to get involved and support these causes.


Through the convergence of art, culture, and activism, Afropunk creates a space for dialogue, education, and inspiration. It encourages attendees to reflect on their own roles in society and empowers them to be agents of change. By seamlessly integrating art and activism into the festival experience, Afropunk reinforces the belief that creativity and social consciousness can intersect to drive meaningful progress.


So, as you attend Afropunk, be prepared to immerse yourself in a world where art speaks volumes, activism takes center stage, and the collective effort to create a more equitable society becomes a shared responsibility.


Health and Safety

At the Afropunk Festival, the health and safety of attendees is of the utmost importance. Organizers work tirelessly to create a secure environment that allows everyone to enjoy the festival to the fullest. Understanding the significance of physical and mental well-being, Afropunk implements various measures to ensure a safe and inclusive experience for all.


Medical personnel and first aid stations are readily available at the festival grounds to provide immediate assistance in case of any medical emergencies or concerns. These stations are equipped to handle minor injuries, dehydration, and other common health issues that may arise during large-scale events.


It’s essential to take care of your own health and wellness while attending Afropunk. Staying hydrated throughout the festival is crucial, particularly if the event takes place during warm weather. Taking breaks, seeking shade, and wearing sunscreen are also important factors to consider in order to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.


Afropunk also promotes a safe and respectful environment by implementing robust security measures. Security personnel are present throughout the festival to ensure the well-being and safety of attendees. It’s important to familiarize yourself with any specific rules or guidelines in place and to cooperate with security personnel when necessary.


In terms of personal safety, it’s advisable to keep personal belongings secure and be mindful of your surroundings. As with any large gathering, it’s always wise to stay informed, travel in groups when possible, and report any suspicious or concerning activities to security personnel.


Afropunk is committed to fostering a supportive space that promotes inclusivity and respect for all attendees. Any form of discrimination, harassment, or violence is strictly prohibited, and organizers encourage individuals to report any incidents that may occur. Promoting a culture of consent, Afropunk encourages open dialogue and provides resources for support and assistance.


In addition to physical health and safety, the festival also recognizes the importance of mental well-being. Participating in large events can be overwhelming for some individuals. Afropunk offers quiet spaces and rest areas where attendees can take a break and recharge. It’s essential to listen to your body and mind, and to reach out for support if needed.


Prioritizing your health and safety while attending Afropunk ensures that you can fully engage in and enjoy the festival experience. By being mindful of your own well-being and looking out for others, you contribute to the creation of a safe and inclusive community that embodies the core values of Afropunk.


After-Hours Events

The excitement doesn’t end when the sun sets at the Afropunk Festival. After-hours events provide a vibrant continuation of the festivities, with an array of parties, concerts, and gatherings that keep the energy alive well into the night. These events offer attendees an opportunity to further immerse themselves in the Afropunk experience and explore the local music and nightlife scenes.


After-hours events at Afropunk are often hosted at various venues throughout the festival location. These venues range from intimate clubs to larger concert halls, providing diverse settings and atmospheres for attendees to enjoy. The after-hours lineup often features a mix of local talent and internationally renowned artists, showcasing a broad range of musical genres.


Attending an after-hours event allows you to discover new artists and experience different facets of the local music scene. These events may feature live performances, DJ sets, or a combination of both, ensuring there’s something for everyone’s musical preferences. It’s a chance to dance, connect with like-minded individuals, and continue celebrating the spirit of Afropunk late into the night.


Many after-hours events also incorporate visual artists, performers, and other forms of artistic expression, creating an immersive and multidimensional experience. These events often serve as platforms for emerging talent, allowing for unique and memorable performances that further enhance the post-festival atmosphere.


It’s important to note that after-hours events may have separate ticketing, distinct from the general admission passes for the main festival. The availability and pricing of these tickets can vary, so it’s advisable to check the official Afropunk website or event listings for specific details and updates on after-hours events.


If you plan on attending after-hours events, be sure to plan your transportation accordingly. Familiarize yourself with the venues and their locations, and consider options for safe and reliable transportation, such as public transit, ride-sharing services, or designated shuttles provided by the festival.


Attending after-hours events at Afropunk extends the celebration beyond the festival grounds and allows you to fully experience the vibrant local music and nightlife scenes. It offers a chance to connect with fellow festival-goers, discover new artists, and extend the sense of community that defines the Afropunk experience.


Tips for Attending

Attending the Afropunk Festival is an exciting and immersive experience. To make the most of your time at the festival and ensure a smooth and enjoyable weekend, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan in advance: Familiarize yourself with the festival lineup, schedule, and any additional events or workshops that may be happening. Create a rough itinerary to ensure you don’t miss out on performances or activities you’re excited about.
  2. Dress comfortably: Afropunk is a celebration of personal style, so feel free to express yourself through your fashion choices. However, prioritize comfort, especially if you’ll be spending long hours on your feet. Opt for breathable fabrics and wear comfortable shoes.
  3. Stay hydrated: With the excitement of the festival, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. Stay hydrated by bringing a refillable water bottle and taking advantage of water stations available at the festival grounds.
  4. Bring essentials: Pack essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a small backpack or bag to carry your belongings. Don’t forget to bring cash, as some vendors may not accept card payments.
  5. Connect with the community: Afropunk is all about connecting with like-minded individuals. Take the opportunity to strike up conversations with fellow attendees, explore the marketplace, and support local vendors and artists.
  6. Take breaks when needed: With so much happening at the festival, it’s important to take breaks and recharge when necessary. Find a quiet spot or rest area to relax and catch your breath before diving back into the excitement.
  7. Explore beyond the festival: While the festival offers a vibrant atmosphere, take some time to explore the host city and its cultural attractions. Check out local museums, art galleries, and restaurants to fully immerse yourself in the city’s vibe.
  8. Respect the space and others: Afropunk promotes an inclusive and respectful environment. Treat others with kindness and respect, and embrace the diversity around you. Report any incidents of harassment or discrimination to festival staff.
  9. Stay informed: Stay updated with the latest festival information by following official Afropunk social media accounts and checking the website regularly. This will help you stay informed about any schedule changes, additional events, or important announcements.
  10. Embrace the experience: Above all, embrace the spirit of Afropunk and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the music, art, fashion, and activism. Embrace the opportunity for self-expression, exploration, and celebration of black culture.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your time at the Afropunk Festival and create unforgettable memories in a vibrant and inclusive community.



The Afropunk Festival is a one-of-a-kind celebration that brings together music, art, fashion, and activism in a vibrant and inclusive environment. It is a platform that amplifies the voices of underrepresented communities, celebrates black culture, and encourages self-expression and social change. As you immerse yourself in the energy and creativity of Afropunk, you’ll discover a truly transformative experience that goes beyond the ordinary festival scene.


From its humble beginnings in Brooklyn to its expansion into cities around the world, the Afropunk Festival has grown into a global movement that continues to inspire and empower attendees. It showcases a diverse array of artists, both established and emerging, who redefine conventions and challenge societal norms.


While the festival is primarily known for its exceptional music lineup, it is much more than just a music event. Afropunk provides a space for artists, musicians, activists, and attendees to connect, share stories, and engage in thought-provoking discussions. It embraces art and fashion as tools for expression and activism, encouraging attendees to embrace their individuality and challenge the mainstream narrative.


As you explore the festival, you’ll encounter an immersive experience where the celebration of black culture is intricately woven into every aspect. From the vibrant fashion and innovative art installations to the dynamic music performances and engaging panel discussions, Afropunk embodies the spirit of unity, diversity, and social consciousness.


Attending Afropunk requires careful planning, from securing your tickets to choosing accommodations and considering your overall well-being. It’s important to prioritize self-care, stay hydrated, and take breaks when needed. And, above all, respect the space and the individuals around you, fostering an environment of inclusivity, acceptance, and mutual respect.


With its powerful combination of art, activism, and community, the Afropunk Festival has created a movement that transcends borders and connects people from all walks of life. It challenges the conventional norms of the music and cultural festival scene and invites attendees to embark on a journey of self-discovery, cultural appreciation, and collective action.


So, whether you are a long-time Afropunk enthusiast or a first-time attendee, prepare yourself for a truly transformative experience that will leave you inspired, enlightened, and motivated to continue pushing boundaries and shaping a more inclusive and equitable world.