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CHREECE V: Bringing Hope Through Hip Hop
Posted August 16, 2019 by Jim Rawlinson
WRITTEN BY
Jim Rawlinson
ON
August 16, 2019

 

We are so pumped for CHREECE V and are excited to have Wildstyle here to give us some thoughts on what Chreece means to him and the entire Indy hiphop community. 

 

 

 

The Chreece hiphop festival has represented hope to many aspiring hiphop acts in Indianapolis since its debut in 2015. It is the largest independent hiphop festival in Indiana, the only event highlighting Indiana hiphop artists to get attention from the local TV news stations and newspapers.  The Chreece hiphop festival takes over 6 – 7 venues in the Fountain Square district of Indianapolis each year. It has already sold out the 1st 3 years in a row bringing about over 1500 fans each year to see 50 – 60 Indiana hiphop acts plus a few national hiphop acts.

While hiphop is the number one music genre in the US right now local Indiana hiphop acts haven’t quite reaped all the benefits from the national and international popularity of hiphop music. Even though the Indianapolis hiphop scene was indeed thriving compared to where it had been years past, many of the shows were still predominantly attended by other hiphop artists and not as much by pure fans. Numerous events that had been planned as bigger events that would directly engage the outside community of hiphop fans had never quite accomplished that goal.  So when Sean “Oreo” Jones announced Chreece in 2015 there was both skepticism on whether this event that would be anymore impactful to drawing crowds and attention to Indiana hiphop or whether it would draw a crowd that Fountain Square couldn’t handle.

Sitting in volunteer meetings where Oreo and then MFT executive director Jon Roberts talked about the challenges securing insurance for a hiphop event versus other genres made me realize just how difficult it really is to create spaces for hiphop music and culture in the 1st place.  Of course Chreece ended up being an incredible success that made even the most diehard skeptics believers. It sold out of tickets early with 10 hours of festival performances to go causing some of the venues to be filled to capacity and beyond. It caused me to not even be able to see an artist I produce Pope Adrian Bless at Joyful Noise because they legally couldn’t allow anyone else in the venue. As I sat on a bench along Virginia Avenue I wasn’t sad about the situation I was ecstatic because this had never happened in Indianapolis hiphop before, and as a hiphop producer there’s no better ego boost than the venue your artist is performing in being too crowded to even allow you to see him live.  It was around that time that some of the folks who couldn’t get tickets begged me to sell them my volunteer badge for ridiculous amounts of so they could get into the rest of the venues that weren’t over capacity. I declined but was shocked at how much the excitement was spreading with people outside the normal hiphop creator’s scene that I’d never met before in my life.

I went over to another venue at the time, Pizza King and had the same issues getting in to see Drayco and Poindexter, over capacity crowds. Later I was able to actually able to get in to see Native Sun and Flaco because they were playing at the White Rabbit which is still one of the bigger venues in Fountain Square.  Mick Jenkins was the only national headliner that year and he was playing at a small bar with a stage called the HiFi that was nowhere near as spacious as the new HiFi. Once again I was left standing outside unable to get in because the venue was over capacity, not at all displeased but excited and hopeful for the future of Indianapolis hiphop and where it was headed. There was a lot of magic that year with many local hiphop artists playing for the biggest crowds of their careers at that point on a hiphop event that had finally received mainstream news coverage. Validation of Indiana hiphop artists had finally come from the fans and news media alike and the legend of Chreece was born.

This year the Chreece hiphop festival is Saturday, August 24th 2019 in Fountain Square and features a very diverse cast of about 50+ Indiana hiphop artists, producers, Djs, and even dancers with a few national acts sprinkled in later in the night. Chreece continues to be impactful by connecting Indiana hiphop artists with fans and continues to inspire hope for the Indianapolis hiphop community.

Musical Family Tree has been a financial partner for Chreece since the beginning. This year, MFT is utilizing our 501c3 statust to serve as a non-profit financial partner for the festival. This partnership allows Chreece torecieve funding from Central Indiana Community Foundation to pay the local artists and help insure Chreece's success for years to come. Chreece is also, at the end of the day, a major benefactor for Musical Family Tree. 

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