Depending on who’s talking, Freaknik was a notorious public safety hazard or an annual lovefest that solidified Atlanta’s status as America’s “Black Mecca.”

Documentary filmmaker Chris Frierson joined On Second Thought to discuss the event's rise and fall, which is further detailed in his new podcast series, Freaknik: A Discourse on a Paradise Lost.

On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with Chris Frierson.

Freaknik, which began as early as 1982, started as a potluck barbecue in Grant Park for less than 200 students.

By the early '90s, it had grown into a social phenomenon, bringing in people from across the country to a weekend of widespread party, gridlock traffic and pop-up music shows.

But, businesses and hotels started closing the doors to participants. There were hundreds of arrests. In 2010, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed banned Freaknik activities in the city.

Now, nearly a decade later, there is a resurgence of the event, but as times have changed so has the event.


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