Hip-hop festival organizers met yesterday (March 6) with Atlanta city officials in another effort to get a permit for a three-day event in April at the Turner Field parking lots. The city turned down

Hip-hop festival organizers met yesterday (March 6) with Atlanta city officials in another effort to get a permit for a three-day event in April at the Turner Field parking lots. The city turned down a bid Wednesday from music mogul Russell Simmons and his group, the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, saying the application had inconsistent crowd estimates and no proof of insurance.

Nelly and Eminem are scheduled to perform; the latter is likely making one of only two live appearances this year. The event would begin April 11 and feature seminars and other rap acts. Hip Hop Summit co-founder Benjamin Chavis said yesterday his group would try to work out the problems. If the Turner Field venue did not work out, they would seek another site, Chavis said, perhaps Philips Arena or Lakewood Amphitheater.

"It's not a case of a shortage of facilities," said Chavis, who is set on the April 11 weekend date. "If we don't use the Turner Field site, we believe there are other available and viable venues for us to go forward."

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin's chief of staff, Greg Pridgeon, said he did not think there was enough time to prepare for the event. "I have been around for a long time, and I understand what works well and what does not," he said. "I cannot issue a permit at this time, because with hip-hop being a popular worldwide musical product, it takes planning and effort. With this coming in 30 days, the obstacles are very substantial."

In denying the application, Pridgeon cited inconsistencies in how many people organizers expect to attend. Estimates fluctuated from 35,000 to 200,000. A spokesperson for the event organizers said they consistently told city officials to expect more than 35,000 people. She said they would revise the application to a daily crowd estimate of 66,500.

Pridgeon also pointed out several other problems:

-- Insurance had not yet been purchased, although an application was submitted.

-- Failure to show approval to use the Turner Field parking lots, which must come from the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority. Organizers said they received authorization March 5.

-- Failure to specify which streets would have to be closed, and where alcohol would be sold.


AP LogoCopyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print