*Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made it clear on Wednesday that his city will be cracking down on any Freaknik-related activities that violate city guidelines – and that lawsuits will be filed against organizers who don’t comply.
“We will walk the line between keeping order in our city and welcoming our visitors,” Reed said at a news conference to discuss traffic and public-safety plans for other scheduled events that might bring 300,000 people to the city this weekend, according to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution. “There will not be a takeover of Atlanta under my watch.”
Two separate groups are planning activities at private venues throughout metro Atlanta this weekend using variations of the name “Freaknik,” the annual event that began in the early 1980s as a picnic for college students and morphed into a raunchy, sex-crazed street party by the mid-1990s. Atlanta officially ended Freaknik in 1999. It’s back this year, but Reed said things will be different.
Officials said there are no permitted Freaknik-related events inside the city limits. Still, they have prepared for the possibility of large crowds. In an added preventive measure, city officials disclosed they sent a letter on March 12 to Freaknic Atlanta organizer, J.K. Jones, demanding that he drop plans to hold any outdoor-related events this weekend because he doesn’t have a permit.
The new Atlanta mayor attended Freaknik once when he was in college, and even though he said it was more structured then, Reed didn’t return because of the way some men treated women in subsequent Freakniks, which he said was reprehensible.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this morning that Freaknik has gotten off to a slow start.
“Downtown Atlanta streets, which during Freaknik’s heyday were already busy on Friday mornings, were empty at 10:45 a.m. today. There was no evidence that a party was about to break out.”