Russell Simmons’ ‘Hip-Hop Woodstock’ Postponed

Hip-hop mogul will work with Atlanta mayor to reschedule event's date for fall.

The Atlanta Hip-Hop Woodstock in April is off.

On Thursday night the City of Atlanta and Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network announced that they had amicably agreed to postpone the second national Hip-Hop Summit. Simmons has also pulled out of a co-sponsorship of the Urban Hip-Hop Music Festival, its accompanying star-packed concert, which he had been comparing to Woodstock (see “Hip-Hop Woodstock Planned For April” ).

“We love the people of Atlanta and we respect Mayor Shirley Franklin and other city officials,” Simmons said in a statement. “We look forward to selecting a later date for convening the Atlanta Hip-Hop Summit, as well as other related concerts and events.”

“Atlanta maintains a reputation as the cradle of hip-hop and we are proud of the young people who call Atlanta home that have excelled in the industry,” Mayor Franklin said in her own statement. “Atlanta is in the business of hospitality, and we welcome events that are well-managed and meet all of the required criteria.”

According to a spokesperson for Simmons, at the heart of the problem for the activities, which were planned for April 11-13, was the annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival, which is taking place that same weekend. The mayor’s office felt the city would be overcrowded with the tourists that both events would attract. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office could not be reached by press time.

Simmons’ rep also said the mogul is now working with Mayor Franklin to reschedule his events for sometime this fall, but nothing is concrete.

What is for sure, however, is that the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has pulled out of their co-sponsorship of the Urban Hip-Hop Music Festival. Simmons had originally planned for the festival to be a two-day concert following in the tradition of Woodstock that would commence on April 12, the day after a Hip-Hop Summit at Morehouse College. He now says when the Hip-Hop Summit does happen in Atlanta, it will coincide with a Hip-Hop for Peace concert, where rap stars will perform.

Although Simmons is no longer involved with the festival, the Urban Hip-Hop Music Festival’s original event promoters are still planning to throw a concert for April 12 and 13. John Christmas, the lawyer for the promoters, said he and his clients plan to make an announcement regarding the festival’s new venue on Monday (originally Turner Field and the Georgia International Horse Park were being looked at, but those ideas were scrapped).

“This event is not artist-driven, but there will still be some performances,” Christmas said Friday morning. “We are focusing on voter registration and recognition of accomplishments of hip-hop music. We also want to give money back to urban centers who help the youth.”

Christmas said the performers at the festival will not be announced in advance.