Money, cash, shows: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival needs your help raising funds

Money, cash, shows: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival needs your help raising funds
Robert Adam Mayer

It’s mo’ money, mo’ problems for the organizers of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

The directors of the star-studded waterfront concert claim that pricey artist fees and a bigger venue at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 3 have caused production costs to balloon — and they’re asking fans for cash to help keep tickets affordable.

“We’re turning to the people,” said the event’s executive director Wes Jackson, who is asking for $15,000 in donations from rap fans on the fund raising website Kickstarter.

“Everybody ought to be able to participate,” said Jackson, who hopes donations will allow him to sell tickets for between $20 and $30 — a price he thinks will keep the festival open to music-lovers of all socioeconomic brackets. “Otherwise, how’s hip-hop gonna grow?”

The eighth annual show — which is slated to feature a performance by legendary emcee Busta Rhymes — will cost $350,000 to produce, roughly $100,000 more than last year, Jackson says.

That’s due in part to an uptick in capacity when the show moves from a smaller venue beneath the Brooklyn Bridge to Pier 3, which can accommodate 7,000 additional fans, bringing total possible attendance up to 22,000.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation spokeswoman Teresa Gonzalez said her group – which uses programming to pay for park operations and maintenance — rented the smaller space to Hip-Hop Festival organizers for $10,000 last year and the larger venue for $15,000 this year.

The bigger performance area is necessary after the concert surged in popularity last year due to performances by Kanye West and Q-Tip, Jackson said.

But a larger venue and bigger crowds mean organizers must pay more to prepare the space — leading them to shell out $4,500 for Porta-Potties, $5,000 for VIP tents, and $4,100 for electricity generators, among other expenditures noted on planning documents that Jackson provided to this newspaper.

The concert planner declined to say how much he will pay performers this year, but said he will soon announce more big-name artists who will take the stage at the festival, which run from July 9 to July 14.

As of Tuesday, 43 Hip-Hop Festival fans had donated roughly $3,600 to the concert.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival director Wes Jackson is asking for donations to fund this year’s fest at Brooklyn Bridge Park, saying production costs have ballooned.
Photo by Melanie Fidler