James Weldon Johnson Park’s Hip Hop Festival Returns In February Highlighting Duval Hip Hop And Local Hip Hop Legend Paten Locke.

Jacksonville, FLJames Weldon Johnson Park’s Hip Hop Festival returns on Saturday, February 18, 2023 for its second year to once again shine light on the Duval Hip Hop scene while paying special homage to the late Paten Locke – a Duval based, internationally acclaimed Hip Hop Legend. The festival was so successful in 2022 that they have added a VIP Event, held at the Jessie Ball duPont Center the night before, featuring two Hip Hop Documentaries.

Saturday’s festival, hosted by Che of local Hip Hop collective L.O.V.E. Culture will feature performances and appearances from some of Jacksonville’s most revered Emcees, Lyricists, Dancers, Visual Artists, DJs, and Producers, including special guest collaborators Jay Myztroh (Stono Echo, Cosmic Link), Willie Evans Jr., and Dillon (Full Plate Fam); along with In The Midst (Community Dance Platform); Steam Mechanics (Arsun Fist and Still Water); Higher Learning (Steph & Twan); Simple Complexity (Mas Appeal & Tough Junkie); Mal Jones (Founder of Lyricist Live) and more. A significant portion of the event will be dedicated to highlighting the life and contributions to Hip Hop made by Paten Locke – whose influence reverberates throughout Duval’s Hip Hop circles to this day. The final lineup will be announced by the end of January. The festival will feature many local food trucks and vendors, be family friendly, free to attend and will take place from 12pm to 5pm on Saturday, February 18, 2023.

The schedule of events for the day of the festival is as follows:

12:00pm Opening Cypher with Mal Jones

12:45pm Simple Complexity

1:15pm Higher Learning

2:00pm In the Midst

2:45pm Family of Paten Locke

3:00pm Stono Echo

3:30pm Little Plates

4:00pm Paten Locke Tribute DJ Set

4:15pm Steam Mechanics

4:30pm Dillon | Full Plate Fam (with Special Guests)

The VIP Event held on Friday, February 17, 2023 will be at The Jessie (The Jessie Ball duPont Center – 40 E Adams St, Jacksonville, FL 32202) featuring a screening of two locally produced Hip Hop documentaries: “Recollection: How Asamov Began” by Willie Evans Jr.; and “Outside” a film by Che. “Recollection” discusses the story of how Jacksonville’s legendary underground Hip Hop group Asamov – comprised of Willie Evans Jr. (Niam Jones), DJ Therapy (Paten Locke), Ja-One-Da (Joe Cox), & Basic (Vladimir Decastro) – came to be. “Outside” offers insight into Duval’s current Hip Hop culture and the advocacy within it, making note of the present without excluding the past. A special exhibit entitled “Memories of an Erudite Eremite” curated by Moving The Margins will open that night as well featuring a collection of images highlighting the life and friendships of the Duval community and Paten Locke. It will run through March 31, 2023.

There will be light refreshments, a cash bar, and a live DJ set curated by Dillon. As of Friday, February 3rd, the free event has sold out.

JWJ’s Hip Hop Festival was created by Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park and Cultural Collaborators Jihan White (EnerJi), Mr. Al Pete, Che (L.O.V.E. Culture), Rochelle Underdue (In The Midst), and Mas Appeal (Simple Complexity).


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(JWJ’s 2nd Annual Hip Hop Festival is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.)