Chreece was the most positive experience that Indianapolis’ music scene has had in recent memory. This recap is for all of those who either didn’t hear about Chreece or were unfortunate enough to not be able to get a wristband after the event sold out.
After selling 700 wristbands, by 7 p.m. Chreece was deemed sold out. Seven hundred people were all that the six venues could hold at any one time. That being said, the free stage at Fountain Square saw closer to 1,100 people according to Jon Rogers who was in charge of ticket sales.
Chreece came and went in a mysterious way. Someone could’ve passed through Fountain Square Saturday morning beforehand and not have had any clue that a hip-hop festival would soon exhume. If those same people had returned to Fountain Square at 3 a.m., they would not have had any inclination that a 12-hour festival had just been there. The streets were clean afterward and totally empty beforehand.
Arriving at noon to Fountain Square Plaza, there was no way to perceive the magnitude of importance and popularity the day would have. The sighting of Oreo Jones walking around in front of General Public Collective, one of Chreece’s venues, was the only way to know there was indeed a hip-hop festival occurring that day.
The first acts went on at 2 p.m. Ok Now played Joyful Noise Recordings to a crowd of 17 people. The small turnout didn’t stop the two rappers from putting on the best 20-minute show they could. The small turnouts won’t last long.
At 2:20 p.m. at the Pizza King venue, there were 25 people crammed into a back room listening to a DJ play beats between performers. Teddy Panzer was slamming into the crowd trying to hype them up for the day, shouting, “Can we bang this shit?” During the brief moment of silence between Panzer’s shouts, a little boy spoke up, asking, “Why can’t we just turn it down?” The audience laughed but still got behind what Panzer was doing, starting the 12-hour day off with the raw, aggressive energy that kept fans at the Pizza King.
“I’m sure there will be 30 years of this shit,” Panzer said during his performance.
Fountain Square Plaza had started to attract a crowd by 2:43. The DJ played his set to a crowd of around 30 people, most of whom were dancing to the groove. As a beautiful young woman in a red top and muted gray skirt danced with a hula hoop, she threw the hoop into the air in time with the music, capturing the attention of a few Chreece-goers. After dancing, the woman walked over to a stroller and picked up her child. The fountain in the Plaza was covered in children playing in the dancing water. Children spent the entire day running through the spurting waters of the plaza fountain.
Pope Adrian Bless, 24, was in the audience dancing with fans at Fountain Square Plaza. This was a recurring thing; Bless spent the day supporting as many of his fellow rappers as he could. Before we could grab him for an interview an older homeless woman shyly approached him from the side and took his hand. Bless smiled and rocked his body with her. Pope turned away.
At 3:10 Shadow Village took the Pizza King stage. The seven rappers brought the call-and-response rapping style to life. They performed with the raw energy of the young rappers who were taking on the most important show of their young careers. Their style was Eastside trap rap. They had a violent energy but a positive angst. Pope was also at the show, jumping with the rappers and wrapping his arms around them. The support for the artists was immense.
Joyful Noise Recordings had Ke’ondris on stage at 3:43. Ke’ondris rapped with a soft style that played off tension and violent releases. Ke’ondris performed his most popular song, “Attack on Titans,” and almost the entire crowd of 45 people was able to sing along with him. Ke’ondris finished the set with a brand new song he hadn’t performed before, but he only had two minutes to pull it off. The stage manager had to actually tell him to get off the stage. These rappers were given 20 minutes per set and made sure they squeezed every drop out of it. “Stop me when I have to. I don’t even know all the words to this, so two minutes is perfect.”
The audience included Oreo Jones and Pope Adrian Bless. Bless ran to the stage after the performance of, “Attack on Titans,” and demanded he played it again.
Ke’ondris took a minute to chat after his set. During his interview the next artist, Molly June, took the stage. Blown away by the sound of the female rapper, he posed a question to his posse. “Light skin or dark skin?” His crew agreed she must be dark-skinned. To all of their surprise, they walked into the room to see a white woman with her face painted with a skull. “Man, that’s fucking tight!” exclaimed Ke’ondris.
Molly June blew the room away with her performance. She was the only local solo female act to perform at Chreece.
Rappers beatboxed to help kill time as the DJ’s audio went out at Pizza King at 4:25. The packed audience was incredibly supportive of this and added their own sounds to the two rappers who beatboxed the bass and drums of a 1970s porn theme. By the time the audio was fixed, Nick Nice and Petey Boy knew they had to make the most out of their time and launched straight into their set. The audience listened intently to the smooth hip-hop sounds and easy flowing raps.
MF Goon took the stage at Joyful Noise at 5 p.m. The room had about 45 people and no one knew what to expect from the St. Augustine, Fla. native. Goon launched into a punk rap style and got the crowd to mosh with him. Goon ripped off his shirt and jumped into the crowd and went as hard and fast as he could. “I’ve been doing your drugs all week since I’ve been here, and they’re all great. Thank You!” Was Goon’s message to Indianapolis, the city which may become his future home.
Harry Otaku arrived to Chreece at 5:30 and was blown away by the turn out to a hip-hop festival in Indianapolis. Harry’s name carried a lot of weight with the performers. If a rapper wanted to be interviewed and I explained I was on my way to speak with Harry O, they all did the same, “Oh shit, yeah go talk to him. Harry is the fucking man.” Harry would get his chance to perform later to show why everyone respects him so much at 7:30 at the plaza.
Back at Pizza King for an interview, a handful of rappers were hanging out and rolling joints together on the patio tables. Police cars drove by, but there was no need for their presence at the peaceful event.
In front of the Murphy Building at 6:30, a fight almost broke out between a resident and a festival attendee. The men were broken up before they could get toe-to-toe. The most violent they got was with their words. The main theme was love. According to Oreo Jones, the event organizer and multitalented everything-man who performed with Ghost Gun Summer, not one fight broke out and no arrests were made.
At the plaza at 7:00, 60 people lined the outskirt. The DJ reminded people to stay off the street and to pick up any trash they saw, so they can be invited back next year. The audience heeded the requests and the Plaza was kept clean, cleaner than it typically would be.
Harry Otaku’s set started at 7:30. 75 people were there—rappers supporting their producer and fans of music enjoying the remixes Harry creates. The weather was perfect, low 70 degrees, and the day was winding into night. The energy was unbelievably positive, and again Pope Adrian Bless was dancing in the crowd. Pope got behind the DJ table and wrapped his arms around Harry to show his love. Two men were break-dancing in front of the table, and a man with a snake on his back wandered through the crowd. Homeless people and children danced with the hip-hop fans, and there was nothing but love in the air.
A line had formed to get into Joyful Noise at 8:20, 10 minutes before Pope Adrian Bless’ show. Waiting to go on, Pope described what was going through his mind: “Exactly what the Ultimate Warrior felt when he took on Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania. To think this is only a fraction of the big time, this is just practice,” Pope said with a confident look. Although he spent the day making sure he had a full house and a perfect set, there was a snag. His DJ, Kam Jong Ill, was nowhere to be found. A frantic phoneless Pope ran from person to person asking them to call his DJ. After stalling on stage and expressing his love for Indianapolis and Oreo Jones, DJ Kam Jung Ill arrived.
As Pope rapped, his expression grew pained, he was pouring sweat and was clearly exhausted. “Where the fuck is the hydration?” he asked the at-capacity crowd. He then told the crowd he had been high on acid all day. These confessions only served to get the crowd more on Pope’s side. They supported him with the passion of teenage fangirls and helped him finish lyrics when the dehydrated Pope couldn’t quite get the words out. The love that Pope had received was as impressive as the love and support he had been giving out all day.
After Pope’s performance the crowd followed him out the door. The room had climaxed, and after the crowd’s collective orgasm, they felt inclined to sneak out the door before the next act New Wave Collective had a chance to notice there were only 20 people left in the room.
The Hi-Fi’s first show was at 9:30, opening with the group Kobra Kai, a group of three guys. Most popular in the group was Ricky Freezer, who opened the Drake vs. Lil’ Wayne show in Indianapolis last year. After every song they asked the audience, “Are you fucking with us?”
There was no response.
CAS ONE was the next to take the stage. The crowd hadn’t made it to the Hi-Fi yet, so although he poured his heart onto the stage, the audience response was underwhelming. At one point he repeatedly asked the audience to sing along to no avail.
Ghost Gun Summer finally made it onto stage at the Hi-Fi at 11:30. The moment everyone had been waiting for. It’s crowded and incredibly hot inside. Everyone was rubbing elbows and pouring sweat. Oreo took the stage and told Indianapolis that he was proud of it and everyone in attendance. The heat was unbearable and John Stamps had to stop and ask for water.
“Some water would be dope—we didn’t plan at all.” Stamps said before the first song even started.
Ghost Gun Summer is comprised of: Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck, John Stamps, Grey Granite, and Freddie Bunz. Unsurprisingly they ran long, only about 15 minutes, but just long enough for them to bust out a handful of songs and end with the biggest hit from the group, “Bill Murray.” The speakers went out on them at the end of the song. The support for the group was so immense that the audience was able to up where the speakers left, the room only got louder.
The festival was wrapped up by Detroit’s Mick Jenkins. Jenkins had a good-sized crowd but not quite the size of Indianapolis’ Ghost Gun Summer. John Stamps said it best during the set: “All you have to have is pride in where you came from.”
The first Chreece hip-hop festival blew through Fountain Square so fast that only 13 hours after it started there was no sign that anything had happened, with the exception of the few drunk people wandering down Virginia Avenue. Chreece lived up to its name, a mispronunciation of a combination of “cheers and peace.” The day was truly nothing but respect and love, cheers and peace.
Media contributed by David Schroeder and Benjamin Cooley.