Indianapolis’ first annual Chreece hip-hop music festival was celebrated on August 29th. Chreece, pronounced "treese," came from a combination of “cheers and peace” accidentally said by event organizer and Indianapolis rapper Oreo Jones.
Cheers and peace was the overwhelming story throughout the day. According to Jones, not a single arrest or fist fight occurred during the 12-hour music festival held in Fountain Square.
“Everyone came together one day, and nothing bad happened. Everyone was so happy and respectful and hyped for one another,” Jones said.
Crowds in front of the free stage in Fountain Square Plaza were made up of children, dogs, homeless people, and dancing music fans who all were out to support Chreece. An estimated 1,100 people attended the festival, and the event sold out at 700 wristbands by 7 p.m. Seven hundred people was the max limit that the six different venues could collectively hold at once.
Venues included: Pizza King, Joyful Noise Recordings, Fountain Square Plaza, General Public Collective, The Hi-Fi and The White Rabbit Cabaret. Hi-Fi and White Rabbit ended the night with Mick Jenkins and The Native Sun.
Over 60 artists performed during the day and each artist was paid by the sponsors of the event. All but three performers were from Indiana and showcased the talent that Indiana has. Every musician was selected by Oreo Jones to perform. All the money that came in from wristband sales went to Musical Family Tree, a nonprofit that archives and promotes Indiana music.
The support Indianapolis gave the festival, the support the rappers gave back to Indianapolis, and all the support the artists gave each other was the most impressive part of the day. At any show at any of the six venues, Chreece-goers ran into artists who would either be performing later or had already performed. Oreo Jones went from venue to venue shaking hands and making sure things were running smoothly.
East side rapper, Pope Adrian Bless, did his best to be at every show he could be. Pope was determined to show love to every artist and fan that he could. Pope freestyled with other rappers, danced with a homeless woman, and danced in front of every stage to show the artist that what they are doing is important and that he is with them.
“Support is more important than performing in many cases. You’ve got to go to shows and talk to people in order for them to come and support you,” Pope said.
The combination of beautiful weather and music in the air made for a day that some people did not expect from a hip-hop music festival in Indiana. Producer and Chreece performer Harry Otaku gave his expectation of what people would say about the festival.
“Did you know this happened in Indiana? Everybody was happy and having a good time? It was hip-hop and there were no gunshots?” Otaku said jokingly in a reporter’s voice.
All in all, the day of music in Fountain Square was really nothing but “chreece.”