If you are proud to be curly, kinky, nappy, coily and just naturally beautiful, CurlFest was the festival to attend this past weekend.
If you have never heard of CurlFest, read on so that we can tell you about our first experience.
CurlFest came together 6 years ago by five Black women known as the Curly Girl Collective who saw a need to create a platform that would allow women of color to feel empowered and to proudly embrace their natural beauty and textured hair.
CurlFest was birthed in New York City and for the past 6 years have been held exclusively there. This year however, Curly Girl Collective decided to host two CurlFest events with the second taking place on September 21st at Candler Park in Atlanta, GA. Of course when we heard that CurlFest was going to be so close to home, we had to make arrangements to attend especially after reviewing the photos and videos from the New York event.
Arriving to Curlfest, we were greeted by long entrance lines that all seemed to move along expeditiously. The lines were separated based on the level of tickets that were purchased. As platinum ticket holders we quickly made it through to received our color coded wrist band, then entered into the park. Our first task was to gather our exclusive CurlFest swag bags that contained various sample products from the CurlFest beauty and hair sponsors. We realized that our bags did not contain as many products as those that were given at the NYC Curlfest, but there were enough items to be satisfied. After securing our bags, we were free to venture through the park and take in the magic of CurlFest.
Curlfest is known to bring out thousands of natural hair and beauty enthusiasts who are eager to show off their unique fashion and glorious natural hair styles. Walking through the festival, we definitely took the time to notice and admire the individual hair and fashion styles that the festival goers were rocking. We were very awed by the boldness and creativity we were witnessing. It was inspiring to see just how much the natural hair movement has evolved and to be a part of it.
One of the major activation of CurlFest is the beauty row, which consist of companies representing the hair and beauty industry. Most of them offered their products at discounted prices with some offering exclusive products not sold yet in stores. We spent time visiting each sponsor’s booth to learn more about their products and to grab sample items when provided- some of them even being full sized.
After spending much time in the beaming hot sun, we made our way to the VIP section to find some shade under the tent where we could lay out our mats and relax. The VIP section included plush seating, photo back drops, an expensive cash bar for cocktails and complimentary bottled alkaline water while supplies lasted. We only wished that the VIP section also offered complimentary cocktails and access to an exclusive mobile restroom trailer.
Other features of Curlfest included an empowerment stage where some of the CurlFest sponsors along with beauty influencers participated in panels to speak out on important subjects impacting the natural hair world, as well as to give hair maintenance tips and advice. Although we did not sit in on any of the panels due to the heat, we did take in some good information as we were walking by.
There was a marketplace set up where small business owners were able to sell their products such as African attire, empowerment t-shirts, jewelry, hand crafted items and more. There was also a court of food trucks selling dishes from local caterers. Of course the lines for food were long, at times reaching 1 hour or more wait periods.
To set it all off, was the CurlFest main stage. Various DJs kept the music flowing and the emcee kept the crowd entertained and aware of the different events that were taking place throughout the afternoon. After awhile, the lawn in front of the stage became a huge party as the DJ’s played genres from 90’s and today’s hip-hop to Soca music. The Curly Girl Collective even brought out Fast Life Yungstaz to perform their hit song, and the CurlFest theme song ‘Swag Surfin.’ It was a great celebration.
Our first Curlfest experience was one to remember. It was a wonderful opportunity to see so many unique expressions of hair and fashion beyond what we may see everyday especially being from a smaller city. There were women who came from all parts of the country just to be a part of this event. It was also a great opportunity to feel united and celebrated with other women who are going through the same or similar journey. As Curlfest claims to be the largest natural beauty festival in America, being there makes one really embrace the natural hair movement even more. We left Curlfest knowing that magic is definitely in the hair!
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