Howard University's Homecoming celebration is one known for its immense turn out to events with even bigger names attached to them. For 90 years, the celebration has garnered a public filled with Howard students, alumni, the DMV Community, and of course -- those out-of-town friends who crashed on couches to experience such an epic weekend. One of the most popular events has been the traditionally free, star-studded Yardfest that takes place the Friday of Homecoming weekend.
However, in lieu of last year's ticket charge and consequent riot, Howard officials omitted one of most appealing aspects of the free event - the live performances, leaving students and alumni befuddled, upset, and quite frankly confused. What could take the place of a staple in Howard History? The Culture Collective, LLC had an answer to that question when The Meccafest graphic clouded the Instagram timelines of the Howard student body.
The Culture Collective, LLC, comprised of Howard University alumni, began generating buzz for the event during last spring. Since, students have been asking the question "What is Meccafest?" Not until September 2014 did the minds behind The Meccafest begin to reveal details about the event including the artists, sponsors, and hosts of the festival.
Although not officially affiliated with Howard University and Howard University Homecoming, The Meccafest was almost innately compared to the long-established Yardfest. The major differences of a further location, minimum $25 ticket cost, and a more open venue ensured that the festival would be one to remember.
Performances included the advertised Teyana Taylor, Jeremih, and Rae Srummurd, but was without headliners Elle Varner, Future, and Bobby Shmurda ,who was announced as a surprise guest just days before the festival. Performances times ran two hours later than the released line-up and behind-the-stage chaos was made evident by hosts' requests for people to clear the stage. Despite the un-kept promises and un-organization, festival go-ers were surprised with performances from DC native, Wale, "Yayo" rapper Snootie Wild, and Taylor's Maybe features Yo Gotti, and Pusha T. Virginia-born rapper Black Cobain and GoGo Band, Future Band, also showcased local talent on The Meccafest stage as the event rounded out thousands of guests.
Jae Murphy, OG Chase B, and Kayla Lindsey hosted the event and gave Howard students some familiar faces, as all began their hosting careers on the campus of the University. They kept the crowed energized over the sounds of DJ Tay James and DJ Chubb E Swagg as sponsors Fameous Hookah and Hennessy provided beverages and hookah for those who wanted to step away from the live music madness.
From the pit of the stage, to walls of the event pavilion, Gateway DC was filled with youth, energy, and clouds of more than just hookah.
The now annual event kept guests until the end of the festival before taking part in the night's festivities. The Meccafest's raw energy made it a genuine joy to attend, despite the hiccups, and set the tone for an unpredictable, new type of Howard Homecoming weekend.