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Reflections on Another Year of ‘Cheers’ and ‘Peace’ in Fountain Square

Chreece hip-hop festival succeeds once again in year five

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There are many reasons why Chreece is one of my favorite festivals in Indianapolis.

I can remember that first year back in 2015, when Sean “Oreo” Jones and Jon Rogers (then executive director of Musical Family Tree) first made the festival come to life, combining the words “Cheers” and “Peace” to get Chreece. It was truly beautiful how organically things fell into place. Indy music enthusiasts showed out for hip-hop, and local performers brought their best in return.

Although Saturday’s Chreece festival was undoubtedly bigger, that same spirit of “Cheers” and “Peace” was still present. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. The energy was just special. So many faces were glowing with joy.

Like it did in 2015, Chreece sold out, despite being larger in scale. The festival took place across eight venues this year, with the biggest addition being the Fountain Square Theatre. While that certainly came with some growing pains (we all know that the sound in the Theatre was not ideal), the Chreece crew made do, just like they always have.

Having attended every Chreece since the beginning, it’s been especially fun to watch local acts grow and mature as the festival grows and matures. Of course, mainstays like Flaco, Maxie, Sirius Blvck, and more have been there since year one. But other acts have also blossomed into their own over time, much like Chreece itself.

This year, I was excited by acts like Amerikkken, Baby Ebony, Double A, Jeremiah Stokes, and TribeSouL. Although none of these names were present on the first-ever Chreece, they’re certainly big players in the local hip-hop community now, and that was evidenced by their 2019 performances at the festival. (Note: These are only some of the acts I was able to catch. I wish I could’ve been everywhere!)

In addition to the performers at Chreece, I also was impressed by the list of sponsors that event emcee J. Moore listed off repeatedly throughout the day. From the Indy 500 to Visit Indy to Central Indiana Community Foundation, the spectrum of marquee sponsors behind Chreece 2019 said something big to me — the city of Indianapolis is really starting to embrace its homegrown hip-hop culture, and that’s something worth celebrating.

So as I sit here, still smiling about the magic of Chreece 5, I must say that I’m excited about where everything is headed. This city’s hip-hop scene is organically growing, and people are noticing. It’s really something special to watch.

Keep up the great work y’all.

Seth Johnson can be reached by email at sjohnson@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-254-2400 or on Twitter @sethvthem

Writer - Music, Comedy & Sports

An Indianapolis native, I love all things music, especially of the local variety. My other passions also include comedy, social justice, and the Indiana Pacers.