At first A3C was planned as one big opportunity that independent label Arc The Finger Records offered for everyone they met on the road when putting together their first national tour. Co-founders Brian Knott and Kevin Elphick landed with a lot of gigs for their label’s artists, while promising other artists and promoters a chance to perform in their home town, Atlanta.
They both thought that organizing an independent festival would be the best way to take care of their moral debt and this is how the first edition of All 3 Coasts came together, with bands and artists from across United States.
The first edition
The first edition of A3C took place in 2004 and it was actually a hit with fans coming all the way from Florida and Carolina. Even if the event was organized on a low budget, A3C still managed to gather 27 artists to perform at the Loft, in Atlanta.
A3C 2004 lasted for three days and according to the organizers, switching the setup between acts could only last a few seconds since the gear and the location were rented for a certain amount of time. Obviously, several acts were delayed and the last artist that was set to perform was cut out.
Organizers begged the sound crew to bend the rules and in the end the last act of the first edition of A3C had a chance to showcase his talent. Everyone played, people made friendships, and every artist found new opportunities to perform in other cities.
A community was formed, and the idea of A3C meant something different, not just a place where fans were overcharged and artists delivered their performance and then walked away. Organizers saw the potential so they were already thinking about the second edition of the festival.
The 2007 edition of A3C came with national acts such as Jeru the Damaja, Del the Funky Homosapien, Little Brother, and Wale. This is when the festival traded the “independent” label and started making noise.
In 2009 All 3 Coasts moved to East Atlanta and things started to get a different perspective. A graffiti contest was part of the festival and Hip Hop legends such as Rakim and DJ Premier started to show interested for the event. The brand was growing organically with a positive outcome for the Hip Hop culture.
2013 was the year when things started getting major for A3C. The organizers managed to secure different spots in the city and even if obtaining the permits wasn’t easy, they pulled it together. Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, and East Atlanta were now booked for shows and organizers also cut a deal with Lyft to get people from venue to venue.