JWJ Hip-Hop Festival to Honor Late Jax Rapper-Producer Paten Locke

Collage of photos from JWJ Hip-Hop festival
Credit: All, photos courtesy of James Weldon Johnson Park. Illustration of Paten Locke by Erika B, courtesy of Full Plate Fam

The James Weldon Johnson Hip-Hop Festival will return to JWJ Park in Downtown Jacksonville for its second iteration in February. This year’s fest once again includes a lineup of emcees, lyricists, visual artists and DJs.

The 2023 JWJ Hip-Hop Festival will also honor Paten Locke, highlighting the life and work of the late, and unimpeachably great, Jacksonville rapper and producer with performances by some of his longtime collaborators.

While the full festival lineup as yet to be announced, the initial bill includes vocalist Jay Myztroh, polymaths Willie Evans Jr. and Dillon, musical acts Steam Mechanics, Higher Learning, Simple Complexity, Lyricist Live founder Mal Jones and community dance platform In The Midst, among others. Che Forreign, of Duval hip-hop collective L.O.V.E. Culture, hosts the festivities.

A VIP event featuring two locally produced hip-hop documentaries, both of which speak to the enduring influence of Locke, is held the night before the festival at the Jessie Ball duPont nonprofit center in Downtown Jacksonville.

The James Weldon Johnson Park Hip-Hop Festival is held Saturday, February 18, 2023 from noon-5p.m. at James Weldon Johnson Park. The VIP Event is held at the Jessie Ball duPont nonprofit Center on Friday, February 17, 2023. Both are free to attend. RSVP is required for the VIP event. More information.

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