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Thursday, August 30, 2012

House in the Park gets a new home at Grant Park

Ramon Rawsoul (left) with DJ Kemit at last years House in the Park
  • Ramon Rawsoul (left) with DJ Kemit at last year's House in the Park

As we mentioned earlier this week, Labor Day is on the way, and that means Atlanta’s house music heads are gearing up for another installment of House in the Park. Since launching in 2005, the event has grown into one of the nation’s premier outdoor music celebrations, bringing together thousands from across the globe each year.

This year’s edition of House in the Park (taking place Sunday, Sept. 2, and featuring DJs Ramon Rawsoul, Kemit, Salah Ananse, and Kai Alce) is set to be particularly special — and that’s because the event is moving to its brand-new digs at Grant Park.

We recently checked in with Rawsoul — the creator of House in the Park — and got the lowdown on the event’s new location and more.

When you created House in the Park years ago, did you ever think it would get this big?
Ramon Rawsoul: I had no idea, man. Year one, I was just like: “I wanna do a picnic.” Of course, I’m from Chicago, so I was inspired by [the long-running house music event] Chosen Few ... But year one, was just like, “Let’s just throw a picnic. Let’s see some of these people we see out at 4 a.m. in the middle of the day.” And the first year [when it was held at Candler Park], it went well. We had a lot of obstacles, but it went well. We then moved, for the second year, to Perkerson [Park] ... and it started blowing up. So by year four, I’m like: “Hey, I’ve kinda got something on my hands.”

So, what prompted you to move the event to Grant Park?

The infrastructure of Perkerson Park was no longer suitable for us to have the event — and still please the patrons but yet accommodate and please the neighborhood. We were using up all their parking. Last year, I had to spend my last two weeks before the event negotiating parking; I had parking at every single church around there, every vacant parking lot, both of the grade schools and we actually had linked up with a City Council member and she got us parking at Atlanta Metro Area College. We kind of felt like we were interrupting the neighborhood and people were starting to get irritated by us, so we decided to leave on our own before we were asked to leave. And then we just needed more room. The pavilion [at Perkerson Park] by 2 p.m. was [bursting] at the seems — hot, sweaty. Grant Park was always where I dreamed of being, but I didn’t think I could afford to get there until like year 10 or 11. But we beat it by two years, so that’s a good thing.

What has the reaction to the move been like from your faithful House in the Park attendees?
The masses ... are excited because they know how big Grant Park is. Grant Park is very elusive. You don’t really know how big it is until you start to walk around it. The topography of Grant Park is a lot flatter, so we can utilize more of the space. So, the masses seem to be excited. They don’t really know what I have in store for them, and they don’t know what to expect. And there are few who are a little skeptical because Grant Park’s neighborhood association is so fierce; people are afraid they are gonna get a hard time. But that’s for me to worry about. As long as you follow the rules ... you shouldn’t have any problems.

What other changes do you have in store for this year?
The biggest change this year is obviously more parking. I’m excited about that! We’ve got about 800-900 spaces that we can use this year — Perkerson had like 200 spaces.... And, we’ve got both pavilions, so there’ll be two dance floors. Same music — two dance floors.

Free. Noon-8 p.m. Grant Park, 840 Cherokee Avenue, SE (the pavilions closest to the Boulevard and Confederate Avenue park entrance). www.houseinthepark.org.

Here's a look at last year's event, courtesy of www.cptheartist.com

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