Natural Hair Reviews

Curlfest: Expectation vs Reality 2019 (My First Time)

Dear Beauties and Ravishing readers,

Yesterday (Saturday July 27th 2019) was Curlfest! It began at 12pm and ended around 7pm and I’m happy to say this was my first time experiencing this festival.

Curlfest happens annually around the month of July and usually occurs in Prospect Park. This year however, it was held on Randall’s Island… Where there’s little to no parking 😭.

I was continuously asked a few questions on this event so here are my answers.


1. What is Curlfest?

I’ve mentioned it a few times in other posts but not in detail. The concept of Curlfest as far as I understand, is intended to be a large empowerment festival of celebrating natural hair from curls to fros and even beards.

Expectation: I’m expecting Curlfest to have hundreds of naturalistas from around the tri-state area. I know that it is a popular Meetup destination today including the Baddish N Brainy Ladies Meetup.

Reality: There were throngs of people everywhere. Thank goodness it was a huge field. The ratio was about 80 % women to 20% men happily embracing their natural hair.


2. Why go to Curlfest?

Well it’s Curlfest… Didn’t you hear about it?

Expectation: Curlfest is supposed to be a popular gathering for naturalistas to connect, check out new hair products and eat different foods (I’m hoping).

Reality: It definitely was! There were about 10 food trucks, 10 bar/drink tents and way more product brand tents.

At Curlfest, you get numerous product samples for varying hair types, which makes it worth going.


3. Who will you see at Curlfest?

Is this like Afropunk where there are special guests? Is there a celebrity I’ll see?

Expectation: As far as I’ve read there are no celebrities expected in attendance. Simply you and your wonderful crew. However, I am hoping for maybe one surprise guest.

Reality: I did not hear of, or see any celebrities in attendance. However, there was a dj on the stage and plenty lively music towards the end.

Throughout the event, a drum band performed moving through multiple areas of the park.


4. What can I bring to Curlfest?

Expectation: I’m honestly not sure. I was told you can bring snacks but no coolers. Therefore, I’m thinking there can be opportunities for a small picnic.

I also think you should bring business cards for networking if you’re a naturalista establishing your brand.

Reality: In my opinion, the less you bring the better. I had a little cross body bag but by the time I left, I received so many bags with so many samples, my shoulder started to hurt. However, it was definitely worth it.

Notably, some returnees did bring blankets, chairs, small coolers, snacks and more.

I didn’t bring any networking cards, so I missed a lot of networking opportunities 🙈.


5. Where is Curlfest?

In 2019, Curlfest was held at Randall’s Island instead of Prospect Park. The location was an extra large field but a hassle to get to via public transportation.

Expectation: The email received from the Curlfest organizers, stated “Do not drive because there is no parking.”

Therefore, I’m expecting a 40 minute train ride from my location and a 15 minute walk into Randall’s Island.

I’m also expecting long ticket scanning lines, but let’s hope I’m wrong.

Reality: Yes, there were long lines but the gold ticket holder line was short. Check my YouTube video and you’ll see the silver ticket holders weren’t so lucky.

On my way back, the buses were extremely crowded not to mention that on weekends some trains run funny. My commute back to my car which should have took about 30 minutes… Took almost two hours.

Additionally, I learned, driving was much easier and there was actually parking once you arrived early which I did thanks to my Uber across the bridge from Queens to Randall’s Island.

This was one turn off from making me want to go to Curlfest for another year.

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