Cotton Fest: The rise of Riky Rick’s hip-hop festival [watch]

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Cotton Fest… A safe space, curated by Riky Rick for young South Africans to express their love for fashion, hip-hop and people. The Johannesburg-based music festival was also an opportunity for young artists to perform in front of thousands of people for the first time. 

In remembrance of Riky Rick, who passed away on Wednesday 23 February, we take a look at the rise of Cotton Fest and how many lives were changed through the platform. 

ALSO READ: Just In: Riky Rick’s funeral and memorial details announced

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN FOR RIKY RICK 

The first-ever Cotton Fest was held at The Station in Newtown, Johannesburg in February 2019. According to Shesha, the event was for the young, creative and fashionable generation called the “Cotton Eaters”. 

“Cotton Eaters” was a term coined by Riky Rick to describe those who had a knack for fashion. 

The lineup for the 2019 edition of Cotton Fest featured 80 acts. Veteran rappers AKA, Kwesta, Nasty C, Anatii and Stogie T all headlined the event. 

The likes of LucasRaps, The Big Hash, Willy Cardiac and Luna Florentino were all on the rise when they were included on the lineup in 2019. 

TAKE A LOOK AT THE AFTER MOVIE HERE 

COTTON FEST 2020 AND 2021

Cotton Fest 2020 was an even bigger success for Riky Rick and his team. With a lineup of more than 100 artists, it was all systems go. 

The likes of 25K, Emtee, DJ Maphorisa, YoungstaCPT, DJ Shimza, Sho Madjozi, Moonchild Sanelly, Killer Kau and Da LES all performed across three stages. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cotton Fest 2021 was not possible. At the time, Riky Rick partnered with the Department of Arts and Culture to launch a digital series called Lab Live. 

Riky Rick hosted the likes of YoungstaCPT, Focalisic, Costa Titch, Yanga Chief, Blxckie, Shane Eagle and many others to speak about their time in the industry. 

TAKE A LOOK AT A LAB LIVE EPISODE HERE 

ALSO READ: ‘Hit the Gucci’: How Riky Rick wants to be remembered [watch]

HIP-HOP STARS REMEMBER RIKY RICK

Taking to Instagram on Tuesday 23 February to pay tribute to Riky Rick, Cape Town-based rapper Dee Koala thanked Riky Rick for allowing her the opportunity to perform in Johannesburg for the first time. 

“A lot of first times in this industry were possible because of you. When I can’t take it anymore I’d call you and you’d listen to me cry. As busy as you were.”

“I’m really not understanding what’s going on. You were like family to me,” she added.

The Big Hash took to Instagram to thank Riky Rick for giving him the opportunity to perform during one of his sets. 

“This was one of the greatest moments of my life. You gave that to me… I’m genuinely confused. I was 17 years old.”

“It lead to so many other open doors that came ahead. That’s something I can never forget.”

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