Startups The Gathering Spot and Paul Judge Media Group, with A3C co-owner and managing partner Mike Walbert, together acquired a controlling stake in the event.

Photo by Jade Johnson

The A3C Festival & Conference has secured strategic investments from Atlanta startups The Gathering Spot and Paul Judge Media Group. With the deal, co-founder and The Gathering Spot CEO Ryan Wilson, A3C co-owner and managing partner Mike Walbert and Paul Judge Media Group acquired a controlling stake in A3C with a vision of expanding the event to include new conference tracks featuring tech from today’s leading voices in addition to its existing music, social justice and cultural experience.

“This partnership was developed based on our collective desire to create the most influential and anticipated annual conference and festival in Atlanta,” said Wilson in a release. “We each have a unique approach to building community and have amassed incredibly powerful resources while individually building bridges to opportunity.”


The new partnership will seek to create a more appealing platform for brand alignment, as well as open new doors by integrating film, TV and gaming. The team also plans to expand upon A3C’s “Startup Spotlight” track introduced in 2017 as a means to further drive collaboration, ingenuity and innovation between Atlanta’s tech and creative communities.

“Atlanta’s influence is felt everywhere. We have an authentic, powerful convergence of culture, music, technology and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Paul Judge in a release. “A3C is the event that will bring these diverse communities together for inspiration and innovation. We invite the world to come experience the magic of Atlanta and see what’s next.”

Founded as a local showcase for independent hip-hop artists, A3C will celebrate 15 years of its annual event in 2019. The Atlanta staple has grown to welcome over 30,000 attendees, welcoming them to discover, network and learn from the innovators, entrepreneurs and artists that drive the culture forward. The 2019 A3C Festival & Conference will include additional programming and take place on Oct. 8-13.

Each year the event features performances from over 1,000 artists and discussions from more than 300 speakers. Past performers include Lil WayneNasJ.ColeRick RossWiz KhalifaG-Eazy2 Chainz and Wu-Tang Clan, while past speakers include Anthony SalehEthiopia HabtemariamKevin “Coach K” LeeMaster PRyan LeslieSteve StouteTroy Carter and Tuma Basa.

“While we’re proud of what we’ve built, this anniversary is the perfect time to bring on partners who can help take A3C to the next level,” said Walbert in a release. “In Ryan Wilson and Paul Judge we’ve found two innovative, local entrepreneurs, that share our passion for creating communities, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and showcasing Atlanta’s leading influence on the culture.”

A3C Festival & Conference will soon announce additional details about the 15th anniversary event, including speaker submission dates, sponsorship and partnership opportunities, scheduled artists and speakers, and opening ticket sales

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