NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Atmosphere during Afropunk Brooklyn at Commodore Barry Park on August 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)
Don’t Sleep On These 8 African-American Music & Food Festivals
ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE
New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s something about New Orleans and the energy that’s created when Black people gather there to celebrate music. Maybe it’s the cuisine, the rich history, the live music, or the round-the-clock nightlife? Whatever it is, NOLA is the perfect location for the Essence Festival Of Culture.
This four-day event attracts over 500,000 attendees during the July 4th weekend and centers around our community’s health, wellness, spirituality, beauty, style, and career advancement. General admission into the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is free. There, attendees can find food, wine, live music, vendors, activations, tons of freebies, and panels with celebrity guests. The evenings welcome large crowds and concerts with star-studded headliners, like their 2022 line-up – Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Kevin Hart, New Edition, Wizkid, Method Man, Machel Montano, and more.
In addition to this festival, guests can venture out and explore the city of New Orleans, but I strongly suggest booking tour and restaurant reservations in advance to avoid long lines. Trust me. You’ll have more fun that way!
THE BAYHAVEN FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
Charlotte, North Carolina
It’s uncommon to find US food festivals with a focus on Black culinarians, so Subrina and Greg Collier created Charlotte’s 1st three-day celebration of Black food and beverages.
The Bayhaven Food And Wine Festival features over 75 chefs, farmers, brewers, and distillers who offer a diverse take on food within the diaspora. “We’re trying to find more ways to represent our culture that isn’t soul food, that isn’t biscuits and gravy, or fried chicken,” Subrina shared with WFAE.org.
2022’s theme is “Homecoming,” drawing inspiration from historically Black colleges and universities. The 1st day features a family-friendly carnival with a Ferris wheel and Black-owned food trucks. The remaining days feature two multi-course dinners, tasting tents, a jazz brunch, chef-led cooking classes, and a food-focused art summit. The Colliers’ hope is that this event will increase Black representation within the food industry.