Spring and summer are prime times to enjoy music festivals. The weather is warm enough to debut those crop tops, shorts and eccentric jewelry that have been hiding away in your closet all year. Avid festival-goers have had to miss festival season for two years running now due to the pandemic and are more ready than ever to collect little paper wristbands again. Luckily, with much of the country vaccinated, several festivals are back up and running. So if you’ve been wondering what Black music festivals are coming up, you’ll be glad to find there’s a long list.
This country is rich with talented Black artists – both famous and up-and coming – and music festivals are the perfect place to enjoy several of your favorite musicians in one spot, surrounded by that electric festival energy. Whether you’re looking for smaller festivals with local artists or bigger events featuring household name performers, we’ve got you covered with a list of music festivals featuring Black artists this spring and summer.
New Orleans, LA
June 30 to July 3, 2022
In 1995, Essence magazine threw an all-out banger of a bash in New Orleans to celebrate their 25-Year anniversary and is still going strong 27 years later. A two-year hiatus occurred during the pandemic lockdown. However, the festival returned with its three-day event, and wrapped with performances by New Edition, The Isley Brothers, Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, The Roots and more.
The ONE Musicfest attracts over 50,000 visitors and is the largest progressive urban music festival in the Southeast. The site describes it as a “Love letter from Atlanta to the world.” Past lineups have included Lil Wayne, H.E.R, Burna Boy and Ari Lennox. In addition to offering musical performances, the festival also aims to support small Black-owned businesses. They have hosted over 35 local food vendors on the festival grounds, and their Merch Village features apparel and other goods from vendors around the country. There’s also the Visual Artist Village, where attendees will find artists actively creating and selling pieces.
August 27, 2022
This is another one that will require a passport but if you’re looking for something a bit different, it’s worth the trip. The YAM Carnival takes place in a subterranean abandoned relic of World War II – very underground fest vibes. It’s a new festival from the creators of AfroNation (they’re behind some of the best Black festivals around the world) and will feature performances by WizKid, CKay and Black Sherif. The festival will have three “food villages” with cuisine from around the world, in addition to several cocktail bars. What makes this festival stand out are the masquerade performances honoring the traditions of the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria.
Funk’N Soul Fest
Los Angeles, CA
July 16, 2022
Take a trip back in time to the era of disco and bell-bottom pants at this new festival featuring top artists from the 1970s and beyond. The Funk’N Soul Fest will take place at Los Angeles’ iconic Microsoft Theater, which seats over 7,000 people and is one of the largest indoor stages in the United States. Top funk, R&B, Hip-Hop and soul artists will perform including American funk band ZAPP (known for “More Bounce to the Ounce”, the creators of the top 1980s hit “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” The S.O.S Band and other legends of funk and soul music.
July 22-24, 2022
New York, NY
Sept. 23-25, 2022
Rolling Loud is the largest Hip-Hop festival in the world. The festival attracts some of the top artists and this year’s lineups will include 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj, A$AP Rocky, Future, and Kenrick Lamar — to name a few. The festival has been happening since 2015 and has attracted over 70,000 visitors during some of its busiest years. It’s known for heart-stopping performances, theatrics, surprise guests and an electric energy. For the three days the festival occurs, it takes over the surrounding areas and local hotels fill with ticketholders. Three-day shuttle passes are available to easily get guests to and from the festival grounds. Expect dozens of food and drink vendors and lounges to kick back in between performances.
Made In America
September 3-4, 2022
Made In America takes place over Labor Day weekend (hence the name). Jay-Z created this epic festival and curates the lineups himself. This year will see performances by Kodac Black, Pusha, Bad Bunny and other top names. The event takes place at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Two tiers of tickets are available — Tier 1 and the VIP pass — and the VIP pass includes fast passes, access to VIP lounges, exclusive access to certain food and drink vendors and a special viewing deck.
Dates TBD (likely early August)
This festival is definitely worth packing your passport for and traveling over the border. OVO Fest contains a lineup of artists entirely curated by Drake — and, of course, featuring Drake himself. The popular festival took a break during the pandemic but Drake did announce it will return for the summer of 2022. The lineup hasn’t been released yet either, but with past performances by Wiz Khalifa, Future and Snoop Dogg, it’s safe to say the 2022 rendition will be one for the books.
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