The combination of Nor’easters, fake me out blizzards and unstable temperatures would make anyone crave summer. The first day of summer isn’t slated until June 21st, but the festivities will be starting a bit early.
You may think it is too soon to even bring up festivals but now is the time to save up, plan, and buy your tickets if you haven't already. Festivals are one of the most pivotal moments in summer culture and I’ll tell you the top four to look out for, especially if being around black girl/boy magic is on your to-do list.
Starting during the first week of June, the Roots annual picnic is perfect for those who are overwhelmed by the idea of multiple-day festivals. Located in Philadelphia, PA right on the pier gives you that perfect summer vibe. The set up consists of a large stage with tents for other performers. Past performers have been Solange, Grimes and Meek Mill. This year Lil Uzi Vert, 6lack, Brandy and many others will be gracing the stages come June 2nd. The Roots Picnic also features a podcast stage hosted by Angela Rye, Questlove Supreme, and more. If that isn’t enough to sway you, Dave Chappelle will be hosting it.
This can be considered a rite of passage for any woman of color. The legendary Essence Festival never fails with their classic concert lineup, seminars, and celebration of Black Excellence. Taking place in NOLA July 5-8th, the Essence Festival is the perfect midsummer event for our WOC. Aside from the marvelous location of NOLA, filled with history, culture, and art, the concert will definitely win you over. Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Miguel, H.E.R and Xscape - just to name a few - and that’s just the start. Considered an oasis for culture and entertainment for the black girl's soul, The Essence Festival is a must-do on your summer bucket list.
If you thought a festival in New York City was impossible, then you never heard of Panorama. Located on Randall’s Island, the Panorama Festival hosts a lineup for all music lovers. Three days long, each day is headlined by a “fave” for everyone. The Weeknd, Janet Jackson (If you can’t make it to NOLA and you MUST see Ms. Jackson) and The Killers. Other artists expected are SZA, Cardi B, Migos, and Gucci Mane. This festival is perfect for my New Yorkers and East Coast Wildflowers who would rather not travel as far. The Panorama Festival is July 27-29th.
Rounding up the summer with the last festival before Fall responsibilities rush back is Afropunk. If you haven’t heard of Afropunk, then I’m sorry. One of most visually appealing festivals, not because of the lineup, but the cultural celebration that the attendees adhere to every year. The aesthetics range from multicolored afros, to platforms, to afrocentric pasties, you name it. Expect to be in awe at Afropunk. Though the lineup is still to be announced, Afropunk never disappoints. There are many locations to participate including: Brooklyn, Paris, Atlanta, London, and Johannesburg (Joburg) for my wildflowers near and far. Afropunk Brooklyn however is held August 25-26th at Commodore Barry Park. Buy your tickets and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Regardless of whatever festival you opt to attend (or not), it is so important to prioritize the expression of self. Throughout the year with all of our projects, deadlines, and goals, we take ourselves very seriously and often forget the importance of play time and social engagement. But a part of making room for your bloom is allowing yourself downtime and time to be joyous with people that you resonate with. So create space for yourself to do so this summer, you deserve it.