Festivals are a great way for people to gather, enjoy a shared culture, and have fun. They can happen any time of year, but with the summer season kicking into full gear, the good weather and more flexible vacation schedules make it ideal for unwinding. Now is as good a time as any to start planning your social calendar for the remainder of the year. 

If you’re looking for fun, Black-centric events to enjoy, here are some of the top options happening coast to coast. From niche events to major branded blowouts, here are 14 festivals that cover everything from music to networking, advancing the culture and just having a good time. 

Blavity House Party — Nashville, TN

The calendar starts with June when Blavity kicks off the season with its Blavity House Party. The two-day event runs from June 14th and 15th in Nashville, Tennessee. However, there are pre- and post-events planned which are included in the “Warm-Up” and “Farewell” agendas on Thursday, June 13th and Sunday, June 16th. This vent centers the HBCU experience, letting students, alumnus and other supporters connect and celebrate. The music festival will also host pop ups, brunches, marketplaces and more. 

While music isn’t the only draw, fans of old school hits and new tunes will love the varied lineup which includes 90s-era artists like Dru Hill, Monica, bounce icon Big Freedia, Afrofuture, Travis Porter and more. View the full show schedule or buy passes on Blavity.

Durag Festival — Charlotte, NC

If you’re looking for Juneteenth celebrations, a popular one that does it “for the culture is the Durag Fest. This two-day event takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina and will be held on June 21st and 22nd. Now in its 6th year, it’s all about nurturing and supporting Black culture with a lineup that includes speakers, panels, mixers, workshops, and more. There’s even a HBCU-focused event called the HBCU Design Challenge. HBCU students will compete to design a durag that not only promotes the importance of Juneteenth, but highlights why the durag is a symbol of the culture. 

IBE Summer Celebration—Indianapolis, IN 

Reader’s might be shocked to find that one of the largest Black festivals in the country takes place in Indianapolis. Now referred to as “Summer Celebration” (previously Indianapolis Black Expo), this 10-day event will be held from June 20th through the 30th. The multi-day event includes concerts, symposiums, marketplaces, parties, art fairs, educational initiatives for the youth, and more. Musical lineups include OG performers like Johnny Gill, Lala Hathaway and Morris Day as well as 90s-era R&B crooners like Ginuwine and Next.

St. Kitts Music Festival—Basseterre, St. Kitts

Need an excuse to head to the Caribbean? The St. Kitts Music Festival is as good a reason as any. This three-day event will be held from June 27th through the 29th on the gorgeous island of St. Kitts. Each day features a new line up with the final day having the biggest names like Mary J. Blige, Rick Ross, and Freddie Jackson. 

Essence Music Festival — New Orleans, LA

Of all the Black festivals, this is probably one of the most recognizable. Now in its 30th year, Essence Music Festival (usually referred to as just “Essence Fest”) is back and will cover 4th of July weekend from July 4th through the 7th. This 360-degree cultural celebration brings together celebrities, appreciators of the culture, and an amazing time with the ultimate party city — New Orleans — serving as the backdrop. While the concerts are the biggest draw, there are plenty of brand activations, symposiums, forums, and adjacent conferences to appeal to a wider audience. 

Curlfest — New York, NY

Black hair is amazing, grows up, and offers endless styling choices thanks to its versatile structure and durability. But in a world that often punishes Black people for wearing their hair naturally, it’s important to celebrate those curls and coils. This is the premise of Curlfest, an annual event that will take place on Saturday, July 20th in New York. the one day event includes a beauty expo, a vender marketplace, music, conferences, and of course amazing food and drinks. 

Circle City Classic — Indianapolis, IN

People may be very surprised to find that Indianapolis is such a central space when it comes to preserving, promoting, and showcasing Black culture. However, the same IBE that hosts Summer Celebration also organizes the Circle City Classic. Now in its 40th year, the event is like a massive annual Midwestern HBCU homecoming event held in Indianapolis, Indiana. The entire weekend includes a football game, Greek strolls, performances, a parade, coronation, and countless other events held throughout the city. The highlight event will be Saturday, September 28th at Lucas Oil Stadium when North Carolina Central University faces Norfolk State University. 

Afrofuture — Accra, Ghana

For those that are passport-ready and looking to escape domestic shores, Afrofuture is calling their name. The festival was formerly known as Afrochella when it began in 2019. The event truly closes out the Black festival circuit as it will be held in Accra, Ghana between December 27th and January 3rd, 2025. The event spotlights African achievements in music culture, and entrepreneurship. 

Jazz in the Gardens—Miami Gardens, FL

Although this year’s Jazz in the Gardens already passed, jazz fans can catch the next event in March 2025. The two-day event is all about vibing to classic and new jazz while also celebrating Black culture’s direct influence on the musical genre. But don’t assume that it’ll just be traditional jazz as previous performers to rock the stage have included Jazmine Sullivan, Summer Walker, and Omarion. 

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival—New Orleans, LA

Anyone who’s been to New Orleans, or knows the city’s rich jazz history will instantly understand why it’s home to one of the biggest jazz festivals in the country. This week and a half-long event is scheduled for April 24th through May 4th, 2025. Although musical performances are clearly the bigger draw, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which is now in its 54th year, the event has since expanded to include marketplaces, cultural exchanges celebrating both Black and Indigenous cultures, and of course, food. 

Roots Picnic—Philadelphia, PA

This year’s Roots Picnic already passed, but mark those calendars for early June 2025 to not miss the next one. Yes, this annual two-day music festival is headlined by The Roots, a group that is from Philadelphia. The event takes place every year in Fairmount Park and has been in operation since 2008. Previous performers have included Amerie, Camron, Fantasia, Babyface, Lil Wayne, Jill Scott, Andre 3000 and Gunna. 

Traveling Festivals

Afropunk Festival

While the 2024 dates haven’t been announced, Afropunk is seen as one of the big Black festivals that closes out the year in the US. The organization hosts smaller events throughout the year including symposiums and one-day music features. However, the bigger Afropunk Festival also showcases events in other countries. The event highlights Black culture’s influence on entertainment and pop culture at large. And even musically, the organization spotlights how the Black fingerprint on music isn’t just limited to R&B, soul music, or Hip-Hop. 

Rolling Loud

Rolling Loud is another of those traveling Hip-Hop festivals that isn’t limited to just one state or country. The event migrates year to year around  a few key locations. The next US dates will be Miami from December 13th through the 15th and Los Angeles March 14th through the 16th. This is more of a pure music festival as the stages are the biggest draw with satellite activations located around the grounds. However fans can also catch this festival in Vienna, Austria July 5th through the 7th of this year, and Thailand November 22nd through the 24th. 

Ready, Set, Travel

With the summer season ahead, there’s plenty to keep festival fans on the road for the remainder of the year. While some festivals have a set location and schedule that’s always followed, others shift around the country or world. Whichever a person chooses, they can celebrate Black culture all year long and enjoy some amazing music along the way.