The annual Frizz Fest is happening on Sept. 16 in St. Louis, Missouri. Presented by Frizzy By Nature, the festival celebrates six consistent years of amplifying natural beauty acceptance in the Midwest. The event also will feature a special musical performance from R&B singer Mya. 

Event organizer Leslie Hughes started the event in 2017. She said Frizz Fest is necessary for the Black community in St. Louis. Every year, Hughes aims to create a space where African-Americans feel safe, seen and celebrated. 

“From the first festival with the turn out and people who came, I knew right away, a true testament, that this was something that was needed and necessary for St. Louis, the Black community in St. Louis, and the women in St. Louis,” Hughes said. 

A Bigger Footprint

Frizz Fest
Photo credit: Ricaldo Donaldson

Frizz Fest has expanded in a major way. The festival grounds occupy a larger footprint in Tower Grove Park. This makes it the third largest event in the park this year. More than 50 merchandise vendors are joining the event with 20 food trucks. There will be a hair show celebrating natural hair and the main performance stage. Hughes said she intends to make the event bigger each year for the St. Louis community. 

“If there was ever a year we didn’t do Frizz Fest, it would leave an empty space in my heart and I’m sure a lot of other people,” she said. “It would definitely be missed so we’re going to keep on bringing it every year to St. Louis.”

In addition to a live performance from Mya, the Frizz Fest stage will feature multiple local artists. Soul songstress BeBe The NeoSoul will open for Mya on the Stupp Center stage. There will also be performances from Rachel Bouzier, Golliday and Root Mod on the mainstage. Frizz Fest Entertainment & Logistic Coordinator Alonzo Townsend said that the festival has been a platform for a lot of the city’s rising artists and the event will continue to elevate local music brands. 

“The planning that went into it was just being intentional and showing we have a growing footprint so we have a chance to showcase growing musicians in a world class city,” Townsend said.

Encouraging Embracing Of Self

Frizz Fest
Photo credit: Brett Sayles

As the event continues to expand, Hughes hopes it encourages more people to accept and embrace who they are. With so much pressure from the world to change oneself, Frizz Fest aims to foster self-acceptance.

“Black people face different trials and tribulations,” she said. “From the beginning, we were taught to hate ourselves, our skin, our hair, the way we talk, and the way we act. A lot of negative things have been embedded in us from the beginning of time.“

Hughes and the Frizz Fest team is working to change this stigma. She intends to keep the event in St. Louis, but has future plans of expanding to other cities. She believes with more sponsorship funding, Frizz Fest can change live across the country. For now, she’s happy showcasing the greatness happening in her hometown. 

“St. Louis has so much to offer,” she said. “Our talent here is undeniable. Our swag here is undeniable. [The] entrepreneurs are so creative and talented. So people should come to get a taste of St. Louis. It’s not all bad like how people want to depict it.”