*Are you a music lover, seasoned traveler, or a romantic couple searching for a unique weekend getaway? Well a music festival may be just what you are looking for. Music festivals are hotter than ever before and are in full swing. Savvy festivalgoers are packing their bags, and catching buses, planes and trains, and crisscrossing across the country to enjoy their favorite artists.
EURweb caught up with avid music festivalgoer Dee Delancy of Miami, Florida. Delancy has been attending music festivals for 19 years, and he normally attends four to five music festivals each year. “I love jazz. Jazz is my number one genre of music,” says Delancy. The Capital Jazz Festival is Delancy’s number one choice, followed by the Seabreeze Jazz Festival. Both of these festivals feature the top jazz artists performing each year. “Capital Jazz is very nice. You get a chance to see and hear Jazz and Soul artists. When you have all those guys performing at one festival, that’s when you know that’s a good festival,” says Delancy.
“When I actually hear them in person, it gives me an even stronger appreciation for the artists. They bring that extra feel to you from their music and it makes you appreciate them even more. Jazz, wine, food and people from everywhere make for a good experience. You know your money is well spent and the experience is nice,” says Delancy. “What’s cool about the Capital Jazz Festival is you get to meet with the artists and talk to them and ask questions that you always wanted to ask.”
Whether you will be celebrating Independence Day at the Essence Music Festival, indulging in art and culture at Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival or indulging in some smooth R&B, jazz or hot reggae music, there is a plethora of choices.
EUR web’s Angela P. Moore-Thorpe set out to find the hottest festivals for you.
1. Essence Music Festival
July 3-6, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Essence Festival will kick off its 20th Anniversary festival with a Family Free Day in the park on Thursday, July 3 @ Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Prince will headline the festival’s opening night July 4, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The festival has a main stage and several Superlounges featuring Robert Glasper, Eve, Stephanie Mills, Naughty by Nature, P.J. Morton, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Wayna, Sevyn Streeter, Elle Varner and many others. On the main stage, expect to see Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The Roots, Ledisi, Tank, Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu and Tamar Braxton. Expect a great weekend filled with music, culture, inspiration, empowerment seminars, shopping and great food. Empowerment speakers include Iyanla Vanzant, Lisa Nichols, Dr. Steve Perry, Dr. Sherry Blake, Soledad O’Brien, Alicia Keyes, Cynthia Bailey, Glinda Bridgforth, David Johns and many others. Make sure you indulge in some beignets, seafood Gumbo and pralines.
2. National Black Arts Festival (NBAF)
Month of July (events year round)
The NBAF is one of the premier national and international presenters of art, music and the cultural of African descent. People come from around the world to attend the annual summer festival and to add art to their collection. The NBAF produces year-round educational events in conjunction with its partners. This is a great event for the entire family to attend. Over the years, NBAF has featured internationally acclaimed artists such as Maya Angelou, Wynton Marsalis, Spike Lee, Harry Belafonte, Jessie Care Moore, Nikki Giovanni, August Wilson, Gladys Knight, Radcliffe Bailey, Tito Puente, Cicely Tyson, Philadanco, Angie Stone, Pearl Cleage, Katherine Dunham, Varnette Honeywood, National Ballet de Guinea and many others. Check their website for this year’s activities.
3. Reggae Sumfest
July 13-19, 2014
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Reggae Sumfest is in their 21st year and Jamaica’s legendary reggae festival is known for its late night shows that continue way past sunrise. Enjoy the Sumfest Beach Party, All White Party, Dancehall Night and International Night. This event usually features local and dancehall artists. This 2014 lineup includes Aidonia, Assassin, Ninja Man, Sean Paul, Tessanne Chin, Jason Derulo, Beenie Man, Jah Cure, Wiz Khalifa, Shuga, Freddie McGregor, Chronixx, Jesse Royal, Future and many others.
4. Jazz & Rib Fest
July 18-20, 2014
This highly anticipated summer tradition of 35 years offers both jazz & rib connoisseurs the very finest in music and barbeque. Award winning rib-burners, representing 10 states will fire up their grills along Spring & Long Streets to compete for “Best Ribs” bragging rights. The Jazz Cafe at North Bank Pavilion will showcase local artists on an intimate riverfront stage set against the beautiful city skyline.
Enjoy hot ribs and cool jazz on three stages all weekend long. The lineup features the best regional and international jazz artists to include Terence Blanchard, Brian Culbertson, Earl Klugh, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Jeff Lorber, Jessy J, The Soul Rebels, Four80East, Funky Butt Brass Band, Organ Monk, Rez Arbasi & Christian Howes Quartet, Mucca Pazza, Kate Ross Quintet, Hoodoo Soul Band, Eddie Brookshire Quintet, La Charanga Tres, Ella Star and many others.
5. Sea Islands Black Heritage Festival
August 15-17, 2014
St. Simons Island, GA
St. Simon’s Island is home of the Sea Island’s Black Heritage Festival. Festivalgoer’s will make their way to St. Simon Island, Georgia, to celebrate the 2014 Sea Island Black Heritage Festival. This event’s theme is booked as “A Culture Richness Where the Spirit is in the Water”. The event kicks off with an Island Club Cabaret featuring musical legends, African American Historian, site and tours, and an Island Sunset Ball.
6. Low Country Jazz Festival
August 28-31, 2014
Charleston, South Carolina
The Low Country Jazz Festival will kick off this jazzy weekend with Jazz Artists: Boney James, Pieces Of A Dream, Bobby Caldwell, Norman Brown, Peter White, Elan Trotman, Boney James, Najee, Brian Culbertson, Alex Bugnon, Joey Sommerville, Nick Colionne, Brian Simpson, Buff Dillard, Dante Lewis, Bob Baldwin, Rick Braun, Euge Groove, Buff and Oli Silk. Be sure to check out the Low Country seafood.
7. The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County
August 30-31, 2014
Raleigh, North Carolina
This year’s festival marks the 5th Anniversary for the festival. The festival is a weekend celebrating art, music, history and culture of African Americans. Take a stroll down the Art Gallery Walk and check out art from artists from across the country, and purchase an original creation for your viewing pleasure. Satisfy your ears with the sounds of performing artists George Clinton, Chuck Brown, Marcus Anderson, ConFunkShun, Midnight Star, The Ohio Players, Yolanda Rabun, Ivan Neville’s Drumstaphunk, Innertwyned, Jus Once, Phoenix Lee and The Dirty Dozen Brazz Band.
8. North Sea Jazz Festival
August 29-30, 2014
This Dutch island’s priciest soul, jazz, hip hop and R&B festival offers plenty for your bucks. Expect the big names to take the stage. From Chaka Khan, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Bruno Mars to Dianna Reeves, Juan Luis Guerra and more will perform on three stages. Be sure to pace yourself as Curacao’s crowds have plenty after parties and late night food trucks.
9. Las Vegas Jazz Festival
September 19-21, 2014
Enjoy three days of live music in the ‘City of Lights’. From Maze & Frankie Beverly, to Cameo, Eric Darius, Keith Sweat, Babyface, Eric Benet, Euge Groove, Fourplay, Jazz in Pink, Anthony Hamilton, Ledisi, Brian Culbertson, Will Downing, Elan Trotman, Jessy J and Selina Albright.
10. Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival
October 24-26, 2014
This festival takes place on the tiny eastern Caribbean island and it has been a hit for 18 years. Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominicans and other Creole-speaking folks pack the standing room only stadium each year for three nights of pulsating rhythms. Be sure to include some free time to enjoy the rainforest, waterfalls, rivers, hiking and diving.
Festivals to look out for next year include:
Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival — Jan 15-24, 2015
Seaside Jazz Festival — April 2015
Panama City, Florida
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — April-May 2015 (Last week of April & first week in May)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Beale Street Music Festival — May 2015
Soul Beach Music Festival — May 2015
St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival — May 2015
Capital Jazz Festival — June 2015
Coachella — April 2015