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Black Music on Tour: Catch Your Passion!

A music festival is one of the best ways to unwind and let loose this summer. Black music is the heart of American music history. This is our music, and attending festivals that fit your vibe only makes sense. So, get your tickets before they’re sold out.


Here are a few of our favorite upcoming festivals, from niche concerts to internationally popular festivals to throw it back.


The Throwbacks 

Los Angeles has a few events that should be on your radar. Reggae on the Mountain, featuring artists like Marlon Asher, Empress Akua, and Quinto Sol, takes place in Topanga Saturday, August 17. Tickets start at $55, and it’s open to all ages. Saturday, August 31, Fool in Love will be packed with powerhouses in the R&B and soul genres. Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie, and many more are featured at this Inglewood concert. If you’re craving old-school icons and consistently saying “They don’t make them like this anymore,” this is the festival for you. Big names cost money, though. Ticket prices start at $325.

The I Love R&B Festival cranks Saturday, September 7, at LA’s Grand Park, and it’s worth the trip. This celebration brings us all back to the ‘90s and early aughts with Ginuwine, Keri Hilson, Ja Rule, Ashanti, and plenty more. Fool in Love may be old school, but I Love R&B is millennial-style old school R&B. Just remember, my fellow millennials, if you drop something low, make sure you can pick it back up. We all have knee problems. Ticket prices start at around $120.


As a Black woman who grew up in suburbia, I’m personally invested in the 2024 iteration of When We Were Young. This show may be in October but put it on your radar early if this is your thing because tickets are sure to go insanely fast. This two-day concert runs the weekend of October 19-20 in Las Vegas, and it features emo and punk rock artists from the ’90s and 2000s including Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, All American Rejects, and more. Tickets start at $20, but multi-day passes and VIP tickets can get quite expensive.


The Big Ones

It’s only natural that three of the biggest Black-centric music festivals this summer go down in New Orleans, Chicago, and NYC. This year is the 30th annual Essence Fest, which takes place in New Orleans between July 4-7. We all know you can’t drive the streets of New Orleans without having to pull over and wait for a bunch of parading horns and drums to march by, but even The Crescent City is barely big enough for this festival. As always, there’s a huge musical component to Essence Fest. Hip-hip and pop artists like Janet Jackson, SWV, Busta Rhymes, Usher, and Lloyd are taking the main stage this year and driving the evening concert series. Attendees can also experience Essence’s Creator or Wellness Houses, and other offerings. Plus, a whole legion of New Orleans-style excuses-to-party are lined up to test your endurance, including various Fourth of July events, sidereal art projects, and countless music scene spin-offs. With about 500,000 people in attendance each year, including music stars and pop culture icons, don't be surprised to bump into somebody’s bodyguard. You might want to grab your tickets quickly, like, yesterday. Single-day passes start at $85.


Lollapalooza is another massively popular concert taking place in Chicago, August 1-4. Lollapalooza has been around a looong time, and it’s known for edgy acts that bring out familiar faces and push new talent into the limelight. Hosting about 100,000 music lovers, this year’s Lollapalooza will headline artists like SZA, Tyler the Creator, Victoria Monet, Tyla, Sexyy Red, and more artists than I can count. You can purchase one-day, three-day, and four-day tickets, along with hotel packages for people flying in from out of town. General admission for one day starts at $149, and those are selling quickly.


As a New Jersey girl, NYC’s Governor’s Ball, Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9, is close to my heart and home. With 150,000 people estimated to arrive, this year’s line has a little bit of everything. Attendees can expect a notable amount of Latin music from popular artists like Peso Pluma and Rauw Alejandro. One-day general admission starts at $179 and cabanas are available.


The Niche Concerts

There’s another Reggae Festival in Denver called Reggae on the Rocks, Saturday, August 24. Throwing down in Morrison County’s picturesque Red Rocks Amphitheater and featuring artists like Israel Vibration, King Yellowman, and Kolohe Kai, this festival will bring a taste of the islands to Denver’s high altitudes. Tickets start at $89.50 (plus taxes and fees).

Detroit has some genre-specific festivals I’ll be recommending to family and friends in the area, namely Detroit Jazz Fest and Detroit Afro Nation. Detroit Jazz Fest is a free festival taking place in Hart Plaza and along Woodward, in Campus Martius Park. The entire lineup has not yet been announced, but between the August 30 Opening Party and the Sept. 2 conclusion, I’m sure it will be a beautiful time to soak in some classically Black musical history. Detroit Afro Nation is an afro-beats festival happening Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, 18, in Bedrock's Douglass site. With Rema, Lil Wayne, Asake, and PARTYNEXTDOOR headlining, along with other acts, hosts, and DJs, this festival is looking to be a top event for the summer. 

Finally, The Best Day Ever Fest is happening in Portland, Ore., August 10-11 at McMenamins’ Edgefield Lawn. Rapper, social media sensation, and Portland native Aminé Daniel, announced the festival on his Instagram. With a lineup including Kaytranada, BadBadNotGood, Karrahbooo, and more, this is looking to be a true musical moment for the city of Portland. Tickets start at $200, but folks already think it’s worth the investment. Many pre-sale tickets are already gone.


Shayna Conde is a Food, Beverage, and Travel Journalist and

Creator of Cosmic Traveler, the Astrology-Meets-Travel Platform. Catch her on her website, as well as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube


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