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Best Summer Festivals In New York City

By Rachel George

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The weather’s warming up a bit in New York City which means summer is almost here. Get ready for mid-day brunches, day parties and outdoor concert series in the park by some of your favorite artists from across the world.

Here are some of the best festivals in New York City to attend this summer.

Essence Beauty Carnival

April 27 & 28

Celebrate all things black beauty, hair, makeup, skincare and more at the first Essence Beauty Carnival three-city tour. Take an interactive journey through the Museum of Black Beauty exploring iconic black hairstyles and beauty trends. Special guests include Ciara, fashion model Iman, influencer Jackie Aina, fashion innovator Dapper Dan of Harlem and performances by Sevyn Streeter and Justine Skye. The tour also stops in NOLA during Essence Fest, with another destination to be announced later.

Governors Ball Music Festival

May 31 – June 2

The 2019 Governor’s Ball features an incredible lineup of street art, outdoor activities and games, and NYC food & drink vendors, and music artists Tyler, The Creator, Jorja Smith, Nas, Lil Wayne, The Internet and more. General Admission and VIP tickets are now available.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival

June – August

The remarkable queen Patti LaBelle kicks off opening night at this year’s BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival for a soulful performance of style and grace. The monthly concert series reflects its diverse community of music and culture. The full lineup will be released in May.

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Hot 97 Summer Jam

June 2, 2019

Dubbed as one of the hottest hip-hop events of the year, the annual bash showcases emerging artists in the industry. Meek Mill had over 50,000 fans screaming “Dreams and Nightmares” word for word at last year, followed by headliner Kendrick Lamar. Tune into Hot97 Monday, April 1st between 2pm-6pm for a special announcement about Summer Jam.

Summer Stage

June-October

Get down to the funkadelic sounds of Funk guru George Clinton & P-Funk All Stars, Fishbone and Galactic and more in Central Park, as part of his farewell tour. This will be Clinton’s last performance in front of about 200,000 people in NYC at the largest outdoor performing arts festival. Throughout the summer season, the music festival supports the City Parks Foundation for free programs and workshops. The venue was recently renovated to include raised seats, more lighting, and new sound systems. Check their calendar for a full list of the artist lineup.

Pride

June 2019

NYC Pride is one of the biggest Pride celebrations to date, spanning over the entire month, and leading up the larger than life parade in lower Manhattan. Enjoy a variety of art, music, family, food, health and history workshops and events for everyone. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and a half-century of LGBTQIA+ liberation.

Curlfest

July 2019

Last year was my first time attending Curlfest in Brooklyn. What an amazing experience of vast shades of melanin, kinky curly hair, and natural beauty! You could smell the coconut oil from the subway station nearby. Vendors featured natural products and hair care essentials that make us glow, including Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter with a Brooklyn stoop-inspired set.

Three women at Carol’s Daughter’s Booth at Curlfest in New York City.

Afro-Latino Festival NYC

July 12 & 13

Save the date for the annual Afro-Latino festival in downtown Brooklyn. Since 2013, this celebration has paid tribute to people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean islands. Move your hips to the sounds of Soca, Afro-colombian music and more from past artists such as Dominican-Italian singer Amara La Negra, Puerto Rican-Haitian DJ Nina Azúcar, and Brooklyn-based Afro-Latina MC Nitty Scott.

Harlem Week

July 28 – August 24

For decades, the bustlin’ city of Harlem has been the focal point of jazz music, soul food and black culture, drawing in diverse crowds during their annual Harlem Week. This year’s events include a 5K run promoting health and wellness, family-friendly fashion shows, career fairs and performances by your favorite artist at the Summer in the City concert.  

Afropunk

August 24 & 25

Feel the music. Free your mind and spirit. Be in the moment at Afropunk. It’s the only way to be. Aside from Jill Scott and Nao, Kari Faux, Goldlink, Tank and the Bangas, Masego, Kamasi Washington are a few of my favorites from this year’s lineup at Commodore Barry Park.

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