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Get an early jump on summer and add these African American Midwest Festivals to your calendar.


As the warm weather slowly approaches, so is the need to be outside with good friends, drinks and music. That also means mini weekend trips your girls, guys or a quick family getaway. Check out these African American Midwest Festivals that won’t break your bank.


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Taste of Chicago
July 10 – 14
Grant Park, Jackson & Columbus Road, Chicago, IL 60602
Free Entry
The delicious array of food served at the world’s largest food festival is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. All patrons will need to purchase food and drink tickets after entering the park. Event hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Columbus Black Theatre Festival
July 12 – 14
Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215
$0 – $50
The Columbus Black Theatre Festival brings to the capital city of Ohio original plays that pertain not only to the African American community but society at large. Various plays will take place Friday through Sunday including a poetry slam and open mic contest. 


Indiana Black Expo
July 11 – 21
3145 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
$0 – $100
Come celebrates cultural diversity and inclusiveness across all races, ethnicities, nationalities, generations, socioeconomic levels and religious affiliations. Enjoy youth summits, food, health and retail vendors plus concerts at night.

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Pitchfork Festival
July 19 – 21
Union Park, 1501 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Come out and dance to Pusha T, Dreezy, Jermih and more at this three-day festival. There are over 40 acts to keep you occupied during the whole weekend. This concert is outside, so comfy shoes are a must. 


Toledo African American Festival
July 19 – 21
Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, 1441 Dorr St., Toledo, OH 43607
$15 -$25
Celebrating life, history and heritage at the annual Toledo African American Parade. It’s a fun-filled event the entire family can enjoy. Kids under 12 are free but will require a ticket. Tickets are available to purchase online.


African Professionals Network AfriFrest
July 20
Lake Isabella, The Quarry Bluff Shelter, 1017 Loveland-Madeira Rd. Symmes Township, OH 45140
Free Entry
The family-friendly event with FREE admission is to increase awareness of Africa within the Tri-State while connecting individuals to resources in their community. Members of the organization will provide FREE food and drinks for attendees. Event hours are from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.


Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival
July 20 – 22
Bicentennial, West Bank, and Genoa Parks on the Scioto Mile, 303 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Free Entry
The three-day event includes a cook-off between award-winning barbeque teams from around the country. Teams compete for bragging rights for “Best Ribs” and serve up sizzling ribs, chicken and more. Event hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday and 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Cincinnati Music Festival
July 25 – 27
Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 45202
$50 – $150
This year’s lineup includes Kid Kapri, Maxwell, Mary J. Blige, Blackstreet, RBRM, and more. Don’t miss the pre-party on Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium’s East Club Lounge, with a fashion show, performances, DJs and more.


August 1 – 4
Grant Park Chicago, 337 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
This three-day festival features Featuring The Strokes, The Chainsmokers, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, J Balvin, Ariana Grande, Flume and more. The first performance will start at noon each day. 


Herbie Hancock & Kamasi Washington Jazz Concert
August 7
The Rose Music Center at The Heights, 680 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights, OH 45424
$23.50 – $78
In what is sure to be one of the most celebrated double-bills of the Summer, Herbie Hancock and multi-instrumentalist Kamasi Washington. A star-studded band will accompany them. This concert starts at 7:30 p.m. 


Derby City Jazz Festival
August 10 – 11
Iroquois Ampitheatre, 1080 Amphitheater Rd, Louisville, KY 40214
$60 – $90
Enjoy the best in smooth jazz music and experience the best in food, culture and spirits that Louisville has to offer during this two-day festival. Festival hours are 4 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday. Both days are for festivalgoers age 21 and up.


11th Annual African American Cultural Festival
August 17
Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena Street, Dayton, OH 45404
Free Entry
Come out and enjoy live music, African drumming, Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, Blues, dancers, performances and more. Help raise funds for the people impacted by the tornadoes that hit Dayton and surrounding areas. Festival hours are from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Cincinnati Black Family Reunion
August 16 – 18
Sawyer Pointe, 705 East Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free Entry
This 3-day fun-filled weekend event brings consumers, corporations, and communities together to focus on the historic strengths and values of the Black Family. Events include a city-wide parade, local talent performers, games, food and drinks. Bring your families and friends and make this a reunion to remember! Event hours are 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Louisville African Heritage Festival
August 17
Ben Washer Park, Between 5th & 6th Street, Louisville KY 40212
Free Entry
Enjoy this celebration of unity, culture, art and history across the African Diaspora.  It is a joyous event for the whole family with great food, music, dance, sports, fashion, cultural demonstrations, children’s activities, resources for healthy living and so much more. Event hours are Friday – 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday – 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Chicago Jazz Festival
August 23 – September 1
Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
Free Entry
The Chicago Jazz Festival showcases the greatest jazz artists from Chicago and around the world across the city. Millennium Park concessions offer food and beverages for cash or credit. Grant Park concessions accept tickets. Food/beverage tickets are available for $8 dollars for a strip of 12 tickets. Cash and credit are accepted at the ticket booths. There are NO ATMs on site. A full schedule is available online.


Old School BBQ Soul Festival
September 1
Fairgrounds Speedway, 625 Smith Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
$30 – 250
Get down with After 7, Avant, Keke Wyatt, and more during the annual Old School BBQ Festival happening at Fairgrounds Speedway. Make sure to bring your appetite, too, as food will be a major feature during this Nashville event. Tickets are available to purchase online.


African American Street Festival
September 20-22
Hadley Park, 1037 28th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
Free Entry
This family-oriented festival will feature vendors, food, a children’s pavilion. Entertainment will include a mix of live Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Latin, Gospel, Neo-Soul, Blues, African Drumming, and more.


Cincinnati Midwest MIND, Body & Beauty Expo
September 28-29
Woodlawn Community Center, 10050 Woodlawn Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45215
$10 – 20
This is one of the city’s premier cultural events where individuals, families, and small businesses come to immerse themselves in the richness of movement, music, natural beauty, self-empowerment and wellness. Shop, watch dance competitions, enjoy health seminars and more.



If there are any festivals in the Midwest area that we  missed, please let us know at The Voice of Black Cincinnati.  




The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans in the region. Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or text VOBC to 797979 for local news, events, job postings, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses.





Marissa Staples, Writer
The Voice of Black Cincinnati

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