Out: The annual Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival. In: Juneteenth Urban Music Festival.
Yes, the long-running Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival is getting a makeover. After a 21-year run in Historic Douglass Park in North Memphis, the board of directors has changed the festival's name. The location is changing too, with Robert R. Church Park on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis now the new venue.
According to Executive Director Telisa Franklin, the name change and the new location are moves made to increase the events appeal, retool it as an urban music festival, and strengthen its brand.
The festival was founded by Glenn Johns Reed as a Memphis-area celebration of the freedom of African-Americans from slavery. In 2012, Reed tapped Franklin as her successor. The new Juneteenth Urban Music Festival will run June 13th through June 15th.
"We are excited about the growth and changes and invite you to join us Father's Day weekend at the Festival," Franklin said in a release announcing the changes.
The entertainment component of the Festival will feature: gospel artist Kevin Davidson and UCICC, rap artist Grind Hard for V, R & B girl group Karma, pop artist Evarocitta, neo soul artist Migel Alexis, hip hop artist Twilyte, R & B artist Lou Angel, and gospel artist Carla Tolbert Taylor.
"We will still have the original kids zone and promote health and wellness in the community, plus we are adding to this year festival lineup," said Franklin. Those additions include a poetry slam and a showcase featuring majorettes, drummers, cheerleaders and steppers as part of "The Ultimate Juneteenth Showdown."
As usual, there will be vendors with plenty of food and wares! The Juneteenth Urban Music Festival is free and open to the public.