Nashville’s 32nd annual African Street Festival will be held at Hadley Park the weekend of September 19–21. This year’s theme is ‘Madiba-Khulu-Mandela—Troublemaker/ Liberator.’ Hosted by the African American Cultural Alliance (AACA), this phenomenal, family-oriented festival has grown continuously and now attracts thousands who are interested in African and African American culture.
The festival is one of the city’s premiere events, attracting people of all ages, all walks of life, and all sectors of the region. The celebration now includes the cultures of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America and other places around the world where Africa is also represented in its people and cultures.
The festival kicks off on Friday, September 19, from with an international block party featuring local artists 6-8 pm; continues on Saturday, September 20, through Sunday, September 21, from 11 am-9 pm each day.
It also includes children’s storytelling, fashion show and lectures. There is abundant free parking. Always free admission, and it is handicap accessible, with valet golf cart rides through the grounds.
The African Street Festival has grown since its debut in 1983, attracting well over 50,000 people from all over the region, and remains free and open to the public. It remains one of Nashville’s premier events because of its history as a long-running, family-oriented cultural event. Persons of all ages, races, religions, and cultures are always welcomed and invited.
The annual three-day event embracing the culture of Africa, takes place at historic Hadley Park, the first public park in the nation established solely for Black Americans, and features exotic food and daily stage shows showcasing poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and drama.
This year’s new features include: The New African Pavilion; Opening Night International Music Block Party; Breast Feeding Pavilion for New Mothers; Health Walk on Hadley Walk Trail; South African Pavilion; Artist Meet and Greet; 50th Anniversary Tribute Exhibit to Nashville Civil Rights; South African/African American contest for children.
Festival activities include the Children’s Pavilion (featuring inflatable bouncers, arts and crafts, drumming, dance, storytelling and more). There is art, music and movement, spoken word, history, drama, dance, physical fitness, games, language and literacy, and health. Authentic African, American and other cuisines representing the Diaspora; an eclectic mix of live music and other performances, such as African, Reggae, Latin, R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Neo-Soul, Country, Blues, African Drumming; dance; puppet shows; spoken word; Bike Repair Station; 110 International Vendors; and a Nashville Civil Rights Exhibit are all there.
Back for the second year is the Art Show featuring local artists Michael McBride, Joseph Love and James Threalkill. The booth for the artists is near the main stage.
AACA’s goal is to provide more engaging, interactive educational areas and activities that will provide information and resources on the fascinating people, places and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora, several of which are represented in the Nashville Metropolitan area.