If the music doesn’t sound like 90s R&B, then I don’t want it.
Lucky for you (and thousands of others with the same sentiment), there are plenty of opportunities to see some of your favorite 80s, 90s and 00s R&B and soul acts perform live — all year long. As music festivals are seeing the growing need to cater to soul music fans, more and more are beginning to pop up throughout the country, and even the world. And while some are just a day, others are spread out over two to 10 days, including expos, empowerment sessions, day parties, and more.
If you don’t have any of music festivals hitting your hometown, it’s also the perfect reason to explore a new (or old) city, take in the sites, enjoy some good food and overall good vibes. So, if you and your girls haven’t planned out your 2019 schedule yet, here are a few R&B festivals that are worth considering this year.
Jazz In The GardensWhen: March 9-10, 2019
Where: Miami Gardens, FL
Once in the shadows of Miami Beach, the City of Miami Gardens has made quite the name for itself on its own, largely due to the success of its annual Jazz in the Gardens festival. The premiere Miami entertainment event, Jazz in the Gardens celebrates diversity, culture, and art through various genres of music. This year’s lineup includes Lionel Richie, Brandy, Jagged Edge, Teddy Riley, Blackstreet and more. As if you needed another reason to visit Miami, now you’ve got one.
New Orleans Jazz FestivalWhen: April 25 – May 5, 2019
Where: New Orleans, LA
Culture, food, history, delicious beignets from Cafe Du Monde, and jazz music — I mean, why else wouldn’t you want to visit New Orleans? New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, which will be hosting its 50th edition of the festival. Taking place during two weeks April 25th – 28th and May 2nd – 5th, previous performers have included Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Anita Baker, Khalid, Common and more. A perfect blend of jazz and R&B, the festival satisfies many appetites — whether you want to attend with your mama, your auntie or even your best girlfriend.
ESSENCE FestivalWhen: July 4-7, 2019
Where: New Orleans, LA
Speaking of New Orleans: If you’re not planning to join us at the ESSENCE Festival 25th year celebration, then oh no, baby what are you doing? Drawing in over half a million people each year to the city of New Orleans, ESSENCE Festival is hands down the largest celebration of Black culture in the world. Past performances have included Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Mary. J. Blige, Chance The Rapper, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Mariah Carey, Daniel Ceaser, Maxwell, Ciara, John Legend, Solange, Charlie Wilson, Kehlani, and more. What’s even better is that ESSENCE Festival offers more than just performances from the biggest names during the evening concerts. During the day, participants can also enjoy the ESSENCE Beauty Carnival, shop dozens of Black-owned vendors at the Essence Festival Marketplace, and get empowered with conversations from today’s most prominent voices in politics, entertainment, business, fashion and more on our all-new ESSENCE Stage.
Festival d’été de QuébecWhen: July 4 – 14, 2019
Where: Quebec City, Québec, Canada
When was the last time you took a vacation, vacation? From beautiful landscapes to unforgettable experiences, Québec is a dream summer destination and Festival d’été de Québec is the perfect excuse to visit (after ESSENCE Festival, of course). Since its debut in 1968, Festival d’été de Québec has been the premiere music festival, featuring international artists that hit the stages of Plains of Abraham, at Place d’Youville, at the Parc de la Francophonie, as well as at various venues and theaters. Quebec City. Previous performers include The Weeknd, Anderson Paak, and Alessia Cara.
Cincinnati Music FestivalWhen: July 25-27, 2019
Where: Cincinnati, OH
If Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder have touched the stage, then you already know the event is legendary. This year is sure to be no different for the Cincinnati Music Festival, which features performances from Maxwell, Mary J. Blige, Earth, Wind & Fire, RBRM (Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike of New Edition), Tamia, Raheem DeVaughn and many more. Stop sleeping on Cincinnati, and see what this and more the city has to offer. And for all of the R&B heads, just know that the popular music festival’s brand of a mix of throwback R&B favorites and current mainstream headliners will have you on your feet all weekend long!
AfropunkWhen: August 2019
Where: Brooklyn, NY
It wouldn’t be summer in New York City without the ever popular (and growing) Afropunk Festival. The festival has been based in Brooklyn since 2005, though you can catch it in Johannesburg, Atlanta, and Paris if you want to travel the world while experiencing the magic of Afropunk. Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and Gary Clark Jr. have all been headliners, so it’s easy to see that the festival isn’t your “traditional” R&B offering a mix of neo-soul, funk and more.