Summertime is (nearly) here and one thing is for sure—being ‘outside’ isn’t cheap!
From the season’s bottomless brunches, to music festivals and perhaps an exotic vacation (or two!), by the end of the summer your bank account will likely need a reprieve. While we’re all about Black girl luxury here at ESSENCE, we’re also about building Black wealth. So rather than having to resuscitate your bank account after a turnt summer (ie, go on a spending freeze and relegate yourself to any variety of struggle meals, oh my), maybe just try to spend less?
In this seasonal series, ESSENCE will preemptively provide readers with a guide to free or free-ish events in and around major cities. As summer hasn’t officially started, you will be ahead of the game. After all, there are a number of ways to have fun and fulsome summer experiences, locally, without going broke.
Here are a few fiscally-responsible festivities for this Juneteenth weekend. Thank us later.
The Lay Out launched in June 2020 on the heels of the 2020 uprising. The premise was to bring back a sense of Black joy and community to Fort Greene Park. Three years later, The Lay Out is still going strong. The community’s Juneteenth event, “Straight Joy. No Chaser.” will be held on June 18, starting at 10am at Fort Greene Park.
Juneteenth Jubilee (NYC)
The Brooklyn Museum’s Juneteenth Jubilee is per its site, “A full slate of activities celebrating self-expression, community, and Black liberation and creativity.” The event will feature artmaking, food vendors and live performances, amongst other festivities. Juneteenth Jubilee will take place at The Brooklyn Museum on June 18, from 2pm-6pm.
Summer for the City is an eight-week cultural festival (June 14- August 12) in New York City, taking place in and around Lincoln Center. Every week features an array of festivities, including movie screenings, musical performances, family events and even silent discos.
Little Island (NYC)
Little Island is a new-ish public park (opening in 2021), in New York’s Hudson River Park. Spoiler alert, the actual island is manmade (so it doesn’t actually float, but Little Island is still charming, nonetheless). Go for a picnic, or check out an event on this week’s calendar, which includes a DJ and dancing.
Watch a (free) movie under the stars! How romantic?! This year marks the 30th year of outdoor movie series in Bryant Park (who knew)? Movies show every Monday evening—the lawn opens at 5pm and the movie starts at 8pm. This Monday, June 19, features Dreamgirls.
This weekend, a nonprofit organization called Juneteenth Atlanta will host its annual Juneteenth parade and music festival at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. The festival begins on June 16, but the actual parade kicks off on June 17 at 12pm. The event site says the following about the festivities.
“This high-spirited celebration of freedom, unity, and equality is known for filling Centennial Olympic Park and the streets of Atlanta with the soulful sound of live music, amazing hand-made merchandise from local and international vendors, mouthwatering cuisine, and an array of immersive cultural activities for all attendees.”
The 2nd Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration will be held at The Ke’nekt Cooperative. Per The Ke’nekt Cooperative’s site, the venue is a “A Black liberated third space where the community gathers to exchange ideas.” This Jubilee Black Party will be a family friendly event and a “kickback” with interactive games. Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration is on June 18, starting at 5pm.
Get your lawn chairs out! The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP is ready to celebrate Juneteenth. Okay?! The celebration will feature a concert with recording artists Keith Washington and Angela Winbush, among others. The event will take place on June 17 (5pm-9pm), at East Point Commons located at 2757 East Point Street. See a message below from the event organizers:
“The main stage will open at 5:00PM Sharp. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets as this event is enjoyable for the entire family and all ages. Get ready for an unforgettable night of live music, delicious food trucks, and good vibes on the south side of town”
The community’s Instagram description says it all: “Been Free.” It is with this spirit an intention that the Leimert Park Juneteenth Festival will be shared with the world. The festival, which is poised to be a massive manifestation of Black joy, includes music performances (the festival recently announced that Jazmine Sullivan will be joining), three main stages, food and celebration. Per its name, the festival will take place in the historic Leimert Park area of Los Angeles (specifically at 331 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles, CA) on Juneteenth 2023. Festivities begin at 12pm.
“Spread Juneteenth Love the Crenshaw way.”