The Rundown for Saturday’s Afro Beat Festival
This Saturday is the highly anticipated Afro Beat Fest happening in Military Park downtown. We sat down with Linda Jumah, one of the organizers of Newark Social, to get a rundown of what you can expect from the first year of this festival.
What is Afro Beat Fest?
Afro Beat Fest is the only festival that celebrates the culture of Africans and Africans in the diaspora in Newark and possibly the state of NJ. It will be a Celebration of African culture, food, music and art. Afro Beat Fest is a tribute to Africa Newark Festival which was a three day event that was held in the same location 30 years ago. The festival was an annual event for over 20 years. We chose the name Afro Beat because music is a unifier. No matter where you're from or what language you speak we all recognize good music. So we wanted the festival to have that same character, a unifier, a place where people come together no matter where you're from or what language you speak. July 15 will be a day to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our people.
Afro Beat Fest is organized by Newark Social. A non profit organization whose goal is to increase social cultural opportunities in Newark. Newark Social also hosts Newark Under The Stars (debut was last year, see pictures for the night of dining in all white). The event could not be possible without the support of our sponsors - City of Newark division of recreation and cultural affairs, Newark Workforce Development Board, Newark Community Economic Development Corp, Newark Beth Israel, and PSEG. And thank you to our media partners for helping us to get the word out about the event.
Linda is in the middle above at the original festival -Africa Newark 1980s Military Park in Newark.
What can we expect to see and do at Afro Beat Fest?
Come prepared to experience Africa in Newark. Military Park will be transformed into little Africa that day. It's going to be a fun event for the entire family where people will be able to showcase their fashion, hair and dance.
The Marketplace is the center of the program - Selling clothing, t-shirts, food, jewelry and art. We have gathered the best vendors to be apart of the event. Local Newark-area businesses include: Burger Walla, Tonnies Minis, Urban Turban, Blueberry Cafe, Forever Audacious, Source of Knowledge. Plus check out others like: Akotos Gh Boutique, Slab House, Akuaba Fashions, PBS Media, Kwab's Couture, Myrtle &a Flossie, Soma Fashion, Simply Maam and so many more.
There will be a Kids Zone which will feature a workshop with Newark Print Shop, African drumming lessons by Mr. Obalaji Baraka (he's one of the best drummers in Newark), face painting and dance instruction.
And for that unifying MUSIC! Dj Sienna Chanel is the only female but she's a crowd favorite who does everything from House to Afro Beat, DJ Nayah newark native who specializes in hi life, hip life and Afro Beat, DJ MOMA of Everyday People and DJHard Hittin Harry whose Haitian roots gives his sound a Caribbean African flair. So there will be a little bit of everything.
We've got performances by the phenomenal Les Nubians, Mr "get your number" Ayo Jay and Ghanaian superstar Bisa Kdei.
PLUS check out the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble who have performed at the White House for President Obama, Zawadi African Dance, art installation by Yendor Arts and Fulali drum group.
Here's the schedule for the day:
DJ Nayah - 10am-12noon
DJ Sienna Chanel - 12noon-2pm
DJ Moma - 2pm-4pm
DJ HardhittinHarry - 4pm-6pm
Zawadi Dance – 11:00am-11:30am
FDU Dance Group – 12:30pm-1pm
Foillaye Djembe Drum & Dance – 1pm-1:30pm
Universal Dance - 4pm-4:30pm
Newark Print Shop – 11-3pm
OB African Drums - 12noon – 4PM
Where can we get updates?
Learn more about the festival at Afrobeatfest.eventbrite.com. Also follow us on Social media for the most up to date info @newark_social