What to expect at the Colorado Black Arts Festival in City Park this weekend

What to expect at the Colorado Black Arts Festival in City Park this weekend

The Colorado Black Arts Festival at Denver’s City Park. July 10, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The 38th annual Colorado Black Arts Festival is back this weekend, filling the west side of Denver’s City Park with arts, food and entertainment.

The Black community is “a small demographic within the state of Colorado,” said Kohl Smith, the festival’s community engagement manager, “and there should be space for diversity, artistically.”

Headlining musical acts include Zapp Anthology at 7 pm on Saturday, The Group Fire at 4:45 pm on Sunday and Jackie Venson at 6 pm on Sunday. Other performances throughout the weekend include gospel, neo-soul, R&B, blues, jazz, and hip-hop acts.

The Boogaloo Celebration Parade will also make its return on Saturday at 10:30 am

Festival cuisine includes Creole and Cajun food, as well as offerings from African countries, the American South, and the Caribbean.

A brass band plays at the Colorado Black Arts Festival.
A brass band plays at the Colorado Black Arts Festival.
Courtesy of the Colorado Black Arts Festival

In the Joda Village Compound — designed to resemble a small Nigerian village — festivalgoers can enjoy celebrations of African arts and culture, including creative interpretations of modern dance, tap, capoeira, Caribbean and African dance, spoken word poetry, African roots music, reggae, African drum, and African American folk music.

The Watu Sakoni, or “People’s Marketplace,” will offer unique and handcrafted items from African artisans and local vendors.

Visitors can also enjoy a pair of wellness pavilions. The Hair and Beauty Pavilion will offer fun and educational events, including a hair growth talk, natural hair styling demonstrations, and more.

Dr. Terri Richardson gives Tara Davis information about COVID-19 vaccines at the Colorado Black Health Alliance’s booth at the Colorado Black Arts Festival in Denver’s City Park. July 10, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The Health Highway Pavilion will provide a variety of resources for health empowerment.

The festival will run July 12-14. Admission is free and festivities will take place from 10 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11 am to 7 pm on Sunday. Friday’s programming has a youth and sensory-friendly focus.

Festival parking is available in City Park, as well as in surrounding blocks to the west.