Want to Trade the winter blues for some good ole rhythm and blues? Get ready to hit the road for tempting tastes, arresting arts and international intrigue: it’s festival time!
Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival
Durham, N.C., May 21
Almost a half-century has passed since the first Bimbé Festival was held in Durham, and the event, which promotes community unity, is stronger than ever. Established to pay tribute to the West African harvest celebration, which includes dancing and feasting, the festival boasts stirring gospel, hip-hop, Latin and Caribbean sounds, arts and crafts, and tastes from around the world; durhamnc.gov.
Philly Wine Week
Philadelphia, April 3-10
From a swanky opening gala to chic soirees at the city’s hot spots, oenophiles can get their palates primed for a week dedicated to domestic and international brands. You’ll earn bragging rights when you visit participating restaurants and other venues for tastings, unexpected pairings and classes; phillywineweek.org.
Brooklyn, N.Y., May 27–30
The Brooklyn Academy of Music is venerated for its dedication to exhibiting a wide cross-spectrum of creative projects. DanceAfrica, now entering its 39th year and under the auspices of a new director, features the rhythms of Senegal in this season’s lineup, as well as a mélange of performance, art, film and community-focused events. Outside the event, Black vendors fill the streets with wares for sale from the African diaspora; bam.org.
Las Vegas Black Film Festival
Las Vegas, April 28–May 1
Gamble on seeing a few familiar faces as you stroll around the rapidly growing Black Film Festival, now in its third year. If you’re in the business, take advantage of the acting boot camp, hear first-hand from experienced directors and producers or just soak up screenings before mixing and mingling at the nightly jams; lasvegasblackfilmfestival.com.
Washington, D.C., May 1–31
You can sign up the entire family for an international adventure in the nation’s capital, thanks to dozens of participating embassies from Kenya and Morocco to Botswana and Brazil. Throughout the day, visitors will be introduced to the sights, sounds, tastes and various cultural offerings that literally span the globe; culturaltourismdc.org.
Sweet Auburn Springfest
Atlanta, May 6-8
Held in the historic Old Fourth Ward, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised his family, the Sweet Auburn Springfest delivers three days of free, family-friendly fare. Wander the neighborhood and check out performances by local musicians and dancers. Also, sample bites and shop for wares from vendors; sweetauburn.com.
Austin Food + Wine Festival
Austin, Texas, April 22-24
The Texas capital rightfully prides itself on being at the forefront of on-trend foods and cocktails. The city’s annual three-day Food + Wine Festival keeps the flame burning with interactive cooking demos and competitions, multicourse dinners, assorted pairings and, of course, live music; austinfoodandwinefestival.com.
Spoleto Festival USA
Charleston, S.C., May 27–June 12
Explore downtown during a tour of places that are featured in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess before taking in a stage performance of the legendary 80-year-old opera. Take your pick of various plays, rousing jazz performances and diverse dance companies ready to show you how it’s done, whether it’s break dancing, rumba or the cha-cha; spoletousa.org.
San Francisco Black Film Festival
San Francisco, June 16-19
The San Francisco Black Film Festival showcases the works of emerging African-American filmmakers, screenwriters and actors. Film themes range from drama and romance to LGBT and family fare; sfbff.org.
Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago, June 10-12
Located in Grant Park (home to President Obama’s 2008 election night victory speech), the world’s largest free blues festival has spotlighted such legends as Chuck Berry and Ray Charles. Get ready for a three-day, three-stage immersion into the soulful world of the blues; cityofchicago.org.