The For the Culture Fest debuts July 27-30 with a one-of-a-kind concept for Topeka and Kansas. Not since the demise of Wichita’s Black Arts Festival, with its 40-year reign, has Kansas had a multi-day Black cultural festival.
Yes, Juneteenth celebrations are expanding, but this festival doesn’t celebrate a holiday, it’s just designed to bring Black people across the state together to celebrate the essence of African-American culture.
With an aggressive lineup, a great team working to pull this off, a diverse group of financial sponsors and a great downtown location, For the Culture Fest KS should be a fun and enjoyable weekend.
For certain, the price tag is right. With only a couple exceptions, attendance at festival events is free.
Most events will be held at Topeka’s three-year-old, multi-million dollar, downtown gathering place. Evergy Plaza, 630 S. Kansas, was designed as a place for events that bring people to downtown Topeka.
The plaza, located just blocks from the state capitol, includes a splash park with choreographed fountains, the 50-foot CapFed On 7th Stage, a 30-foot digital screen and a 16-foot fire pit.
So, what can you expect at For the Culture Fest?
Music, spoken word, comedy, theater, speeches, an art gallery, food trucks and vendors. The festival has an education component with both a health and business panel. There’s also a historical component, with tours of historic Black Topeka.
Billed as a family event, there will be activities for children and children will be involved as performers. In addition to local talent, the organizers have pulled together an eclectic selection of performers with something for everyone. The headliners include a mix of regional and national acts who will deliver R&B, nuevo soul, hip-hop and rap performances.
Sunday’s talent will include several choirs and a mix of dance and theater performances. Each day of the festival, there will be an array of local and regional food trucks and a mix of local and regional vendors.
So far, the only identified ticketed event is the Black Tie Gala. It kicks off the festival Thur., July 27, 5-11 p.m. at Topeka Townsite Plaza Ballroom.
The gala will include food, music, dancing and a keynote presentation. Justin Aaron, Kansas resident and finalist on Season 22 of “The Voice” will be the featured performer. The keynote speaker will be Maggie Anderson, JD, author of “Our Black Year: Our Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy.” The book covers Anderson’s successful Black family’s attempt in 2009 to actively support Black businesses and drawing on her family’s experience, economic research and social history, she shows why the Black economy continues to suffer and issues a call to action.
Tickets to the gala are $125 for individual tickets and $1,000 for a table of 10.
Details have not been released yet for a ticketed after-party planned for Saturday evening. For more details about For the Culture Fest KS and/or more detailed info on the talent and festival event schedule, visit ForTheCultureKS.org.