The Juneteenth Urban Music Festival is set to go live Father’s Day weekend, June 13-15, on the grounds of the historic Robert R. Church Park on “world famous” Beale Street in downtown Memphis.
“We have worked around the clock to bring you some of the best local talent in Memphis and Shelby County,” said Telisa Franklin, Juneteenth’s executive director.
“Many of them have already achieved national recognition.”
Juneteenth has a 21-year history in Memphis, making it one of the longest running festivals celebrating the heritage and freedom of African Americans from slavery.
After a long run in Historic Douglass Park in North Memphis, the festival’s board of directors changed the name from the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival to the Juneteenth Urban Music Festival and moved it to Church Park downtown.
Franklin said the new moves are designed to increase the event’s appeal, retool it as an urban music festival and strengthen its brand.
The festival was founded by Glenn Johns Reed as a Memphis-area celebration of the freedom of African-Americans from slavery. In 2012, Reed tapped Franklin as her successor.
Music is an integral part of the festival, said Franklin, who honored dozens of artists at the 1st Juneteenth Urban Music Festival Awards on Thursday (June 12th) at The New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St.
“Juneteenth is here to stay,” she said. “We’re going to get bigger and better.”