You don’t want to miss this one. The first ever Birmingham Freedom Fest – a new music and empowerment festival – will take place in the Birmingham Civil Rights District, Saturday, July 27. Here’s what you can expect and why you need to go.
For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit www.freedomfestbhm.com. Tickets are also available at JB’s House of Fashion, 1630 Third Ave. West.
The full day and evening celebration will feature national recording artists such as Southern rap legends 8 Ball and MJG, R&B icon Midnight Star, legendary neo-soul superstar Musiq Soulchild, Birmingham’s own Ruben Studdard and Alvin Garrett and many more. Birmingham comedian FunnyMaine Johnson will host the main stage, which will be located at Fifth Avenue North and 16th Street North.
In addition to established artists, up-and-coming artists will also get their moment in the spotlight. Rising Birmingham singer Love Moor will be showcased, along with the winner of an online competition that featured six talented local performers. The artist with the winning number of votes will perform during a set that evening.
“Festival organizers wanted to create an event that showcased the talent in our city and beyond,’’says Mayor Randall Woodfin. “Highlighting what is developing right here in our backyard, shows other up-and-coming creatives just what is possible if you work hard and put in the work. The hope is that Freedom Fest becomes an event that not only entertains, but also empowers.’’
Gates will open at 10 a.m. and the first acts will start around 12 p.m. The main entrance will be at Sixth Avenue North and 18th Street North. There will also be food trucks and food vendors. The hashtag for the event, which will be held rain or shine, is #FreedomFestBhm.
“We are excited about this unique convergence of entertainment and empowerment. From the speakers, the music and the beauty of our city’s culture the festival will provide a live experience celebrating Birmingham’s spirit and purpose,” said Festival Producer Rashada LeRoy of LRY Media Group.
Lawn chairs will be allowed, but attendees should know there is a bag policy, said LeRoy. Backpacks and purses, will not be allowed. However, clear bags will be. Lawn chairs carried in holders will be subject to a search.
Parking will be available on area downtown streets; in Deck #7 at 18th Street North near Fifth Avenue North; and at the Boutwell deck. Parking at the two decks will be $10.
12:05 PM – Festival opens with Kristen Glover, Alvin Garrett and the 205 Unity Choir
12:15 PM – Alvin Garrett
1:30 PM – DanI
2:05 PM – Riah2Crucial
2:30PM – Ruben Studdard
4:00 PM – Love Moor
5:30 PM – Midnight Star
6:30 PM – Freedom Fest Contest Winner
7:00 PM – Translee
8:50 PM – Musiq Soulchild
9:35 PM – 8Ball & MJG
Eight Empowerment Sessions Throughout the Day
Along with the music will be eight thought-provoking discussions, workshops and forums that will shine a light on issues of equality and civic engagement.
These conversations will be led by some of the brightest minds in advocacy such as Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, award-winning author and prison reform advocate Anthony Ray Hinton, U.S. Senator Doug Jones, Alabama State senators Linda Coleman-Madison and Vivian Figures, as well as local leaders and innovators in business, technology, beauty, the arts and urban planning. The discussion with Mayor Woodfin, Sen. Jones and Hinton, who was on Alabama’s Death Row for nearly 30 years for a crime he did not commit, will be followed by Sen. Jones and Hinton signing copies of their latest books.
“Birmingham has a rich culture of both music and empowerment. Freedom Fest is a showcase of both those worlds – our history of world-changing activism and our love of incredible music and entertainment,” said Mayor Woodfin. “Books-A-Million will also be at the festival with a pop-up bookstore about the city’s culture and beyond.
The empowerment sessions will be held throughout the Birmingham Civil Rights District, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and 16th Street Baptist Church.
The South Got Something To Say: Creative Consciousness: Main Stage at Kelly Ingram Park
12:45 pm – 1:10 pm
Valencia ‘Mrs.Vee’ Johnson, Radio Personality, Minister, Motivational Speaker
Allysa “LyssaLou” Singer, Spoken Word Artist and Psychology Professional
Moderator – Dana Woodruff, Radio Personality, Licensed Counselor and Media Company Owner
Sacred Spaces: Urban Planning in Historic Districts – Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
Justin Moore, Executive Director, NYC Public Design Commission
Moderator – Ivan Holloway, Urban Impact Birmingham
Cracking Codes: The Power of STEM – St. Paul United Methodist Church – 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Dr. Rayna Dyck, Skin Wellness Center Vice President
Dr. Denise Gregory, Assistant Provost and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Samford University
Moderator – Ernie Williams, Alabama Power
She Decides: A Courageous Conversation about Women’s Rights – 16th Street Baptist Church 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Alabama State Senator Linda Coleman-Madison
Alabama State Senator Vivian Davis Figures
Melanie Bridgeforth, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham
Dr. Nadia Richardson, Founder and Executive Director, No More Martyrs
Moderator- Kelly Ann Scott, Vice President of Content, Alabama Media Group
Pathways to Prosperity – St. Paul United Methodist Church – 3:45 pm – 4:30 pm
Bacarra Mauldin, Executive Director, Clastran
Zhaundra Jones, Senior Program Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
Ron Mathieu, Chief Executive Officer, Birmingham Airport Authority
Moderator – Dr. Anthony Hood, Director of Civic Innovation, Office of the President, UAB
The Secrets of Her Success – 16th Street Baptist Church 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Teresa Lundy, Principal and Founder, TML Communications LLC
Ashlee Ammons, Co-Founder and COO, Mixtroz
Carmen Bender, Phone Bank Manager, Wells Fargo
Moderator – Pam Cook, Coca Cola, Director of Multicultural Marketing & Community Affairs for Coca Cola UNITED’s Central Region
EmpowerHERment: The Beauty Session – Main Stage at Kelly Ingram Park – 4:40 pm – 4:55 pm
Sheena Moore, Owner, The Loc Oasis,
Coco Moore, Owner, Coco Moore Beauty
Darrius Peace, Owner, Hayah Beauty
Courtney Kirk, Owner, The Kirk Effect
Moderator – Jeffrey Simmons, Co-Owner, Visions Beauty Distributors
Justice, Empathy and Advocacy – 16th Street Baptist Church – 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Presentation and 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Book Signing
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin
U.S. Senator Doug Jones
Author & Prison Reform Advocate Anthony Ray Hinton
Moderator – Denise Gilmore, Senior Director, Office of Social Justice and Racial Equity, City of Birmingham
Mayor Woodfin added, “Not only is it a chance to have fun and enjoy performances from top national acts and our great home-grown talent, it’s a chance for our residents to join the conversation in some of our nation’s most important topics.”
More than a music festival, don’t miss Freedom Fest on July 27. Check out the entire lineup and make plans to attend. Get your tickets – HERE