Need to Know, Need to Go: Black Edition

Black and African summer festivals around Metro Vancouver to add to your calendar

Blue and white calendar illustration on dark grey background with block text “Need to Know, Need to Go”
Summer isn’t over yet! Go show these community-based events some love!

By: Yelin Gemma Lee, Arts & Culture Editor

The Black and African community are coming out to connect and play this summer with these amazing summer festivals. With so much going on this summer, there is surely something for every member of these communities to celebrate their culture. Vancouver is the proud home to many incredible Black-owned and operated organizations that work to make space for Black community members in the city.

This list is largely inspired and made possible by @blackvanclub on Instagram, an arts and entertainment blog “connecting the dots for Black people in Vancouver.” Here are some of the events to get you pumped for the summer ahead:

Caribbean Days Festival 

This event, presented by the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Society of BC, is the only event I knew of before encountering @blackvanclub on Instagram because my partner and their family look forward to it all year. They say it’s a place where they feel seen, safe, and celebrated. Celebrated as BC’s largest Carribean celebration, this event is free, open to all ages, and back after a two-year hiatus. The festival features a carnival parade, entertainment stage, special events, food and craft vendors, and children’s activities. Don’t miss out on this “weekend of tropical rhythm, cuisine, carnival and culture as only the Caribbean can offer.”

When: July 23 (10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.) and July 24 (11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.)

Where: Town Centre Park, Coquitlam

Afroqueer Pride Sunday

This is an event exclusively for Afro-diasporic, Indigenous, and Brown queer communities, presented by Afroqueer YVR. Afroqueer is a “Black run and Black centered community collective” that have strict community guidelines in place with safety and fun at the forefront. The event aims to uplift “Black/African artistic expression, the event highlights an all-Black DJ lineup, West African and Caribbean treats, drag performances and more.” Go celebrate Pride and community at the same time in this affirming safe space! Tickets are $25 and available through Eventbrite.

When: July 31, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Beaumont Studios, Vancouver

Vancouver Black Block Party

Enrich your summer vacation with an event that aims to “share and express Black culture, talents, and creativity.” The event features a day full of live performances by brilliant artists including SFU alumni Bukola and lots of food vendors including Kula Foods. It appears that this is the event’s first year, but it has gained a lot of traction with over 1,000 followers on Instagram in a little over two months. The event is free with registration through Eventbrite.

When: August 27, 12:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

Where: Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza

If you are planning to attend the events listed as a non-Black person, remember to honour the space and those it is intended for by not taking up too much of it. Please also note that some events are exclusive to certain communities, and it is important that you seek out this information before attending BIPOC centered events.

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