FREE FEST: The Black Arts & Cultural Festival @ the Empire State Plaza on Saturday

The annual Black Arts & Cultural Festival returns to the Empire State Plaza in Albany from 12noon-7pm on Saturday. The free, day-long fest will feature plenty of music, capped off by headliner Will Downing.

In addition, the fest will feature an expanded Kids’ Zone with interactive activities, including pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts, science experiments and bounce rides. There will be Scratch Academy, where kids can learn and hone the techniques practiced by hip-hop DJs. Live demonstrations include the Austin’s Barbershop Battle, spoken word and poetry slam with Urban Guerilla Theater, Triple Threat All-Stars Cheerleading and Dance; and Trinity Alliance Hoops Challenge. And Albany Center Gallery will host a satellite exhibit with 18 artists showcasing their work on black arts and culture plus live painting.

Here’s the complete schedule of musical performances for the 2015 Black Arts & Cultural Festival:


12noon: Opening Ceremony
12:45pm: Plaza Lites Talent Competition Winners
1:30pm: Amber Bullock (Season 4 winner of “Sunday Best,” BET’s gospel singing competition)
3pm: Ragan Whiteside (contemporary jazz flutist-vocalist)
4:30pm: One World Tribe (multi-cultural ensemble)
6pm: Will Downing (“The Prince of Sophisticated Soul”)

Bang On a Can Summer Music Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 7/15-8/1/15
PeaceStock @ Freedom Square, Troy, 7/31/15, FREE
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival @ Dodds Farm, Hillsdale, 7/31-8/2/15
Eastbound Throwdown @ Greenwich Elks Lodge Lawn, Greenwich, 8/1/15
The Black Arts and Cultural Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/1/15, FREE
Lake George Blues & Roots Festival @ Wood Park, Lake George, 8/1&2/15
The New York State Food Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 8/12/15, FREE
Pearlpalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival @ Jennings Landing, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/12/15, FREE
The Plaza at 50 Festival @ the Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/16/15, FREE
FreshGrass @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/18-20/15
American Music Festival for the Lake @ Wood Park, Lake George, 9/26-27/15
Bridge Jazz Festival @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy) and Massry Center for the Arts (Albany, 2/26&27/16

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