The International African Arts Festival (IAAF) returns this weekend for its 46th anniversary to Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park. The four day festivities will culminate with a performance by world renown timbales player Tito Puente Jr., on Sunday, July 2.
New York-born, Miami-based Tito Puente Jr. is the son of a Latin music legend Tito Puente. Puente Jr. has become an audience favorite in his own right, performing more than 300 shows over the past 5 years worldwide. Yet, he is determined to nurture the musical legacy left by his father and offers Afro-Cuban beats that fire up audiences, crossing cultures and generations.
“He was just too vibrant, too exciting. There was magic in the music my father made. It made people happy all over the world, ” said Puente Jr. about his late father.
The IAAF has been part of Brooklyn’s cultural landscape for over 40 years. Since its inception in 1971 as the African Street Carnival, a block party fundraiser for an independent school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, it had to move several times to accommodate its growing audience, until finding its current home, the Commodore Barry Park.
This year, the festivities take place from Saturday, July 1, to Tuesday, July 4, and feature live music performances ranging from Afrobeat, Latin, Reggae to Jazz and Funk, as well as African dance workshops and performances. The festival is kicked off by a symposium discussing culture and community.
The festival’s African marketplace with over a hundred vendors and entrepreneurs presents a great variety of handcrafted, original designs of jewelry, urban fashion, t-shirts, body oils to imported African fabric, artifacts and furniture, original paintings, hand-carved marble sculptures and much more. In addition, the outdoor food court offers a range of cuisines, from traditional soul food to spicy Caribbean dishes, to African and Latin, including vegetarian food, seafood and raw foods.
The IAAF is a community-based, non-profit organization which attracts an estimated 75,000 attendees from all over Brooklyn, New York City, the United States and from around the world.
For a full list of events, please click here.
International African Arts Festival
WHEN: Saturday, July 1- Tuesday, July 4, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
WHERE: Commodore Barry Park, Navy Street ( btw. Flushing Ave & Park Ave), Brooklyn, 11201