Trailblazing exhibitions and music festivals headline the District’s events this weekend, so enjoy these enriching celebrations of Juneteenth.
Join a packed lineup of hit artists at the Something in the Water music festival Friday, enrich your knowledge of Afro-Atlantic history at the National Gallery of Art Saturday and finish off the holiday weekend listening to emerging Black musicians at the Juneteenth Freedom Day music festival Sunday.
Something in the Water Music Festival
Pharrell shocked the District when he announced that the festival would come to D.C. for the first time instead of his hometown of Virginia Beach due to disagreement with the city’s response to the police killing of his cousin in March. Groove along to unforgettable performances from artists like Justin Timberlake, SZA, Gracie Abrams, Chloe x Halle and 21 Savage on the National Mall. Attendees will have access to various food and drink vendors as well as collaborating brands like Adidas and Human Made. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the District competed with other cities to host the summer music festival, and ultimately Pharrell expressed a desire to bring the “message of unity, diversity and equity to our nation’s capital”, so be sure to experience this unparalleled opportunity for D.C. residents.
National Mall, Independence Ave. SW between 3rd and 9th streets SW. Friday and Saturday from 2 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday from 12 to 11 p.m. Tier three three-day general admission passes are $399.50. Find more information here.
Afro-Atlantic Histories Exhibition
Educate yourself on the African Diaspora through the work of a multitude of Black artists from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas at the National Gallery of Art’s Afro-Atlantic Histories exhibition. American artist Hank Willis Thomas uses stainless steel with a mirrored finish to present a metallic rendition of the Americas in a piece called “A Place to Call Home,” and American painter Aaron Douglas’ oil work depicts the moments before a group of Africans board a slave ship. Paintings, photographs, mixed media and sculptures culminating in more than 130 works examine the rich stories of African cultural experiences dating back to the 17th century. The exhibit is spread across six different thematic sections and is running through July 17, so don’t miss your chance to catch the illuminating exhibit while it’s here.
National Gallery of Art, Constitution Ave. NW. West Building, Main Floor, Galleries 72–79. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free. Find more information here.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Music Festival
To celebrate Juneteenth, embrace the District’s community and culture and discover D.C.-based artists at the Juneteenth Freedom Day music festival at Union Stage. The festival will be hosted by WPGC’s Nori Nori and DJ Akademiks and will highlight local band Black Alley, which combines the genres of rock, hip-hop and go-go to create its rhythmic “Hood Rock” sound. Explore the District’s culture through R&B and soul music of other emerging Black musicians, like artist and producer Ruepratt, at this affordable event. The venue’s small and intimate nature makes it optimal for an event showcasing budding artists to unify locals around the DMV. Stop by for a family-friendly event for all ages, celebrating Black history and culture through new and impressive sound.
Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. 7 p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets are $35. Find more information here.