CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An annual festival that celebrates African American and Caribbean culture is set to begin next week in Charleston.
The MOJA Arts Festival will kick off with a parade at Marion Square on September 29th and culminates in a day-long event at Hampton Park featuring a tribute performance recognizing Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner on October 9th.
The 11-day festival highlights the many African American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures through myriad events that include visual arts, music, storytelling, theater, food, and more.
“MOJA also includes an active and busy educational outreach component of workshops in the public schools and outreach in community centers,” according to the City of Charleston.
Below is a list of festival highlights as provided by the city. For a full list of events and to purchase tickets online, please click here. Some events are free to attend while the city said others are paid ticketed events at affordable prices.
- Opening Day Parade: The parade on September 29 will begin at 6 p.m. at Marion Square. The parade will continue down King Street, through Market Street and end at the U.S. Custom House. The parade is free to attend.
- Juried Art Exhibition: From September 29 – October 9 from 12 – 5 p.m., this free-to-attend exhibition at the City Gallery on Prioleau Street will include the recent work of artists across South Carolina featuring painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography.
- Reggae at Brittlebank: On September 30 beginning at 6 p.m., this free-to-attend event at Brittlebank Park on Lockwood Drive will feature internationally known reggae artist Monsoon, as well as South Carolina reggae artist the Ras Bonghi Reggae Allstars, featuring Papa Robbie and Ric Mystic. This event will include food vendors and artwork from local artists.
- Black Biz on the Block: On October 1 beginning at 1 p.m., this free-to-attend event at Philip Simmons Park on Columbus Street provides a space for black-owned small businesses to showcase their products and services. Entertainment will be set up in the Hampstead Mall Park and feature First Class Band as well as South Carolina reggae legends Reggae Infinity.
- An Evening of Jazz with Momentum and Da’rrell Ravenell: On October 1 beginning at 7 p.m., this ticketed event at the historic Dock Street Theatre on Church Street will include MOJA Arts Festival favorites Da’rrell Ravenell & Peace of Mind Band. Charleston’s Jazz’s own Momentum will open the evening.
- Lowcountry Voices presents Hymnology II: On October 3 beginning at 7 p.m., this free-to-attend event features Lowcountry Voices and special guest Desmond Pringle at Greater St. Luke AME, 78 Gordon St.
- Harambee Dance Company: On October 5 beginning at 9:30 a.m., this free-to-attend event at the Charleston County Public Library on Calhoun Street will feature a performance by the Harambee Dance Company. The company will premiere a new MOJA-commissioned work on October 6 at 8 p.m. at a ticketed performance at the Dock Street Theatre on Church Street. Harambee’s performances incorporate traditional and contemporary dance, creating a new style of African Dance.
- Jazz on King Block Party: On October 6 beginning at 6 p.m., this free-to-attend event between Ann and King streets will feature outdoor dining, shopping and musical performances by Tonya Nicole and Latoya Renea. Visual artist and live soul painter kolpeace will top off the event with a live painting performance.
- WONDERVERSE: The Music of Stevie Wonder: On October 7 beginning at 8 p.m., this ticketed event at Festival Hall on Beaufain Street will include performances of the classic hits by Stevie Wonder. Charlton Singleton and Friends will draw from Stevie Wonder’s catalog of songs.
- MOJA Finale: On October 9 beginning at 11 a.m., this day-long, free-to-attend event at Hampton Park on Mary Murray Boulevard will close out the Festival with a mainstage tribute performance recognizing Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner.