Black Arts Fest MKE announces cancellation amid COVID-19 pandemic

April 30, 2020

In a statement released on Thursday, April 23, 2020, Black Arts Fest MKE (BAFMKE) announced the cancellation of its August 1, 2020 festival at the Henry Maier Festival Grounds. Final decision to cancel comes after careful consideration of the mounting health concerns and community hardships arising from the COVID-19 pandemic:

“We recognize that the Safer at Home mandates may be removed by August but in the end, it is impossible to predict future mandates for large social gatherings in this time of health crisis and uncertainty.

“Although our community enjoys attending the festival, given the disproportionate rate that COVID-19 has affected African Americans, the board has made the difficult but responsible decision to cancel the festival for this year. ‘We appreciate the value of our annual gathering but prioritize our community’s health and safety above all else,’ said Derek Tyus, chairman of BAFMKE’s board of directors.

“Black Arts Fest MKE is an anchor in our community and a vital part of Milwaukee’s summertime ethnic festivals. Celebrating our heritage, culture, and unity is a must. The board of Black Arts Fest MKE looks forward to returning to Henry Maier Festival Park in August 2021.

“ABOUT BLACK ARTS FEST MKE This annual festival celebrates African heritage and African American culture, exposing attendees to our deep roots and creative arts. Black Arts Fest MKE creates a positive atmosphere that unifies all ages to inspire and strengthen pride in our ancestry. We hope all leave the festival with a greater understanding of our history. Visit to learn more.”

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