Not long ago, June 19 was just a day on the calendar that came and went like any other in Nashville for most. But the date falling in the midst of the racial justice protests last year made many people — especially white people — aware of the day commemorating the end of slavery for the first time.
It was a largely white crowd who took to War Memorial Plaza on June 19, 2020, which was the same day that Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth for the first time. Lee said at the time that it was a good time for progress and education about race in Tennessee, but in the year since, the governor signed legislation banning public schools from teaching about privilege and racial inequality.
Still, popularity of Juneteenth continues to grow — perhaps best evidenced by the more than 45 events happening this weekend in Middle Tennessee. Many are being organized by Black-led organizations.
WPLN News has compiled this list of the upcoming celebrations (ordered by date and time) plus an interactive map below to see which event is closest to you. And, check back Monday for a story from enterprise reporter Damon Mitchell about the events — online and on 90.3 FM.
Many of this weekend’s events are outside, so be prepared for afternoon temperatures in the lower 90s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The good news is, sunny skies are in the forecast until Sunday, when there’s a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms.
Did we miss a Juneteenth celebration in the area? Email us.
Friday, June 18
Juneteenth Marketplace — 12 p.m.
This pop-up on Music Row in Midtown Nashville features several, local Black-owned businesses. The marketplace in Kenect’s lobby includes vendors like The Cake Project, Kendra’s Gourmet Popcorn, The Oatstraw Tea Company, Perfectly Cordial, Poetically Illustrated, TNT Goods, Music City Vintage and Calligraphy and Elegant Engraving by Barbara.
Freedom Stories: Celebrating Juneteenth — 12 p.m.
Sephora in the Mall at Green Hills is hosting its inaugural Juneteenth event with Mayree Thee Solutionist of SingleWoman Joan Lifestyle. Participants can shop with product vendors, learn about the latest hair trends during the live braiding demonstration and learn about the store’s Black-owned product lines through demos.
Pre-Juneteenth Pop-Up Shop — 4 p.m.
This pop-up is taking place the day before Juneteenth at the Rock Tha Bellz Event Center in Madison, featuring more than 20 vendors selling clothes, jewelry, candles, t-shirts, food and more. All are local Black-owned businesses. The event will also have giveaways, music and performances.
Beyond Strength (Juneteenth Celebration) — 5:30 p.m.
This celebration is being held at the Townsend School in Winchester, which was Franklin County’s only African-American school when it opened more than 90 years ago. This event is inviting attendees to “celebrate the breaking of generational, mental and physical chains through the arts,” featuring paintings, spoken word and poetry and live music. Tickets are $15 online ahead of time or $20 at the door.
The Majik Trap is hosting this “Juneteenth pregame honoring all … Blerds” on Friday night in Madison. There’s a prize for best cosplay, along with other raffles. On sale will be crystals from The Majik Trap, natural products, collectibles, and food and drinks. There will also be an anime screening along with a video game competition on Xbox and PS4 (Bring your own controllers). Tickets start at $10, or $20 to include an entry in the cosplay competition.
Juneteenth Sip & Paint — 6 p.m.
The not-yet month-old Van Leer Studios in North Nashville is hosting a Juneteenth themed sip-and-paint, led by local artist Taylor Sinclair. The BYOB event is $30 for a single ticket or $50 for a couple to attend and includes small bites, sangria and music.
Nashville SC is hosting a watch party at Elizabeth Park in North Nashville for its Friday night away game against the New York Red Bulls. To mark Juneteenth, The Backline Supporters’ Collective will be launching the soccer club’s newest and first black-led supporters’ group, called The Mixtape. The event is being hosted in conjunction with Metro Government and Councilman Brandon Taylor. The watch party will feature — along with the game — music, food, giveaways and local vendors.
The Inaugural Juneteenth Formal Gala — 6 p.m.
The gala at the Carnton house, a former plantation in Franklin, is being co-hosted the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition and the Franklin Battle and Trust. It’s sponsored by Uncle Nearest Whiskey, Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Big Love’s Smoke, which are providing two signature drinks and dinner. The gala sold out a week before Juneteenth, but tickets were $100 per person.
Saturday, June 19
Black Lives Matter Nashville is hosting a mural paint-and-brunch on the corner of Woodland Street where it intersects with Interstate Drive in East Nashville. It will feature food trucks, speakers, vendors, information about voting rights and African diaspora booths.
5th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Fair — 9 a.m.
The Village Church Nashville is hosting its annual “freedom fair” in partnership with Judge Rachel Bell, Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry and the Music City Community Court, this year helping 50 people expunge their records in Davidson County. The R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Re-Entry Court will also have more than 30 lawyers on hand to help people on other civil rights, like restoring voting rights or reinstating one’s driver’s license. The event, held at the McGruder Family Resource Center in North Nashville, will also provide access to health care and resources during the freedom fair plus music, food trucks and a Juneteenth ceremony.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Ride — 9 a.m.
The groups Black Girls Do Bike, Bike For Equality and Oasis Bike Workshop are hosting a Juneteenth ride (10 and 25 mile routes are available). They’ll have bike checks, giveaways and free lunch for all registered attendees. The ride begins at the Watkins Park Pump Track in North Nashville (which you can hear more about in WPLN’s coverage of the unique bike track here). The event is free, but organizers are asking those planning to participate to register ahead.
WTE Institute’s Juneteenth Hike Workshop — 10 a.m.
The Way, The Truth and Enlightenment Institute, a nonprofit aiming to empower children, youth and families through a holistic approach to physical health, mental awareness and social relationships, is hosting a Juneteenth hike at Beaman Park. The $15 workshop includes a beginner level hike, meditation practice activities, light refreshments and water. The group will meet at WTE Institute’s location on Jefferson Street before driving to the park. A ride via a professional transportation company is available for an additional $5. Attendees can register here.
Community Juneteenth Festival — 10 a.m.
Day 2 of the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition‘s Juneteenth events is taking place in the public square in Downtown Franklin. The free celebration will feature live music from two main stages, guest speakers, more than 40 vendors, food trucks and activities for families and kids.
Clarksville Juneteenth Block Party — 10 a.m.
Black Clarksville is hosting an event at the Downtown Commons in Clarksville, which will include music, live performances, food trucks, Kings Bluff Brewery and face painting. More than 30 vendors will be on site, including several community organizations and resources.
Black Murfreesboro Market — 10 a.m.
Black Murfreesboro is hosting its market one Saturday each month at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro through October 9 to support Black-owned businesses. Vendors range from bath and body products to clothing and accessories, hair and beauty supplies, jewelry, cosmetics, home goods and more. Food trucks will also be on site for the market’s Juneteenth celebration, plus local DJs to provide music at the event.
Juneteenth at Bradley Academy Museum — 10 a.m.
The Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center is hosting this family-friendly event, featuring food, vendors, live music and dancing in Murfreesboro. There will also be a kids’ zone with free games and activities.
Juneteenth Celebration — 10 a.m.
This family-friendly event at Clearview Park in Gallatin is focusing on education, exposure and experience of the Black community in Sumner County, highlighting and showcasing its history, accomplishments and heritage. The celebration will feature Black artists (performing, fine arts, instrumentalists, bands, visual arts, poetry, comedy, etc.) plus a Black business expo, a resource fair and a car and bike show.
Juneteenth On The River Celebration — 10 a.m.
The event is listed on the local government’s website “because it is taking place on Metro property, and the property may not be available for regular use during this time.” But, no further information about the 12-hour event at Riverfront Park in Downtown Nashville was given on the site.
Juneteenth Block Party — 11 a.m.
The National Museum of African American Music is hosting a free, family-friendly outdoor event on the rooftop of Fifth + Broadway in Downtown Nashville, featuring live music, local vendors and community partners, with food available to purchase at Assembly Food Hall.
Juneteenth 2021 at the Frist — 11 a.m.
The Frist Art Museum in Downtown Nashville is hosting a free on-site viewing of its online exhibition N2020: Community Reflections curated by muralist Woke3, who was recently featured in WPLN’s coverage of the Norf Wall Fest. The 47-minute video version of the exhibit showcases choreography, dance, music, photography, spoken-word poetry and video by Nashville artists reflecting on the year 2020. Attendees can also design their own freedom flag and learn more about destinations in the city tied to Nashville’s Black history in the Turner Courtyard.
Juneteenth Gallery Tours — 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
The Tennessee State Museum in Downtown Nashville is giving specialized 45-minute tours focusing on the state’s Black history — highlighting the diverse Black culture in Tennessee, while aiming to acknowledge the oppression they also faced from various forces in the state’s history. Visitors can join the free tour on a limited, first-come first-serve basis by signing up at the Visitors Desk when arriving at the museum.
Manifest Magic: Black Girl Cooperative is hosting the all-day Clarksville Juneteenth Festival at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, in conjunction with the TN Minority Business Alliance. The event’s main stage will feature culture through music, poetry, dance and speaking panels, while the Black business expo on site will feature more than 100 Black-owned and ally businesses, including food. A “kid zone” will include bounce houses, face paint and games. Free bus service is available from Big Lots on Riverside Drive, or parking in all areas of Liberty Park and at CMCSS South (the old Jostens Building) with a shuttle provided. Attendees are asked to RSVP for the free event here.
Juneteenth Film Festival — 11 a.m.
The Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville is hosting an all-day, free film festival for Juneteenth: a showing of Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” then “The Princess and the Frog” followed by “Coming to America,” and, finally “The Color Purple.”
Juneteenth Celebration in La Vergne — 11 a.m.
This is the second annual celebration at Veterans Memorial Park in La Vergne. The event will feature music, food, games and “a lil education.” The free event is outdoors, so masks are appreciated but not required.
Juneteenth Block Party in Cookeville — 11 a.m.
Impact Cookeville is once again hosting the Juneteenth celebration at West End Park in Cookeville. It will feature music, a fish fry and grilled food.
Local nonprofit Communities United Serving People, Inc. (The CUSP for Change) is hosting the celebration at the Old Cowan Road Park in Winchester for the second year in a row. It will include live musical performances, games for kids, cornhole, preventative health screenings, walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations, voter registration and voter reinstatement assistance.
The Music City Freedom Festival — 12 p.m.
The annual celebration at Hadley Park in North Nashville is celebrating Black culture, community, music, food and businesses. The six-hour event will have local food trucks, local vendors to shop from and inflatables for children, plus live bands performing and local DJ. Organizers encourage those attending to bring lawn chairs for them and their family members.
Juneteenth In Bordeaux — 12 p.m.
The free community festival in the Haynes Park neighborhood in northwest Nashville is being hosted by community groups like the Bordeaux Business Coalition and the nonprofit Youth About Business. The event will feature food, live music, a comedy show, inflatables, water sports and a chance to dunk District 1 Councilmember Jonathan Hall. Those interested in the event’s tournaments (ping pong, 3-on-3 basketball, PS4 Madden/2k) are encouraged to RSVP here.
Juneteenth Community Celebration — 12 p.m.
The Brothers Round Table will be celebrating Juneteenth at the Parkwood Community Center in East Nashville. The celebration will feature food, music, games, hay rides and a bounce house for families of all ages.
A Day of Celebration & Awareness of Freedom — 12 p.m.
The Rock United Ministries is hosting its Juneteenth celebration at its church building in North Nashville, located at 2422 Alameda Street.
Juneteenth Jazz and Art Live Experience — 12 p.m.
The Nashville Jazz Workshop and Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy are hosting the event that mixes live art creation with a jazz march in North Nashville. The Curb Center is sponsoring Nashville painter Omari Booker and glass artist Betty Turney-Turner to create two large artworks, which will be featured in the Art of Healing Exhibition scheduled to open at the center on Sept. 17. The band Brassville will then lead a community celebration march down Buchanan Street.
After the pandemic forced the celebration to go virtual in its 16th year, the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County is bringing it back in person for 2021. The celebration at Pinkerton Park in Franklin includes the unveiling of a special Juneteenth marker as well as speakers, food trucks, giveaways, games, a cake walk and more.
The celebration at Rogers Park in Murfreesboro will feature grilling, playing dominoes, a bounce house for kids, a live DJ and more. The event is free, but the organizers are accepting donations.
Black on Buchanan Festival — 12:30 p.m.
The Equity Alliance‘s nearly five-hour block party is happening at 905 Buchanan Street in North Nashville. Organizers say the event in the historically Black neighborhood is to “honor the ancestors and celebrate our present and future.” The party is being hosted by Nashville comedian Josh Black and will feature live music, food trucks and the On the Rise Black Business Expo with more than 30 vendors.
Plaza Mariachi is hosting this event in conjunction with Spanish-language radio stations La Ranchera 880 and Activa Nashville in South Nashville. The celebration will include music celebrating Black history, from blues and soul to R&B and reggae, plus dancing and food and drinks.
Juneteenth Art Crawl & Vendor Fair — 1 p.m.
UNITE’s Juneteenth Block Party — 1 p.m.
Unite Nashville, a “body of believers” aiming to “unite the city of Nashville with the common goal of racial reconciliation through the power of prayer,” is hosting a cookout with activities for kids, prizes, music and more in East Nashville. One Stone Nashville, a church that meets in the historic Cleveland Park neighborhood, says it will be overseeing the event’s health tent and handing out care packages.
Black Outside: Juneteenth Edition — 1 p.m.
Black-owned Music City Vintage is hosting an event at its East Nashville location. The Juneteenth celebration includes food vendors and more.
5th Annual Juneteenth Celebration — 2 p.m.
What first started in 2017 by volunteer organization JUICE is now in its fifth year celebrating Juneteenth in Columbia. The CommUNITY Cookout at Riverwalk Park will include free food, speakers, vendors, a clothes drive, games, prizes and more.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Pageant — 2 p.m.
D3 Juneteenth Kickball Game — 5:30 p.m.
The Divine Diamond Dolls (D3), a local dance group, is hosting its first annual Juneteenth kids vs. adults kickball game at Hadley Park in North Nashville. The event will feature a $1 raffle for prizes, hotdog and burger trays for sale, Krispy Kreme donuts and Juneteenth shirts. Donations for TSU are welcome.
Juneteenth615 — 6 p.m.
The African American Cultural Alliance event begins with the proclamation ceremony at Fort Negley Park in Nashville’s Edgehill area. The night continues with African drummers and dancers, musical entertainment, an appearance from Mayor John Cooper, the Taste of Freedom food trucks rally and a fireworks show to close.
The event at the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon will feature live music, praise dancing, kids activities, vendors and a movie on a large projector screen.
Sunday, June 19
Juneteenth Sunday Worship — 10:30 a.m.
The Juneteenth weekend events hosted by the Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition close out with a Sunday service at Strong Tower Bible Church at the intersection of Granny White Pike and Otter Creek Road, near Radnor Lake State Park in Nashville. The worship service can be attended in person or watched virtually on the church’s Facebook page and on their website.
Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration — 2 p.m.
The event on what was once the Sumner County Colored Agricultural Fairground (America’s First Negro Fair) in Gallatin is now its inaugural Juneteenth celebration. Organizers say it’s a combo party of the holiday plus Father’s Day and the “reopening of the world.” The event will feature musical acts, authors and poets, food vendors and trucks, craft vendors, a bounce house for kids and a DJ. Plus, free COVID-19 vaccines will be available on site.