A few weeks have passed, the dust has settled and another edition of the Broccoli City Festival is in the books. As discussed, Wale was given a warm welcome home, Tems showed why she is the future and Gia Peppers held it down throughout the weekend. Simply put, Broccoli City Festival was a success despite poor weather conditions and other unforeseen roadblocks. While this year’s festival is still fresh in the minds of all those who attended and followed along on social media, let’s look ahead to 2023. A new year could bring in new performers, exhibits and much more. Here’s what we believe could happen when Broccoli City Festival heads back to the nation’s capital next year.
Rising Acts To Watch
This year, Broccoli City Festival started off each day by spotlighting a rising talent. On day one, Joyce Wrice put on her best performance despite cold winds and pouring rain. Fresh off of tour with Lucky Daye, she was on point as she performed records like “On One” and “Iced Tea.” One day later, Joyce Wrice was followed by Alex Vaughn. Recently signed to LVRN, the Washington, D.C. native returned home to put on a star making performance. Looking ahead to next year, who are a few acts that may be able to make that jump into the Broccoli City Festival lineup?
Hometown: East Orange, NJ
Songs To Check Out: 3 AM, SWISH, Up Now
Projects To Check Out: From The Heart, Vol. 2
Hometown: London, UK
Songs To Check Out: Same Old Ways, Northside
Projects To Check Out: At Least We Have This, Ama, who?
When Drake lets you know that you’re music is outstanding, you’re probably doing something right. While Ama Lou introduced herself a few years ago with Ama, who?, her recent “Same Old Ways” video took her to new heights. One Twitter user joked that she looked like Zendaya, but the humor wasn’t enough to distract listeners from pointing out that the visual and record were phenomenal. In a matter of hours, Drake and thousands of others hopped into her Instagram comments to let her know how good the video was. By the way, all of this took place while she was on the road with Snoh Aalegra. As the tour wraps up, the London native will regroup and find another way to make our next favorite song.
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Songs To Check Out: Picking Cherries, Tap, Top Shottas
Projects To Check Out: Idle, Peer Pressure
Kendrick Lamar’s departure marks the end of an era at Top Dawg Entertainment, but the label is far from being left for dead. In fact, its future is incredibly bright. Fans around the world are waiting patiently for a new SZA album, Isaiah Rashad just finished selling out venues across the country and it looks like Ab-Soul may be ready to return. While the established acts at TDE will carry the load, for the time being, there are a few new signees that have incredible potential. Reason has the lyrical ability needed to set himself apart from his peers and Doechii is as versatile as any act in the industry, but Ray Vaughn is the act I have my eyes on. His energy, unique story and versatility are a formula for success. As if his Peer Pressure EP wasn’t enough, his L.A. Leakers freestyle left no doubt that he will one day carry the baton for the label.
Speaking Of Headliners
This year, the Broccoli City Festival leaned into its R&B roots. On Saturday night, Washington, D.C.’s own Ari Lennox headlined the festivities. Hours later, Summer Walker stepped in as the final act of Sunday’s festivities. It’s unclear if Broccoli City Festival will lean toward its R&B fans in 2023, but it is clear that they have the ability to pull in top-tier acts for each night of the two-part event. In 2023, the festival could go even bigger. Who knows? Well, we’ll throw out a few ideas.
Hometown: Maplewood, NJ
Songs To Check Out: Broken Clocks, Good Days, Drew Barrymore
Projects To Check Out: CTRL, Z
Both nights of this year’s festival were headlined by R&B acts. Why not do it again in 2023? If all goes according to plan, Top Dawg Entertainment will make way for SZA’s album to drop sometime in 2022. However, it likely won’t hit until after this year’s festival cycle is nearly completed. As a result, SZA may look to double back in 2023 and do it full tour. Why not stop in Washington, D.C. for a headline set at Broccoli City Festival? Not to mention, bringing in a TDE act like SZA may be an incentive for TDE to showcase its other promising young acts like Doechii, Reason and Ray Vaughn.
Hometown: London, United Kingdom
Songs To Check Out: Clash, Starlight, Location
Projects To Check Out: We’re All Alone In This Together, Psychodrama
While Summer Walker did headline day two of this year’s festival, it’s hard to say that anyone brought more energy to the stage than Wizkid and Tems. During each of their sets, the crowd was singing each and every word at the top of their lungs. It’s clear that the Broccoli City Festival crowd has an affinity for their brothers and sisters overseas, so why not do it again in 2023?
Not long after Broccoli City Festival, Santan Dave tore down the stage at the Fillmore Silver Spring. His show in Silver Spring is indicative of what he’s doing across the country right now. He’s selling out most, if not all, of the venues he’s performing at and setting the stage for his headline set at Rolling Loud in Toronto later his year. Dave has been a star in the U.K. for quite some time now and it looks like the U.S. is finally catching on. By next year, Dave could very well be in a position to take that next step in the U.S.
New Places, New Faces
Contrary to popular belief, the origins of the Broccoli City Festival don’t reside solely in Washington, D.C. In fact, the team that has built up this annual event has roots in the south and the west coast. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that they’d like to share what they’ve built with other cities across the country. While it doesn’t appear that Broccoli City Festival will be pulling out of the nation’s capital any time soon, it does look like the event may travel to new cities in the future like other popular events often do. In fact, Broccoli City Festival Co-Founder Jermon Williams hinted at where the festival may go next during my conversation with him. Here’s a suggestion of where I’d send Broccoli City Festival next if I had input.
The Music City
City: Nashville, TN
Venues: The Fairgrounds Nashville, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Artists: Brian Brown, Bryant Taylorr, Daisha McBride, Yours Truly Jai, Reaux Marquez
Contrary to popular belief, Nashville is a lot more than country music and what’s going on over on Broadway. There’s a reason that the National Museum of African-American Music resides in Nashville, Tennessee. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, B.B. King and many other influential acts have roots in the Music City. Today, the city is experiencing a renaissance in Black music, comedy and art. On any given night, someone could catch talented acts like Brian Brown and Reaux Marquez performing at SoHo House. Elsewhere, L. Alexander Bryant’s “Forget Me Not” exhibit sits at the First Art Museum. Not to mention, Joshua Black may be hosting at Zanie’s Comedy Club as Lil’ Real Howery records his comedy special. Simply put, there’s no shortage of talent coming through the city on any given day.
Aside from its music and art, Nashville is also home to some of the hungriest entrepreneurs in the country. Leading the way, Clint Gray, Derrick Moore, and Emanuel Reed have taken their pizza chain, Slim & Husky’s, across the country to California and Georgia. Along the way, they’ve hosted music showcases at the National Museum of African-American Music and held events for Benny The Butcher. Also, the Nashville Black Market has slowly become one of the most notable marketplaces for emerging Black entrepreneurs in the region.
Yes, there are cities like Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami that are within reach, but Nashville needs to start getting its credit. When artists like Jazmine Sullivan, Snoh Aalegra and Wale announce their tours, Nashville is on the lineup. When comedians like Bill Burr and Lil’ Real Howery announced their tours, Nashville is on the lineup as well. Nashville is called the “Music City” for a reason and it would be great to bring a festival like this down south.