Afro Roots Fest returns to Gainesville

The Afro Roots Fest is coming back to Gainesville for a two-day period that includes workshops, lectures, and a free, family-friendly concert.

The festival will run from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday at the UF School of Theater and Dance (1800 McCarty Dr.) and 7-10 p.m. on Saturday at Bo Didley Plaza (111 E University Ave).

The first day, the clinical component, is a ticketed event at the UF School of Theater and Dance. On Saturday, a concert takes place at Bo Diddley Plaza featuring Jacaré Brazil, the UF Afropop Ensemble with special guest Titos Sompa, and the Odara Conjunto Folklorico.

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“We’re thrilled to continue developing this relationship that we have with the University of Florida School of the Arts,” said Jose Elias, executive director for Community Arts and Culture in a press release. “This will be the first time the festival incorporates a more academic approach to our presentations. The caliber of artists that are participating in this program is unprecedented. We look forward to continuing to make this an annual destination event in Gainesville.”

Workshops and lectures include “Songs in Lukumi for Eleggua and Yemaya,” Afro-Cuban Dance classes like Rumba and Orisa for Yemaya, an all-levels percussion class that focus on guiro and bembe, a lecture about the sacred Bata, and an all-cast artist panel with a Q&A.

Preregistration for the workshops is required. Attendees should allow extra time to park on site and check in, which begins 30 minutes before class.

Tickets for the workshop day are available online at Florida residents can enjoy a 50% discount on tickets by using the promo code “FloridaResident” and presenting a valid Florida ID on the day of event. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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