This year, more than many others in the past, the Afrofest celebration that has been taking place in early July in Woodbine Park every year since 2012 would have been especially important.
However, like other large events and festivals planned for this summer, it had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will still take place as a virtual celebration in July, but Afrofest’s executive director Peter Toh wishes the huge gathering of visitors, musicians, artisans and vendors could have happened in person this year.
“It’s hard. Especially with everything that is going on right now in our community, this would have been a great time for everybody to come together,” he told Beach Metro News.
The issues of racial inequality and police treatment of the Black community in not just the United States but internationally has come to the forefront this spring with protests against systemic racism taking place all around the world.
Afrofest, which is the largest free African music festival in North America, would have been a great opportunity to celebrate and help heal on the weekend of July 4 and 5 at Woodbine Park.
However, it was not to be as large gatherings at public events have been banned by the City of Toronto for this summer.
Afrofest will still take place next month but it will now be a virtual celebration from July 17 to 26, said Toh.
Afrofest is now accepting applications from artists who wish to take part in the virtual celebrations and will decide around June 15- 17 on a lineup. Once that has been finalized, it will be posted on the Afrofest website at www.afrofest.ca
This would have been the 31st annual Afrofest.