Jazz, Gospel, Hip Hop Artists Expand Cultural Experience at The Pan African Village at The Great New York State Fair

The Great New York State Fair’s Funkfest to Expand with New World Beat Event 1

Grab a lemonade, learn hand-drumming techniques, and kick back with a broader range of music than ever before at the Van Robinson Pan-African Village during the 2021 Great New York State Fair. Guests will enjoy a fun mix of jazz, reggae, R&B, hip hop, and Latin influences. Every show is free with Fair admission.

The packed concert schedule launches at 2:30 p.m. on opening day, Friday, August 20, with pioneer rap and hip hop artist Spoonie Gee, whose career stretches back decades with the release of “Spoonin’ Rap.” He is one of a few artists who released rap records in the 1970s and is credited with helping to establish hip hop’s roots in the music industry. Spoonie Gee’s later successes include the song “Spoonie’s Back” and his album “The Godfather of Rap.”

The next day, August 21, Fair visitors can enjoy an eclectic taste of music through the raspy vocals of Tanksley. Born in Syracuse, the R&B artist has headlined at numerous festivals and universities. He’s a self-taught musician with soul, hip-hop, and rock influences. Tanksley’s latest release “TILT” is streaming now.  See the full schedule of performers below.

Jazz and blues bands take over the village on the first two Mondays of the 2021 Fair, August 23 and 30, with award-winning jazz, funk, and world music group E.S.P., blues rockers Modern Mudd, neo-jazz outfit Paradigm Shift from Rochester, classic covers and originals from The Zelltones, and gospel, jazz and blues from Shawn Seals.

“The Pan-African Village is always a favorite stop for Fair visitors,” said Fair Director Troy Waffner. “We’re excited to expand attractions in another section of the Fairgrounds that celebrates New York State’s incredible diversity.”

Beyond the exceptional roster of musicians, the Van Robinson Pan-African Village offers several vendors who provide a taste of African and Caribbean inspired crafts, art, and food. Roast pork and Caribbean rice are on the menu along with juicy fried chicken and empanadas. Foodies can wash down lunch with a cup of southern-style lemonade. Shoppers have their pick of handmade jewelry, colorful fabrics, and hand drums. John Heard returns to the Fair with a fun hand-drumming workshop for the entire family beginning at 11 a.m. each day.

“Our goal is to offer visitors a place where they can experience Pan-African culture and pride with their families, friends, and neighbors,” explains Pan-African Village Superintendent Lourie White.

The Van Robinson Pan-African Village is located between the Center of Progress Building and the Art and Home Center. In 2018, the village was renamed to honor former Syracuse Common Councilor and social justice advocate Van Robinson, who led efforts to expand recognition of African culture at the Fair.

Performances at the Van Robinson Pan-African Village in 2021 include:

Aug. 20 2:30 PM Spoonie Gee
Aug. 20 4:00 PM Slick Fashionz
Aug. 20 6:30 PM DJ Dretronix
Aug. 21 2:00 PM Ignite
Aug. 21 4:00 PM Binghamton HS Steel Drum Band
Aug. 21 6:00 PM Tanksley
Aug. 22 12:00 PM Five to Life
Aug. 22 2:00 PM Big Brother the Wolf
Aug. 22 4:00 PM MC Ron G & Roc City Heroes
Aug. 22 6:00 PM Marissa Janae
Aug. 23 2:30 PM E.S.P.
Aug. 23 4:30 PM Modern Mudd
Aug. 23 6:00 PM Paradigm Shift
Aug. 23 7:30 PM Wayne Tucker and The Bad Motha’s
Aug. 24 2:30 PM Sam Borges & Trio Los Claveles
Aug. 24 4:30 PM Orquesta Antonetti
Aug. 24 6:15 PM UMB - Victor Antonetti
Aug. 25 8:00 PM Wayne Tucker and The Bad Motha’s
Aug. 25 5:00 PM Menage A Soul
Aug. 25 7:00 PM Melissa Gardner and Vibe Check
Aug. 26 4:00 PM Tony Keyz
Aug. 26 6:30 PM DJ Dretronix
Aug. 27 5:00 PM The Pharaohs
Aug. 27 7:00 PM Spoonie Gee
Aug. 27 8:00 PM Ener-G
Aug. 28 3:30 PM Womba Africa Drummers
Aug. 28 6:30 PM DJ Dretronix
Aug. 28 8:00 PM Trumptight315
Aug. 28 4:00 PM SlikSly
Aug. 29 6:00 PM Desmond the Songwriter
Aug. 29 8:00 PM Trumptight315
Aug. 30 2:30 PM The Zelltones
Aug. 30 4:00 PM Jon LeRoy Trio
Aug. 30 6:00 PM Shawn Seals
Aug. 30 8:00 PM Modern Mudd
Sept. 1 2:00 PM Urban JunXon Showcase
Sept. 1 6:30 PM DJ Dretronix
Sept. 1 8:00 PM Saint Kid
Sept. 2 5:30 PM Slick Fashionz
Sept. 2 7:30 PM King Lo
Sept. 3 3:00 PM GAV
Sept. 3 5:00 PM PB Mogul
Sept. 3 7:00 PM Diquan Julius
Sept. 4 2:00 PM Award-winning CJackRun Presents Showcase
Sept. 4 6:30 PM Lock7
Sept. 4 8:00 PM Diquan
Sept. 5 4:30 PM The Blacklites
Sept. 5 7:00 PM Diana Jacobs Band
Sept. 6 4:00 PM Andrew Love - Andrew McCormick
Sept. 6 6:30 PM GAV

Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America’s third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of the CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. Fair attendance is up more than 46% since the beginning of more than $120 million in investments, with 1.33 million people attending the Fair in 2019. The 2021 Fair runs from August 20 to September 6.

The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. Find the Great New York State Fair on its website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair to statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov.