The inaugural Honeyland Festival produced by Live Nation Urban and Endeavor-owned IMG, opens this weekend at Crown Festival Park in Sugar Land, Texas, just outside Houston.
Headlined by Mary J. Blige, Miguel and Summer Walker (who was announced as a replacement for Jazmine Sullivan last month) the festival combines high-end eats, wine and beer for a two-day experience dedicated to celebrating and elevating Black culture.
“Black customers are underserved in the festival space and want an experience where they can enjoy food and wine and music,” says Kevin Shivers, agent and partner at Endeavor-owned WME who pitched the idea for Honeyland to WME President Mark Shapiro as a “Black Bottlerock,” inspired by Live Nation and Latitude 38’s famous food and wine-centric festival that happens every year in Napa, California.
Shivers, who has booked his artist clients at hundreds of festivals globally, says the idea for Honeyland is to create a similar experience highlighting Black-owned food and wine businesses.
“At many festivals, no matter who is organizing it, white or Black, food is an afterthought, the signage looks bad and guests are drinking out of a plastic cup,” Shivers said. “That’s not a great experience.”
Houston was chosen because of the lack of major festivals in the Texas city, despite being internationally known as the original home of artists including Beyonce, Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion.
“You look at Atlanta or D.C. or any of these other markets and there’s a lot of stuff going on. And we thought Houston was pretty open and we found a great site where attendees can come in and make their way around the festival and enjoy music or drinks on their schedule,” Shivers said.
Additional musical performances listed in the star-studded lineup includes Houston rappers Coco Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Scarface, and Tobe Nwigwe, who will serve as the festival’s “Houston Ambassador.”
Honeyland is being led by Staci Hallmon, IMG’s senior vp, who has previous leadership experience at Walmart, Coca Cola, Disney, Verizon and BET Networks, as well as Essence Magazine where she served as the architect of ESSENCE Festival.
Houston was ranked as the country’s No. 5 culinary destination in the country this year according to Travel + Leisure. Honeyland will highlight Black mixologists, blenders, wine experts and distillers. Single-day general admission ($95), GA+ ($140), and VIP passes ($295) are still available.
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