Polaris Prize and Juno winner Haviah Mighty headlines the free Emancipation Day concert at Grand Parade August 1.
Polaris Prize and Juno winner Haviah Mighty headlines the free Emancipation Day concert at Grand Parade August 1.

4 ways to mark Emancipation Day 2022 in Halifax

Free concerts abound from July 30-August 1.

It’s Nova Scotia’s second-annual celebration of Emancipation Day—a holiday honouring the Slavery Abolition Act coming into effect across the British empire in 1834—this long weekend. The new holiday doesn’t replace Natal Day weekend: Old standbys like the fireworks and parade (happening July 30 at 10pm and Monday, August 1 at 1pm, respectively)—are still on.

But, the aim of this new holiday is to allow space to focus on the 400-year, multi-nation history of slavery—and the systemic racism of today, which is built on that historical foundation. As Dr. Charmaine Nelson, a nationally leading researcher and academic focusing on the history of slavery in Canada, put it in to The Coast in 2021: "We're in a nation that has never apologized for slavery—and has never acknowledged that slavery ever happened."

Here’s a handful of happenings that’ll help you mark Emancipation Day 2022:

The Grand Oasis stage at Grand Parade is the place to see and be seen on Monday, August 1: From 6-10:30pm, a free concert featuring the iconic Nova Scotia Mass Choir, local neo-soul hero Aquakultre, Halifax’s own reggae royalty Jah’Mila covering Nina Simone, and Polaris Prize and Juno winning rapper Haviah Mighty will be held.

On July 31 at Dartmouth’s Ferry Terminal Park, the African Nova Scotian Music Association will hold the daylong Freedom Festival. Two sets of music are on offer: An afternoon of gospel featuring Floyd Colley, Marcell Symonds, Kadel Brown, B&D Productions and RS Smooth—and an evening R&B lineup with ANSMA award-winner Owen O’Sound Lee, Mark Riley, Jah’Mila, Suzy Hamsem and RS Smooth. The music goes from 1:30 to 9:30pm and there is no cover.

July 30 is also a hot night to hit Grand Parade, as the Grand Oasis stage hosts its Afroasis showcase. It features Black artists from across the country and globe, including Toronto’s soul legend Divine Brown, the UK singer-songwriter Ama Lou, and Hali’s own Laydee Vee. The free show goes from 7:30-10:30pm.

An official Natal Day ceremony will be held on August 1 at 10am at the Halifax Convention Centre (1650 Argyle Street).

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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