Houston Institute for Culture
Houston's Juneteenth Celebration

Houston Monthly

Houston's Juneteenth Celebration - June 19, 2012
Houston's Juneteenth Celebration presents an exciting music lineup to celebrate Juneteenth, one of the region's most significant historic events, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas. Music fans will gather from across the region at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston's largest public outdoor theatre, at 7pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, to hear performances by noted artists representing the rich African American musical traditions of the region, including blues, jazz, brass band, funk and zydeco. Houston's Juneteenth Celebration attracts 6,000 - 9,000 Houstonians and visitors to the city each year. The event is free.

Highlighting this year's musical performances is Houston legend and music icon Joe Sample, a founding member of The Jazz Crusaders and The Crusaders.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Joe Sample began playing piano at age five. He studied piano at Texas Southern University before moving to Los Angeles in 1960 to pursue his music career with fellow Houston musicians, the Jazz Crusaders. They released as many as four albums per year throughout the 1960s, performed for "sold-out" concert halls regularly, and simultaneously pursued solo careers.

Joe Sample is an accomplished studio musician, appearing on recordings by Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Joni Mitchell, Minnie Riperton and Anita Baker. He has been a guest artist on recordings by many other legendary performers and music groups, including Miles Davis, George Benson, Jimmy Witherspoon, B. B. King, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, and The Supremes. His credits and a music writer and performer appear in more than a dozen major films, including the 2001 multiple award-winning Moulin Rouge!, in which Nicole Kidman sang his song "One Day I'll Fly Away".

With his roots in Houston, Texas, where he was born February 1, 1939, Joe Sample incorporates jazz, gospel, blues, Latin and classical influences into his music. He returned to Houston in 1994 and recorded The Pecan Tree, a tribute to his hometown. He has added regional Creole music to his repertoire and tours regularly, presenting the music of Houston, Texas for festival audiences across Europe and Asia.

Throughout his illustrious career as a pianist and composer, Joe Sample has studied jazz, African American music and the great American songwriters of the Twentieth Century. He has become a legendary performer and innovator in jazz music history.

Juneteenth ("Emancipation Day"), with its roots in Galveston, Texas, is a historical observance growing in popularity across the Gulf Coast and the United States. Officially observed in more than 26 states, Juneteenth is honored in many of the same ways as July 4th – with family get-togethers, cookouts, religious gatherings, and live music. Juneteenth began on June 19, 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 in Galveston, more than two months after the end of the Civil War, proclaiming, "Slaves are free." Juneteenth spread to Houston, where it has been celebrated annually for nearly 150 years. In 2008, Houston’s Juneteenth Celebration was called the "Number 3 Hotspot in the Nation" by Smithsonian Magazine in an article about summer festival destinations. The event is attended by people from coast to coast – from San Jose, California to Bangor, Maine.

Houstonians are urged to strengthen the tradition of Juneteenth by coming to Hermann Park early on Sunday, June 19, 2011, to celebrate with family, friends and coworkers. The park features 445 wooded acres with picnic tables and grills, along with fountains, gardens, statues, playgrounds for children and educational facilities, such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Zoo.

Miller Outdoor Theatre is located in Hermann Park at 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas, 77030. Miller Outdoor Theatre is wheelchair accessible. MetroRail serves Hermann Park. Information can be found at www.ridemetro.org. Concert-goers bringing cars are encouraged to carpool.

Over the years, the event has featured many of the region's most notable traditional African American artists and music groups, including Leo Nocentelli (a founder of the Meters), David Batiste (of the Gladiators), Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band, Lil' Buck Sinegal (from Clifton Chenier's band), Corey Ledet, Glen David Andrews, Texas Johnny Brown, Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy, I.J. Gosey, Earl Gilliam, Sherman Robertson, Trudy Lynn and many more.

More information is available at www.june19.org and www.houstonculture.org. Contact Houston Institute for Culture at 832-429-4432; or by email at info@houstonculture.org.

Houston's Juneteenth Celebration, is produced by Houston Institute for Culture with support from the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Aramark.




Go to the Miller Outdoor Theatre WEBSITE.

Invite family and friends on FACEBOOK.

Link to JUNE19.ORG.


Miller Outdoor Theatre is located in Houston's Hermann Park. Plan your visit.
Get Driving Directions  What to Pack
Ride Metro

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and commemoration of the abolition of slavery. It has been honored since 1865. LEARN MORE

Emancipation Park was established in Houston's Third Ward as a site for freed slaves and their descendents to celebrate Juneteenth. LEARN MORE

Frederick Douglass has been called "the father of the Civil Rights movement in the United States."

The Emancipation Proclamation was effective by authority of President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. LEARN MORE

"Juneteenth Revisited" - Houston Press columnist John Nova Lomax recounts the history of the Juneteenth Blues Festival. LEARN MORE

Smithsonian Magazine, in its May 2008 issue, recommends Houston's Juneteenth celebration as the Number 3 "Hotspot" in the nation in "Destination America."

2011 Event Information
2010 Event Information
2009 Event Information
2008 Event Information


Get Involved Help spread the word about Juneteenth in Houston. LEARN MORE


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