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Spirit of Africa took place in-person on Saturday, May 13, 2:00pm-8:30pm at the Armory Food & Event Hall. A virtual festival was presented online on Friday, May 12, 6:00pm via Facebook and YouTube. The festival is part of the Seattle Center Festál series. It is free and open to the public.

The festival presents traditional and contemporary music, a fashion show, art, food, marketplace, dance workshops, and more! This year's in-person event at Seattle Center is hosted by Monique Franklin and Gora Diop, featuring performances by Zambuko Marimba Ensemble, Sahara Sounds, Hijos de Agüeybaná, Hordata Dance Group, along with a fashion show and Afrobeats dance break with DJ Lace Cadence.

Seattle Center Festál is a year-round series of 24 free cultural festivals, produced in partnership with community organizations. In 2022, Festál celebrated 25 years of stories and traditions, ushering in a new era of hybrid programming. Learn more about Festál and subscribe to the newsletter for updates.

View the 2023 highlights below:

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Seattle Center Festál presents Spirit of Africa in partnership with Inspired Child. The festival presents traditional and contemporary music, a fashion show, art, food, marketplace, dance workshops, and more!


Spirit of Africa is a celebration of the music, dance, and culture of Africa. The festival bring high quality musicians, dancers, and other artists to the festival to showcase the richness, diversity, and joyfulness of African music and dance. Yet, it also strives to educate the community about African culture and the importance of music and dance both today and throughout history. Spirit of Africa is a yearly, one-day event held at Seattle Center.

The festival showcases the cultural and ethnic traditions of the African countries and the African diaspora for the enjoyment and enlightenment of the broader community. Its mission is to bring people together in peace, love, and unity. The festival has been active for 14 years, expanding its audience throughout the Northwest region, and hosting more than 1,500 people in 2019.

The festival also brings out-of-town artists to perform individually and also together with local African artists. It showcase the amazing talents of both out-of-town artists and the excellent talent in the Seattle area. Together, this group represents the music, dance and culture from many different African countries.

Founded and produced by a local Senegalese Griot musician, Spirit of Africa was formerly known as the Spirit of West Africa. In a conscious effort to rebrand and be inclusive, the festival now celebrates the whole Africa continent and African diaspora.


  • Africa is a huge continent, comprising of 54 countries and over a billion people.
  • Timbuktu, Mali is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, established in 982 CE.
  • The world’s biggest frog is found in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon (it can be up to one foot long and weigh up to eight pounds).
  • 1,250 - 2,100 different languages are spoken in Africa.
  • Africans were the pioneers of basic arithmetic around 25,000 years ago.

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