SoulFest 2021

August 2021 View more

SoulFest surpassed all expectations when the inaugural event attracted over 6,000 attendees from all over Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. The festival ran from noon to 9 p.m. June 5 at Naper Settlement, featuring a wide array of musicians, food trucks, and minority-owned businesses, all celebrating African American and Caribbean culture.

The all-star musical lineup included Le’Andria Johnson, Keke Wyatt, Danny Boy, Chicago Blues All-Stars, and Indika Raggae. Jennifer Hudson—who originally was just planning to attend the event—surprised both festivalgoers and event organizers with an impromptu onstage performance.

SoulFest ( is the brainchild of Michael A. Brown, who created the festival after seeing the other multicultural events Naperville sponsors. “Instead of calling it ‘African American Fest,’ I decided to call it SoulFest, because I wanted it to be an event for everyone. I didn’t want to label it to one community,” he explains. “I’m so happy the City of Naperville and Naper Settlement supported my vision to bridge the gap between the community and Naperville. It was an amazing event.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s festival June 3 to 4, 2022. Proceeds support scholarships for Brown’s Soul2Soul Foundation.

Photos courtesy Soulfest