Finney and Alan

LaRian Finney, producer of the festival and , Alan Leinwand, vice president and general manager from Radio One.

In celebration of diversity, Festival Productions will bring the first International Festival to Prince George’s County, Md.  in July. The festival will be held at The Boulevard at Capital Centre in Upper Marlboro. The festival is aimed at closing disparity gaps around science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEM) education; health and wellness; and financial and economic empowerment.

“Part of our overall goals as a company is to eradicate the disparities and disadvantaged communities, so that’s Latino, that’s Black, that’s Caribbean, that’s African, that’s lower wage White Americans,” LaRian Finney, producer of the festival, told the AFRO.

“There are resources that you can get at this event, take back to your community, and start enacting those resources to build a better life for your family”, he said.

The festival is scheduled for July 13 and 14. It will include a children’s carnival, DJ Pavilion, international food venders, and live music, featuring local and international performing artists, including Ludacris, Estelle, Willie Colon, Third World, Miri Ben-Ari, Theophilus London, Wayna, Byron Cage, and others.

“We want folks to go a place where they can bring their entire family,” Finney said.

Up to 75,000 people are expected to attend, according to a press release on the event.

Finney said the festival will expand to including Atlanta and Houston in the next two years. “It’s really looking for communities that have those populations, but also that are being impacted on a negative scale when it comes to economics, health care and education,” he said. “So we thought Prince George’s County would be the first place to start and the perfect place to start.”

Festival Productions, along with a team of government, nonprofit, and radio executives worked to hash out the plans for holding the festival in Maryland. Team members include, Alan Leinwand, vice president and general manager of Radio One;  Barry Hudson, senior policy advisor and manager of the communications division for the Office of the County Executive; David Harrington, president of Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce; William Parks, vice president of RPAI US Management, LLC; Calista Black, marketing manager for the Boulevard; Jackie Ward Richardson, director of the Greater Washington Urban League; and Erik Rushing, vice president of Operation Hope.

Executives and workers responsible for carrying out the plans to bring the International Festival to Prince George’s County.

Radio One is an official sponsor of the event. Team members said the festival provides a well-rounded balance of entertainment and education.

“We look for empowerment; we look for entertainment,” Leinwand told the AFRO after the press conference. “If we do those two things on a daily basis, it’s good for everybody including Radio One, and that’s really what we look for with the International Festival.”

Hudson said the festival will show the county’s diversity and progression in expanding economic development.

“The county is extremely diverse, so bringing this event to Prince George’s County puts on display the diversity of this county, but more importantly the Washington Metropolitan area,” he said.  “This is pretty landmark to bring together these types of groups and this diverse type of event, so we can show unity together.”

LaTrina Antoine

Special to the AFRO