Travel Leisure

Honeyland Festival Brings the Best in Black Culture, Cuisine and Spirits to Houston

This past weekend marked the inaugural Honeyland Festival, a celebration of the food, music and creativity within Black culture. The two-day festival brought thousands of culture lovers to Sugar Land, a suburb outside of Houston. Serving as the curator of food experiences, Chef Marcus Samuelsson aptly summarizes the energy for many during the weekend.

“This weekend, for me, is already legendary and iconic, and one of the biggest privileges of my life to be a part of,” Samuelsson shared with Travel Noire. “Honeyland has been such a journey for me. I’ve met new friends. I’ve met people we’re going to do parties with in the future [and] students we’re going to work with. That, for me, has been amazing.”

Alongside Samuelsson, Fawn Weaver led the curation of the spirits and beverage experiences for the weekend. The esteemed powerhouse behind Uncle Nearest Distillery, Weaver shared with Travel Noire that it was important to acknowledge and showcase the best in the spirits world.


Kelis at Honeyland and people sitting a dinner table
Photo credit: Honeyland

The Eats category of Honeyland showcased both local Black-owned restaurants and game-changing leaders in the culinary space. The Eats & Sips stage was the scene for the never-ending Jollof rice debate for the “Jollof Wars: It Grains, It Pours” face-off. Samuelsson and Weaver also led the “Earn Your Legacy” conversation, alongside the visionaries behind Earn Your Leisure.

Notably, festival-goers patiently waited in line for a taste of Trill Burgers, the latest venture of rapper Bun B. Other food favorites included Grubido (West African), The Fry Guys and Runaway Lobster. 

Arguably the highlight of the food festivities was the add-on experiences. Select guests got to enjoy a four-course meal curated by milkshake maven and chef, Kelis, on Saturday evening. Wine pairings accompanied each course thanks to the McBride Sisters. On Sunday, the Honey Brunch Day Party served up everything from chicken and waffles to oxtails with spirits by Martell Cognac.


Miguel performing on stage
Photo credit: Honeyland

Miguel and Mary J. Blige headlined the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Dripping in Black culture, additional performances included Spinall, Chlöe, Summer Walker, Lenora, Coco Jones, Lucky Daye and Tems. Dende, Inayah, and Tobe Nwigwe brought major Texan energy to the stage. The Houston All-Stars set brought out H-town legends Lil Keke, Z-Ro, Scarface, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall, with a surprise performance by Bun B.


two people toasting cocktails
Photo credit: Honeyland

Cocktail and beverage culture was also on full display. Tastings throughout the festival grounds offered attendees the chance to sip the best in Black-owned beverages. Uncle Nearest, Black Girl Magic Wines, Highway Vodka and Sorel are just a few of the brands with a presence at Honeyland.

The best part of the Sips side of the festival was the variety of beverage selections. Whether you’re a cognac connoisseur, prefer a red wine blend or simply want fresh juice, it was all there. On the non-alcoholic front, Hype Juicery delivered delicious, fresh smoothies and cold-pressed juices. At Pepsi Park, within the festival, you could also get your caffeine fix while playing spades and tonk.

The Culture at Honeyland

group of people at Honeyland festival
Photo credit: Honeyland

The creators and curators behind Honeyland are excited to continue growing the festival and making an impact in local communities. The Honeyland Fund is one way the festival is giving back to support Black professionals in the hospitality, events, and cultural industries. Its Honey Crew initiative will also make way for budding culinary students in the Houston Independent School District.

From the eats, beats, and sips to the conversations and community, the debut year of Honeyland was sweet indeed.

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