Midnight Sun Wesley Case covers the city's after-hours scene

R&B singer Carl Thomas added to Baltimore's AFRAM festival lineup

R&B singer Carl Thomas has been added to the music lineup of Baltimore’s AFRAM festival, scheduled to take place Aug. 11-12 at Druid Hill Park.

On Wednesday, AFRAM’s Instagram account broadcasted Mayor Catherine Pugh’s announcement adding Thomas, best known for the 2000 singles “I Wish” and “Emotional.” He joins a lineup that already includes “Boo’d Up” singer Ella Mai, R&B singer Jacquees, Baltimore’s Dru Hill, gospel singer VaShawn Mitchell and Davon Fleming, a Baltimore native and former contestant on “The Voice.”

Before 2017, AFRAM — a family-oriented event celebrating black lives and culture — attracted crowds as large as 200,000 over two days at the parking lots by Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. Pugh downsized the free event to one day last year and moved it to Druid Hill Park as a cost-saving measure. The 2017 event drew approximately 3,000 to 4,000 attendees.

In June, the mayor’s office announced the festival would once again be two days but remain at Druid Hill Park.

Many in the city still have questioned why Pugh scaled the festival back, including City Councilman Brandon Scott, who on Monday held a hearing about the decision.

“Why does this festival have to be smaller?” Scott said. “It’s the black people that are getting the short end of the stick.”

The following day, Pugh said the festival has to be run in a more fiscally responsible way than in the past.

“We’re not trying to throw anybody under the bus, but the bills weren’t paid,” Pugh said.

Reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this story.

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