Schedule, Performers, and Speakers

Stay tuned for info on 2019 Durham Refugee Day Schedule, performers and speakers!

Info from 2018 Durham Refugee Day

Durham Refugee Day will host ongoing various musical performances, speeches, and group activities. Mayor Steve Schewel will launch the event with a short welcoming speech.



Welcome Mayor Steve Schewel

Refugee speakers

  • Mehanie – refugee from Eritrea
  • Yesenia – refugee from El Salvador
  • Ali Abdi – refugee from Somalia

Music (starting shortly after first speaker)

DJ Mez will keep the event moving and grooving with music from around the world.

 Jerk Fest 2016 Durham, NC

dub Addis  combines intricate Ethiopian melodies with the rhythms of Reggae to create an original sound that moves both the heart and mind. Continuing the rich traditions of Ethiopian music and the legacy of the great Reggae artists, the music of dub Addis unites people of all backgrounds in a celebration of life. For over a decade dub Addis has shared their passion with their audiences. They have shared the stage with Huge Masekela, The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Arrested Development, and many others.

Jonathan Byrd Blue Rock 2015_6070.jpg

Jonathan Byrd “…a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” — K. Oliver, Free Times Jonathan Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.”

Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. On stage and after hours, he jammed with members of Bon Jovi and the legendary Steve Cropper. Returning to music years later Johnny joined theatre troupe Paperhand Puppet Intervention, contributing to scores for nine shows and winning 4 Indy Awards for best original music.

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboy are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists. Between heartbreaking ballads and heart-lifting sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show.

Activities (Ongoing throughout the event):

Delicious International Food 

  • So Good Pupusas will serve up a taste of El Salvador and a side of social justice
  • Delicious frozen treats from LocoPops’ mobile bus
  • Italian-inspired coffee from Caffe Belleza‘s solar powered truck!
  • Pakora and Samosas
  • Beignets
  • Sushi
  • Syrian food

And More!


Check out local vendors of African clothing and more.