‘Oakland’s own’ female artists highlighted at 10th Annual Art & Soul Festival

En Vogue


By Tuseda A. Graggs, shades Magazine

Since Oakland’s first Art & Soul Festival 10 years ago, event organizer Samee Roberts has always envisioned a line-up similar to the one she has this year – the huge, two-day celebration will feature a “who’s who” of Oakland’s own hometown artists.

Among the artists slated to perform this year are some female favorites: “Funky Divas of Soul” En Vogue and percussionist of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” fame, Vicki Randle.

“This is a vision I’ve had in the back of my mind,” said Roberts, manager of Oakland’s Cultural Arts and Marketing Division. Roberts is the visionary behind the Art & Soul Festival and oversees it to completion each year.

“I wanted to do something all about Oakland,” she added. “With the level and magnitude of talent in this community, it was fitting, and it was opportunity for us to let Oaklanders and all others know about all the talent that’s here.”

Also joining the women are hometown artists rapper MC Hammer, Latin Jazz musician and singer Pete Escovedo and R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné!

Vicki Randle

The 10th Anniversary Art & Soul Oakland takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 21 and 22 at Frank Ogawa Plaza and the streets surrounding Oakland’s City Center. The festival encompasses 10 city blocks.

Over the past decade, Art & Soul has hosted a mix of local favorites and national recording artists from a variety of genres including: Angie Stone, Rachelle Ferrell, Ledisi, Goapele, Stephanie Mills, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, Rickie Lee Jones, Will Downing and Con Funk Shun. Thanks in part to the diverse mix of groups that have graced multiple stages, attendance numbers have grown significantly over the years.

According to Roberts, the first year – which started out as a three-day event over Labor Day – they only saw about 14,000 festivalgoers. In recent years, that number has grown to average 50,000 attendees over the now two-day event.

This year’s opening day also will feature Oakland’s own recording legend Edwin Hawkins and the Love Center Choir on the 12th Street Stage, along with singer Lawrence Matthews and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. The first choir shot to fame in the early 1970s at Oakland’s Love Center Church, under the leadership of its founder and pastor Bishop Walter L. Hawkins, who died July 11 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Ripon, California, at age 61.

On Sunday, Oakland Comedian Mark Curry will serve as Master of Ceremonies at the KBLX Stage and will narrate Oakland’s musical history while performers incorporate music from Oakland legends over the generations. Imagine Tony! Toni! Toné! revamping Sly and the Family Stone tunes and En Vogue doing a Pointer Sisters cover. Also performing are local artists Mike Marshall of Timex Social Club and Club Nouveau.

Also on Sunday, the 12th Street Stage will transform into the Blues Stage with headliner and Oakland-based crooner Lenny Williams, plus the Bay Area Blues Society Caravan of All-Stars and local favorite Freddie Hughes. Williams gained fame as lead singer for Tower of Power and remains a popular draw on the Bay Area music scene.

Although the wonderful music is a big draw, Art & Soul also offers fun for the entire family including rows of diverse food tastes and artisan booths selling everything from Henna tattoos to custom-made dolls and collectibles to ethnic art in the vendor area.

There also will be a huge Family Fun Zone complete with rides, children’s entertainment and free festival admission for ages 12 and under. The Family Fun Zone has interactive activities for children of all ages, as well as kid-friendly carnival games, inflatable bouncers and hands-on activities to create their own art to take home.

“I love the Oakland Art and Soul festival,” said Lisa Kelly, a 22-year-old Oakland resident. “From the beginning of my time here in Oakland, I’ve gone every year because to me, it showcases the best of what Oakland has to offer: beautiful people enjoying beautiful music and shopping beautiful merchandise from local artists and business owners.”

All concerts are free with paid admission. Adults are $10 per day (online if purchased by Aug. 20) and $15 per day at the door. Seniors and youth (ages 13-17) are $5 per day (online if purchased by Aug. 20) and $8 per day at the door. Children 12 and under are free.

For tickets and more information, visit artandsouloakland.com.

The above article is part of a three part series that highlights the 2010 Art & Soul Oakland Festival. shades Magazine is a proud media sponsor for this year’s event.


One Response to “‘Oakland’s own’ female artists highlighted at 10th Annual Art & Soul Festival”

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  1. ‘Oakland’s own’ female artists highlighted at 10th Annual Art & Soul Festival « shades magazine - August 4, 2010

    […] Among the artists slated to perform this year are some female favorites: “Funky Divas of Soul” En Vogue and percussionist of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” fame, Vicki Randle. Read more … […]

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