Annual music festival exceeds expectations

By Tuseda Graggs, shades Magazine

Oakland Museum of California represents at 2010 Art & Soul. Photo by Z'ma Wyatt.

Barbara Hagler of San Francisco joined the tens of thousands of Bay Area residents who streamed through the gates of the two-day Oakland Art & Soul Festival.

“I love the shopping,” she said. “I like the music too. I saw En Vogue and Pete Escovedo.”

Official crowd estimates were not available at press time, but police officials estimate the crowd size over the two days at more than 100,000. In recent years, that number has averaged 50,000 attendees over the now two-day event.

This was Hagler’s fourth year attending the event that took place Saturday and Sunday in downtown Oakland. She was one of the many who return year after year to attend the festival that features hundreds of vendor booths and free concerts by music legends. This year’s event featured a plethora of Oakland’s homegrown talent – not to mention some stellar female artists – to celebrate its 10th year anniversary.

There were performances by entertainers such as: Vocalist and Percussionist Shelia E and her father Pete Escovedo; the Funky Divas of Soul En Vogue; percussionist of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” fame Vicki Randle; Comedian Mark Curry; rapper MC Hammer; former Tower of Power Vocalist Lenny Williams; the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir; the Love Center Choir; and R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné!

Hagler said she enjoyed herself so much she was looking forward to the 2011 event.

“It’s always good,” she said. “I can’t wait to see who they have performing here next year.”

For those who missed this weekend’s Art & Soul or who just want to relive the fun had by all, check out our slideshow by Photo Director Z’ma Wyatt.

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