OAKLAND,CA - It was the 10th Anniversary of the Arts & Soul Festival held in the downtown Oakland. In true fashion the event brought out both young and old to celebrate summer in downtown Oakland. The weather did not disappoint as well. There were several food vendors, artists, handicraft as well as corporate entities present at this year's festival. You did not see much visible police present as in previous years, which is probably due to the current budget mishmash going in the City of Oakland. Nonetheless it was truly apparent that everyone was having a great time. There was a great abundance of diversity at this year's festival as it is at all festivals. There is so much rich diversity in the East-bay its infectious. I attended Sunday's festival and the talent for Sunday, was split between three stages. On the Plaza stage was a mix of jazz, contemporary music and salsa provided by Pete Escovedo and family. There was also the Blues and Heritage stage where a host of talented musicians performed for the more mature audience. On the main stage were most of the excitement was generated due to performances by Tony, Toni,Tone minus Raphael Saadiq, PopLyfe, Club Nouveau, Sheila E. and En Vogue. The main stage emcee was Mark Curry, who through his comedy kept the audience amused especially when there was a short wait between each set. Dwayne Wiggins formerly of Tony, Toni, Tone served as the music director on stage and did an excellent job of keeping the music flowing. Of course the anticipated performance by En Vogue was what everyone was waiting for. After about 36 minutes after the set was to begin the four "Funky Divas" come on to the stage, they received a rousing introduction by Renel a popular local DJ. All four of the group performed a melody of songs that were synonymous for in past years. There electrifying performance brought the audience to their feet. At times the stadium sound audio did overpower the vocals however for the most part it was a great performance and sort of a homecoming for these four young ladies of Oakland. The last set was performed by Shelia E. who definitely did not disappoint her fans. Her rhythmic latin music with the congas, and other instruments that you have come to expect to see when Sheila E. performs. Check out some pictorial highlights from this year's event shown below:
OAKLAND, CA. by Ronald Fulcher ~ When I arrived at the Paramount I was initially shocked by the sheer number of people but I wasn't surprised because Walter Hawkins meant so much to so many people, in Oakland young and old. He was a celebrity to a lot of people and he was a messenger of faith to so many. In many ways he is and will be identified by his music and his charismatic presence on stage and on his recordings. The line wrapped around the block on both sides of Broadway and Telegraph streets in Downtown Oakland. The tickets were free of which each individual would get 1 ticket per person for each event if they so choose. When speaking with people in the crowd I really didn't have to ask why they were here that was self evident. Many people had been here since 6am the day prior. They had prayer, food, chairs and some people likened this event to Michael Jackson's farewell. Bishop Walter Hawkins, who I refer to as the Mr. Hawkins, was someone I met several years ago, and initially was so mesmerized by his presence. He was a soft spoken man but very powerful in the pulpit and on stage. If you ever had been to Love Center especially in the earlier years when the church was on MacArthur prior to its present location, when you left you were moved not only by the wonderful gospel music, but the message and the people. Love Center Ministries was a non-traditional church of sorts, because people came and still do as they are. Love Center Ministries embraces people young and old, from all walks of life. People in the crowd were very joyful and glee while waiting for the distribution of the tickets, not knowing exactly whether they would get one or not. The Paramount holds about 3,040 people and given the church members, family, friends and guests there were not very many tickets to be given out. When asked of the Paramount management on how many would be given out. I couldn't get an answer to that question. In the crowd you see so many people, some I have known for years and have not seen in so long. The passion on their faces amidst the chaotic ticket distribution. Bishop Hawkins and his family have contributed so much to the City of Oakland, its residents, and the city as whole. They are truly the first family of gospel music in this City. It is truly phenomenal that this event is being held at one of the city's premier concert halls. The guest list of the potentially the whose who of Gospel music throughout the country will be in attendance for this momentous event. Although the ticket distribution was little out of sorts, and disorganized we have to remember that this event is out of love and put aside the bad stuff and focus on the good. Having this event at the Paramount Theater will be truly a "Home Coming" for Bishop Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Family.
JW EVENT MANAGEMENT Presents..."Remedy" a BENEFIT FOR THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY Featuring "FASHION FOR A CURE" fashion show... When: October 3rd, 2009 Time: 3pm - 8pm Where: Axis Luxury Condominiums (Pool Side) Penthouse tours available!
Featuring: Live Music, Raffle Prizes, Silent Auction, Gourment Appetizers, Full Bar and Fashion Show $15 Presale, $10 for Students All Ages Welcome!!!!JW EVENT MANAGEMENT Presents..."Remedy" a BENEFIT FOR THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY Featuring "FASHION FOR A CURE" fashion show... When: October 3rd, 2009 Time: 3pm - 8pm Where: Axis Luxury Condominiums (Pool Side) Penthouse tours available!
Featuring: Live Music, Raffle Prizes, Silent Auction, Gourment Appetizers, Full Bar and Fashion Show $15 Presale, $10 for Students All Ages Welcome!!!!