Ten Reasons To Try Art & Soul

Don’t trot out that excuse about suffering from summer festival fatigue.

As a proud Oaklander, you surely have heard of the annual Art & Soul Festival and know this mega event caps the official summer season.  With the festival underway today and tomorrow, why not soak up a little downtown ambience for a few hours?

Art Soul Oakland

We think this city-wide event is worth checking out, and here are the top ten reasons you oughta head down the hill.  Drumroll please…

  1. The best crowd mix – People watching is simply terrific around here.
  2. The only time everyone hangs together – Why do we need festivals as an excuse?
  3. Just the right size – You’re part of the action but not drowning, perfect.
  4. Something you don’t usually see – Experience the downtown without any cars.
  5. Not a regular street fair – Well, I found new crafts that weren’t at other fairs.
  6. City of Oakland tradition – Our destination event even draws visitors statewide.
  7. Comfortable for boomers – This is a place where you won’t feel uncool.
  8. Everyone is smiling – It’s so nice to walk around and feel the hella love everywhere.
  9. Jazz, rock, gospel, latin, fusion, hip-hop – The music stages prove we’re a polyglot.
  10. Somethin’ to do – On a perfect day, your family can appreciate Oakland together.

There are some musical headliners as well, which might dictate when you want to try the festival.  On Saturday you can catch BoDeans at 2:30pm, and Shawn Colvin at 4:00pm.  On Sunday, performers include Bobby Caldwell at 2:30pm, and Will Downing at 4:00pm.

But we think there’s enough action to roll downtown anytime, and join the crowd.  Chance are pretty good you are just hanging around, right?

More info:  The Festival runs Saturday and Sunday, 12 noon to 6pm daily.  The music, art, kids zone and food options are scattered throughout downtown Oakland (directions).  You may enter in three places:  14th & Broadway; 16th & San Pablo; or the Promenade beside City Center West Garage.  Tickets cost $10/day for adults, $5/day for youth (13-17) and seniors (65+), and are free for kids.

60 Music Acts Playing Oakland

For Oaklanders, Labor Day weekend is a great time to stay home!  The Art & Soul Festival features 60-plus music acts performing blues, jazz, culture jam, gospel, latin, hip-hop, world music, and more.

After reviewing the acts, I’m most attracted to the Art & Soul Stage, which will be located at 12th and Clay Street.  Click to preview these headliners: The Matches on Saturday, 4:45pm; Indigo Girls on Sunday, 4:00pm; and Stephanie Mills on Monday, 4:30pm.

Who are these headliners?  First, The Matches are local guys who went to Bishop O’Dowd High School and made it as successful, punky alt-rockers.  Welcome back to the 1980s in this mini-concert:  Their CityDecember Is for Cynics; Violent Love; Dog-Eared Page.

Indigo Girls are Atlanta singer-songwriters, who have been touring for years.  Love ’em!  According to their website, “Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have politely declined the opportunity to mellow with age.”  Feel the 1960s in this mini-concert:  Galileo; GhostPower of Two; Land of Canaan.

Finally, Stephanie Mills has a powerful voice.  Years ago, she played Dorothy in the original Broadway production of The Wiz.   She also dated Michael Jackson for a brief time, what a claim.  Get that 1970s vibe in this mini-concert:  Home; The Medicine Song; Sweet Sensation; Starlight.

More Info:  The Festival runs from Saturday through Monday, 12 noon to 6pm daily.  The music, art, kids zone and food options are scattered throughout downtown Oakland (directions).  Tickets cost $10/day for adults, $5/day for teens (13-18) and seniors (65+), and are free for kids.