Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thousands Flock To First L.A. Soul Music Festival

Melanie Fiona

By Darlene Donloe

The sun beamed a blazing 102 degrees at the Autry Museum, last Friday night, but it was nothing compared to the heat emanating from the talent on stage at the first L.A. Soul Music Festival, presented by Airborne Tickets.

The brainchild of Mark Douglas, this inaugural event, the first music festival to be held on the grounds of the Autry, was a hit as thousands of R&B enthusiasts came to hear some of the hottest acts in music.

The three day event (July 22-24) highlights national and internationally known artists and new artists who are making an impact in soul music.

Friday night, the festival featured Rahsaan Patterson, Eric Roberson, Melanie Fiona, Lalah Hathaway and Eric Benet.

Saturday’s lineup included Goapele, Loose Ends, Vivian Green, Angie Stone and Joe.  Sunday, the closing night of the festival, features Conya Doss, Avery Sunshine, Lyfe Jennings, Marsha Ambrosius and Jazmine Sullivan.

That’s 15 artists, over three days on one stage!

Rahsaan Patterson

Rahsaan Patterson kicked off the festival singing his hit, Crazy Baby, followed by Pop Life, Spend The Night Stop Breaking My Heart, Don’t You Know That and Where You Are.

Backstage he expressed how happy he was to open the festival.

“First let me say that anytime there is an opportunity to perform in front of people who are familiar with your work, it’s an honor, said Patterson.

A seasoned artist, Patterson, who said all of his CDs begin where his previous one left off, expressed his concern about the state of music.

“I try to stay focused on what inspires me,” said Patterson. “I have respect for all sounds, but I’m indifferent mainly because I’m from a different era. I began my career at a different time when music was different than it is today.  I will say, though, that some of what is popular today does influence me.”

Eric Roberson

Eric Roberson, dapper in a brown hat, turquoise blazer, brown pants and brown and turquoise shoes, kicked off his set with Picture Perfect.  He also sang his hits Mark on Me and Just Walk Away.

Melanie Fiona, who recently gave birth, looked fantastic in a flowing, black dress.  Her set included Give It To Me Right, Fool For You, Wrong Side of A Love Song and It Kills Me.

Fiona got the crowd on its feet as she called the evening a “night of love.”

Melanie Fiona

She injected a bit of activism into the evening when she asked the crowd if they believe that Black Lives Matter.

“If you do, then put your fist in the air,” said Fiona as she sang Break Down These Walls.

The crowd, fists high in the air, enthusiastically obliged.

Lalah Hathaway

Lalah Hathaway, who jokingly kept telling the crowd about her new CD called, Lalah Hathaway Live, kept the crowd swinging and swaying with her songs as well as covers. Her set included Baby, Baby Don’t Cry, Angel, Would You Mind, Yearning For Your Love, Somethin’ and Forever, For Always, For Love.

As she sang her late father, Donny Hathaway’s Little Ghetto Boy, photos of blacks who’ve been killed by the police were projected on the screen. A handful of the photos flashed included Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling and more.

At the end of her performance, Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, on behalf of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, presented Hathaway with an award for outstanding career and community achievements.

Eric Benet

Eric Benet closed out the night singing Chocolate Legs and his megahit Spend My Life With You.

Comedian Ron G kept the night flowing in between acts, with hilarious sets that kept the sweaty, but appreciative, crowd in stitches.

The L.A. Soul Music Festival continues through Sunday.

L.A. Soul Music Festival, The Autry Museum, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles. For tickets and information:; gates open at 4:30 
p.m., show is at 6:30 p.m.  #lasoulfest

**All pix are by Miki Turner

1 comment:

  1. I love this place in particular, it always has the best and impressive events every year. The seattle venues have the perfect location if you are looking to host the event of a lifetime. The main-level features a large comfortable space.