Sacramento, it’s time to let your soul glow. The setting will be Saturday at Southside Park, where on a stage that’s decorated with a mural by the Royal Chicano Air Force art collective, a variety of bands will play their classic R&B tunes. Food trucks and other vendors meanwhile will serve a melting pot of offerings, including Jamaican cuisine, Italian ices and classic tacos.
Such is the vision that organizers have for the Soul of Sacramento Music & Food Festival. This debut event features an appearance by Club Nouveau, which rose out of Sacramento in the 1980s with the hits “Lean on Me” and “Why You Treat Me So Bad.” Also appearing are staples of any proper old-school R&B dance party: Dazz Band (“Let it Whip”), Lakeside (“Fantastic Voyage”) and Vallejo’s Con Funk Shun (“Ffun”). The music will kick off with a set from Faze-O, known for its much-sampled 1977 song “Riding High.”
Jay King, the leader of Club Nouveau and festival organizer, thinks this mix of music and down-home foods provides the perfect Sacramento vibe.
“It’s not just an urban event,” said King. “We want all of Sacramento to come out. We picked these groups because we wanted a fun, party-type atmosphere. Sacramento is growing with the new arena and a lot of development, and we believe the city can handle this kind of event.”
King says that Soul of Sacramento is a response to a similar event held in September 2014. The first “Soul Food Festival” was similarly held in Southside Park and also included Lakeside as a featured musical act, but suffered from food shortages, long delays between acts and other organizational issues.
King believed that a similar kind of soulful festival was right for Sacramento and teamed with local promoters Henry “Bumpy” Gonzales and Joseph Yusef White to produce Saturday’s event. They wanted to expand the range of foods to include dishes from a variety of cultures, such as teriyaki, Southern vittles and burritos. The festival will feature eight food trucks, including Flavor Face and North Border Taco, along with additional food vendors.
“Instead of just soul foods, we wanted to make it all foods,” said King. “And it’s affordable. Nothing is over $10 to $12 for a plate.”
But music will serve as the festival’s main entree. King expects upward of 3,500 attendees at the event, who will move and groove to a summer evening with classic R&B tracks.
King himself ranks as one of Sacramento’s most significant success stories, hitting the top of Billboard’s R&B charts in 1986 with Timex Social Club’s “Rumors” and No. 1 on Billboard’s singles charts with “Lean on Me” in 1987. King, who now lives in Southern California, is working on a solo album and the follow-up to Club Nouveau’s “Consciousness,” which was released in 2014.
He will perform double duty Saturday, as both a performing artist and organizer making sure that everything’s running smoothly. If all goes to plan, he hopes that Soul of Sacramento won’t be a one-hit wonder.
“Sacramento is a great music town,” said King. “Our hope is that we can expand to a whole weekend where we do everything – jazz, rock, reggae, gospel, a whole smorgasbord if you will. We want to be back next year, and every year after that.”
Soul Of Sacramento Music & Food Festival
- What: Club Nouveau, Dazz Band, Con Funk Shun and others provide the soulful sounds as food trucks and other vendors serve a variety of foods
- When: 5 p.m. Saturday; gates open 3 p.m.
- Where: Southside Park, 2115 Sixth St., Sacramento
- Cost: $30-$50 advance, $40-$60
- Information: 707-514-8263, soulofsacramento.eventbrite.com; tickets at Sacramento-area Dimple Records locations