*Los Angeles – A crowd estimated at around 300,000 assembled up and down Crenshaw Blvd. (The Shaw), for the 12th Annual Taste of Soul Family Music Festival, Saturday, October 21, 2017.
With respect to the Doobie Brothers, “Taking it to the Streets,” Taste of Soul took place on Crenshaw Blvd. Between Stocker Blvd on the South and Rodeo Road to the North, in Los Angeles.
The weather Gods looked down favorably upon this magnificent cultural celebration of all things soulful. It was warm, with a slight breeze, unlike the heatwave experienced the next several days heading into the busy work week.
The Taste of Soul is a great place for families, food, fun and fellowship with ones fellow men and women. The big draw is the food. The best of the best of Southern food was on display, smorgasbord style up and down “The Shaw.” The Taste of Soul featured an abundance of top-notch entertainment on four different stages. This years theme as “Salute to the Legacy of Motown.”
As luck would have it, I found a cool spot near the 94.7 The Wave Music Stage presented by Budweiser. 94.7 The Wave returned once again to team up with Taste of Soul for an incredible afternoon of note-worthy musical line-up. 94.7 The Wave is Southern California’s source for smooth jazz, and soulful sounds of R&B. 94.7 The Wave Music Stage presented by Budweiser was part of four musical powerhouse stages that enhanced the 12th Annual Taste of Soul experience.
Greg Mack, Radio Personality, 94.7 The Wave, served as Master of Ceremony. DJ Shell got the proverbial pilot light lit as he laid down some old skool and new school tracks for early arrivals to the festival. Things started to heat up musically very early with the smooth, soulful sounds of the Connect Band. They crowd got to groove with these talented young musicians as they kicked off the live entertainment on the 94.7 The Wave Music Stage presented by Budweiser.
Chosen Gospel Recovery returned again to lift up the name of the Lord, during this early Saturday morning Tent Revival. Their foot stomping, hand clapping set featured the tunes “I Got to Keep Praising Your Name,” “He Loves Me,” and “I’m Living a Blessed Life” with an intro to a few bars of “Funkin’ for Jamaica.” I’m sure that you will agree with me that it’s alright to give God the Glory on this Glorious Day and every day for that matter.
Greg Mack invited several celebrities onstage to say hello and to speak about the Urban Movie Channel. The celebrities in attendance were Caryn Ward Ross (The Game, No Regrets), Brian J. White (Ray Donovan, No Regrets, Scandal, Chicago Fire, Stomp the Yard), and Brooklyn White, actress, comedian (Flex and Shanice). Ms. Jones thrilled the crowd with a hilarious impromptu stand up routine.
The 94.7 The Wave Music Stage presented by Budweiser was crackalackin and burning on all four cylinders. On Tour got the party started as we went on a musical journey with a variety of tunes from back in the day. They opened their set with a relevant and timely tune “Lovely Day.” The tour continued with “Free,” “Joy and Pain,” a Prince Medley, followed by “Brickhouse,” “Fire,” “Before I Let You Go,” “I Just Like Having Fun,” “Living the Single Life.” They slowed the tempo down on the tunes “The Best You Ever Had,” and “My Girl” with a dose of “Just My Imagination.” They finished their crowd pleasing set with two rousing numbers “This is How We Do It,” and “Doing the Butt,” with a lot of crowd participation.
Singer/Songwriter Kenny Lattimore made a surprise guest appearance to the stage to wow the crowd with “Loving You” and to promote is latest CD “Vulnerable.”
The StarQuest Soundstage sponsored by Hyundai was the launch pad for future musical stars to take flight. The 6th annual singing competition featured local talent from StarQuest finalist 4 Kids and StarQuest for Adults. The competition was held from 10-2:00PM, in front of industry executives, talent scouts, family members and thousands of festival goers. StarQuest judges for the adult stage hosted by Karla Gordon Bristol consisted of Cee Barrett-Associate director, BMI; Malcolm David Kelly-actor (Detroit); DomiNque Perry-actress (Insecure); Cornelius Grant-former Motown Executive; Brenda Holloway-legendary singer; Jane English-singer, Loose Ends and Kenny Lattimore-singer/songwriter. The winning adult was given the opportunity to perform a Motown tribute song on the 94.7 The Wave Stage presented by Budweiser. The 2017 adult StarQuest winner was Ryan Wirtz, who dazzled the crowd with his version of “Let’s Get it On.” This was a tremendous birthday gift for this talented young man to perform in front of thousands of festival attendees.
Pat Prescott, 94.7 The Wave, and Pat Harvey, CBS2, announced the appearance of the next band. All Aboard! The Gap Band Experience (Gap X Band), gave the crowd and I an unforgettable experience with their high-octane set, funk infused soulful sounds from their catalog of hits. There was no sitting as they performed “Humpin,’ “Gap Nation Under a Groove,” “Yearning for Your Love,” “Outstanding,” “Party Train,” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” to name a few.
The Ohio Players opened their set with “Roller Coaster.” They took the crowd on a fun-filled musical ride during their time in the spotlight to close the 12th Annual Taste of Soul on the 94.7 The Wave Music Stage presented by Budweiser.
I’m sure that music was rockin’ on the 102.3 KJLH Radio Free/Buffalo Wild Wings Stage, the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour on the Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Gospel Stage and StarQuest Soundstage sponsored by Hyundai.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]