Saturday, October 20, marked the 13th year for Taste of Soul (TOS), the largest street festival in Southern California. This year, more than 300,000 community leaders, city officials, Black business owners and local residents came out to Crenshaw Boulevard to “feel the love” and celebrate the return of the festival, while basking in the ambiance of all things soulful.
“I can dream and I can dream big, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that Taste of Soul would turn into the institution it has now become,” said TOS Founder/Creator, Bakewell Media Founder and CEO Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., who calls the event a “party with a purpose.”
Tens of thousands of festival attendees had the opportunity to experience music from the sounds of four different stages. The Hyundai Soundstage featured artist Ginuwine, Chante Moore, Kurtis Blow, Teddy Riley, Blackstreet, Melanie Fiona and the StarQuest Singing competition. The stage was hosted by Roland Martin with DJ B-Hen on the ones and twos. Attendees were also entertained by the 102.3 Radio Free KJLH Stage, which featured artists Jussie Smollet, En Vogue, Macy Gray, Ready for the World and more. The third stage, sponsored by 94.7 the Wave, featured Sister Sledge, Jody Watley, DW3, Chosen Gospel Recovery Group and more. Finally, the Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Gospel Stage, sponsored by McDonald’s, brought praise and worship to the streets of Crenshaw with performances by local choirs, Donald Lawrence, Ricky Dillard, Deitrick Haddon and more.
Taste of Soul, not only means marvelous music, it also means fabulous food. Festival goers had dozens of food options to choose from including: African, BBQ, American, Creole and Jamaican, Seafood, Vegan food, pies, popcorn, funnel cakes, snow cones, banana pudding, cobblers, cotton candy, smoothies, teas, beer, lemonade, hot toddy’s and more.
Aside from the food and entertainment, people were able to purchase paintings, accessories and clothes, get haircuts, and buy books.
One new addition to Taste of Soul was the LeadersUp Taste of Opportunity Pavilion which hosted a hiring fair. In the pavilion, event goers were able to interview for positions and submit applications at different business including UPS, FedEx, Target, Starbucks, the hotel industry, and the entertainment industry.
The Children’s World included a free vision mobile clinic through Vision to Learn, which gave out free pairs of glasses to children to help them thrive in the classroom. Additionally, Children’s World offered games, prizes, activities, and child-friendly entertainment.
The Taste of Soul Family Festival was also a one-stop-shop for resources and health services. Attendees were able to receive mammograms, get tested for HIV, and check their blood pressure, amongst many other valuable health screenings.
Source/photo credit: Los Angeles Sentinel