Oakland kicks off the Labor Day weekend with its third annual Art and Soul Festival, headlined this year by music giants Ziggy Marley and Rachelle Ferrell.
Almost 70,000 people showed up last year and event sponsors expect an even larger turnout this year.
Marley, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and a respected reggae artist in his own right, has just released his first solo album Dragonfly, a departure from his traditional reggae style.
Rachelle Ferrell, a child prodigy educated at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, was recently named the “most accomplished and emotionally devastating vocalist to have emerged thus far this decade” by Billboard magazine. With a six-octave range and a repertoire that includes contemporary, pop, gospel and jazz, both she and Marley promise to be crowd favorites.
The festival kicks off Saturday with a “Family Day” that will include children’s activities and entertainment as a well as a children’s poetry program sponsored by the Oakland Public library. The poetry event is part of the festival’s Literature Expo that runs throughout the weekend and includes other events such as a performance by Oakland Poetry Slam team coordinator Sonia Whittle.
Other events include a number of open mics, panels, and art exhibits. Everything except the food is free.
Events will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day on five large stages and on the closed-off streets around City Hall’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. For more information and a full schedule check the Web site at ArtandSoulOakland.com