Friday, September 23, and Saturday, September 24
Downtown Iowa City IA
A favorite summertime event moved to the fall for 2022, downtown Iowa City's beloved Soul & Blues Festival is back to enthrall live audiences on September 23 and 24, with this year's weekend schedule including a Black authors' panel, Caribbean-dance demonstrations, youth performances, and thrilling concert sets by the likes of Kevin Burt, Demetria Taylor, and the Mike Wheeler Band.
This year's festival begins at 5 p.m. on September 23 with food vendors on Iowa Avenue and the annual Beverage Garden on Clinton Street at Iowa Avenue, with the funk/soul/R&B band FunkDaddies performing a mainstage set at 6:30 p.m.. Inspired by Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, and other great Motown artists, the group brings its own irresistible, high-energy musical show to audiences everywhere, with its members including Anthony Hendricks (vocals), John Reasoner (guitar, vocals), Ken Duncan (drums, vocals), Ken Fullard (bass, vocals), and Dave Shawver (saxes, flute). With 19 years enjoyed as one of the Midwest’s most popular and top-drawing bands, FunkDaddies has shared stages with a number of legendary acts, among them the Beach Boys, Grand Funk Railroad, Al Jarreau, and 38 Special.
The following day at 10 a.m., the Soul & Blues Festival continues at ICOR Boxing with the Black Business Owners’ Forum, in which five panelists – Clif Johnson of ICOR Boxing, Tasha Lard of JD Beauty Supply, Tracy Jon Sargeant of the Multicultural Development Center of Iowa, Rachel Scott of Café on the Go, and Simeon Talley of Basic Goods – will offer a chance for the Black business community to come together and forge relationships for future Black Business initiatives in Iowa City and surrounding areas. A Black Authors' Panel at Prairie Lights Books & Café will follow at 11 a.m., with moderator Arnold Daniels Jr. leading a conversation panel featuring Eliza David, Danika Kell, Gabrielle Williams, and Steven Willis. Outdoor food and vendors set up at 11:30 a.m., and the first September 24 concert set begins at 12:30 with a performance by the D. L. Perkins Singers, an aggregation of gospel and soul singers who work together under the D.L. Perkins and Sons Funeral Home and formed in April of 2020.
At 1:30 p.m., Clinton Street at Washington Street will host demonstrations of Dances of the Caribbean, led by Trinidadian-born Interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, drummer, and dance researcher Kieron Dwayne. Cedar Rapids' rock and soul band Ship of Fools takes the main stage at 2 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. set with local blues legend Kevin Burt, a self-taught musician whose smooth, warm vocal presentation sets a mood of relaxed exhilaration with a welcome mixture of serious music and infectious humor. Taking place at 4 p.m. and named after Nina Simone’s iconic song, Young, Gifted, & Black is a new event at the Soul & Blues Festival that celebrates BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth voices – writers, singers, rappers, spoken word poets, and more – through performance of their work/words.
Blues Music Award nominee Demetria Taylor takes the stage at 5 p.m., and released her latest effort on Delmark Records, Doin’ What I’m Supposed to Do, in late 2021. At 7 p.m. the Willie White Band performs on the main stage, its bandleader a vocalist, songwriter, and music composer who has collaborated with the gifted likes of Artie Blues Boy, Little Milton, Willie Clayton, Bobby Rush, and Jo Jo Murray. And wrapping up this year's Soul & Blues Festival is a 9 p.m. set with the Mike Wheeler Band, its headliner a 2014 inductee in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame who has shared stages with artists including Willie Kent, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, George Benson, Jimmy Johnson and Shemekia Copeland.
The 2022 Soul & Blues Festival will take place on September 23 and 24, admission is free, and more information is available by calling (319)337-7944 and visiting SummerOfTheArts.org.