28th Year for Street Festival Celebrating Historic Jackson Ward
October 1-2, 2016
Co-Headliners, Rare Essence with special guest DJ Kool and James “Saxsmo” Gates
The 2nd Street Festival, presented by Altria and Dominion, returns for the 28th year, Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 1-2, to celebrate the rich culture of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. The FREE event is produced by Venture Richmond.
This year, the festival features co-headliners Rare Essence with special guest DJ Kool on Saturday, and James “Saxsmo” Gates, to close out the festival on Sunday.
As always, the 2nd Street Festival takes place the first full weekend in October. Over the years it has grown to be one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest street festivals. Nearly 40,000 people visit historic Jackson Ward to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African American community, and was known as “the Harlem of the South.” The festival features four stages of musical entertainment, along with food vendors, a marketplace, a Kidz Zone programmed by the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and Artists Row featuring David Marion with Liberated Flow, creator of this year’s festival poster. Additional artists include: Kelvin Henderson, Fruit of the Spirit, and Abdul Badi, The Art of Abdul Badi.
This year as part of the festival the U.N.I.T.Y. project will showcase murals in Jackson Ward that depict the historic legacy of the area. U.N.I.T.Y. represents Upholding, Networking and Inspiring Togetherness in celebration of Yesterday. Artists who are a part of the project include Hamilton Glass, David Marion, Keith Ramsey, Michon Pittman, and Sir James Thornhill.
Featured Poster Artist
The featured artist for 2016 is Richmond based artist David Marion. Marion was born in South Carolina in 1982 and at an early age he found his artistic gift and developed a passion for creating. As a graduate of Hampton University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, he always found time to continue following his passion and practicing his craft. Using oil as his medium of choice he has specialized in figurative art and portraiture for nearly a decade. He has exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, Chicago, South Carolina, and Virginia, and is on his way to becoming a nationally-recognized artist.
Rare Essence, Washington’s premier Go-Go band going on four decades has built a devoted fan base that spans multiple generations. Formed by four students at a Southeast Washington Catholic school during the mid-70s, the band was kept on track by several no-nonsense moms and mentored by the late Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown. Rare Essence quickly developed into the city’s most powerful Go-Go band, performing six to seven nights a week. They have performed with Run DMC, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Ice Cube, Heavy D and the Boyz, Wu Tang Clan, Redman and Method Man, French Montana, Scarface, TLC, Eric B and Rakim, YoYo, Shabba Ranks, KRS-1 not to mention Chuck Brown and other Go-Go greats like Trouble Funk, The Junk Yard Band, and EU.
James “Saxsmo” Gates
Three-time Grammy nominee, James “Saxsmo” Gates, is one of Richmond’s premier musicians, and is truly electric on stage. He recently released his latest recording, “Gates Wide Open,” with many of his best friends such as Fred Wesley, Freddie Fox, and Walter Easley in late 2014. Gates was nominated twice for the 2013 Grammy Awards for Best Arranger and Best Soloist, and was also nominated in 2009 for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year. As a saxophonist, Saxsmo has a flaming passion that is evident in every note played. He graduated from Richmond’s John F. Kennedy High School in 1978, and attended Virginia State University and alter transferred to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he received his undergraduate degree. He received his Master’s in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University in 2011, and today is the Director/Coordinator of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program at VSU.
The 2nd Street Festival is presented by Altria and Dominion, and sponsored by Radio One, Metro PCS, Urban Views Weekly, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.