The Black Academy of Arts and Letters’ (TBAAL) first annual Riverfront Jazz Festival in partnership with VISIT Dallas is set to launch what potentially will become the hallmark arts event in Dallas on Labor Day weekend for years to come. Through the collaboration of the arts, education, civic sponsors and the city, a long time dream is set to debut Sept. 1-3 at the Texas Horse Park, 811 Pemberton Hill Road in Dallas. North Dallas Gazette readers have an opportunity to win tickets to see the more than 35 musical groups and performers.
Curtis King, TBAAL Founder and President and the festival’s creator and producer, has tried to get this festival off the ground for the last 15 years he shared by phone with the North Dallas Gazette.
“About eight or nine years ago, we thought we would pull it off,” King said but eventually the funding fell through. The tide turned when Sharon Richards at the Visitors Bureau and King were having a casual conversation and they realized there are usually no headline events in Dallas during Labor Day weekend.
After a series of meetings, the city was able to identify available funding through their marketing budget, but it would require more. TBAAL already had limited unrestricted funds available from Bloomberg Philanthropies and then expressed an interest in learning more about the event, asking about possible performers. However, King did not want to reach out to the artists without some degree of assurance the program was green-lighted.
The educational component to the festival comes in the form of support provided by Big Thought. They were willing to become a community partner to expand the outreach efforts to youth with a budding interest in music. Following each of the shows, the artists will go directly to Arts & Community Stage and participate in a Talk Back session with young people. This eventually led to additional funding from the city as well, with those funds specifically used to support the Promising Young Artists Stage.
Then King and company reached out and secured space with six downtown hotels to host live after hours shows generally from 10:30 p.m. to Midnight (check each location to confirm times) the hotels are:
- The Sheraton Hotel – they are serving as the host hotel and offering a special room rate of $119, call 1-888-627-8191 code RFJAZZ1 or visit http://www.sheratondallashotel.com/riverfront-jazz-festival.
- Aloft Dallas Downtown
- Hilton Anatole
- Hotel Indigo Dallas Downtown
- Homewood Suites Downtown
- Omni Hotel Dallas
Assembling these alliances was quite an achievement, but what about the music? The first question is what type of music do you like because King and company have assembled a roster of performers who will cover a broad spectrum from jazz (traditional and smooth), gospel, R&B, Pop, Soul, Blues and Neo-Soul to be performed on two main stages – the Visit Dallas Jazz Main Stage and the Blues and Soul Main Stage.
The line-up of performers includes Dallas’ own Erykah Badu, Will Downing and Najee who are serving as the festival Honorary Chairs. The two main stages will feature performances by Euge Groove, Oleta Adams, Peter White, Keiko Matsui, Jon Secada, Martha Wash, Paul Taylor, Maysa, Freda Payne, Mary Wilson, Eloise Laws, Ruben Studdard, Jeff Lorber, Rahsaan Patterson with a Tribute to Donny Hathaway, Karen Briggs with Jazz in Pink, Jonathan Butler, R.L. Griffin “The Reverend,” Wanda King, Lucky Peterson, Lady Tambourine (Rosaline Washington) and the New Orleans Soul Band, Yarbrough & Peoples featuring Benita Arterberry, Funky Knuckles, Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers featuring Eddie Shaw, Rachelle Ferrell, Melanie Fiona, Alex Bugnon, Kim Waters, Phil Perry, Pieces of A Dream, Shaun Martin, Xavier Jackson, Sean Caleb, Clifton Williams, Martha Burks, Andrea Wallace, Keith Anderson, Tom Braxton, Mark Felton, Art Sherrod, Jr. Joseph Vincelli and Clay Prichard.
North Dallas Gazette readers have an opportunity to win free tickets. Keep your eye on NDG’s Facebook and Instagram profiles for more details!
If you do not score a free pair of tickets for the festival from NDG, they are available for the festival for $50 Pre-Sale, $60 at Door, $125 VIP Seating (VIP Entrance Gate, Open seating in VIP Reserved Sections and $100 Annual TBAAL Membership redeemable at Festival Membership Table). A 3-Day Discount Festival Weekend pass is $135. For festival and jam session tickets call, TBAAL Box Office 214-743-2400 or Ticketmaster 800-745-3000 and for festival info and updates, visit: www.tbaalriverfrontjazzfestival.org.