The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) announced that preparations are underway for the 2011 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival scheduled for Friday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19, and takes place on the 7100 to 7400 blocks of Ogontz Avenue. Now in its eighth year, this free event has gained global stature and celebrates Philadelphia arts and culture and the revitalization of the West Oak Lane neighborhood that has been home to the festival since 2004.
This year’s festival celebrates the rebirth of the West Oak Lane community and features internationally-acclaimed, award-winning artists, alongside some of the best regional and upcoming talent. A partial list of this year’s festival line-up includes Chaka Khan, The Men of Soul (Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson and Howard Hewett), Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Chrisette Michele, Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Tia Fuller, Roy Ayers, Gregory Porter, Crystal J. Torres, 3D Ritmo de Vida, Gerald Veasley, The Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass and many others.
“We are thrilled with this year’s lineup of nationally-acclaimed and talented musical artists that will perform on two stages at the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival,” said Rick White, Festival Consultant. “As OARC’s signature community event, we take great pride in producing an exciting program that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the region as well as from across the country and around the world. During the last 30 days the Festival Web site has received visits from 19 countries around the world.”
In addition to the musical performances, the festival will feature the popular Marketplace filled with unique, hand-crafted, original art creations and exhibitors from across the country that have been selected to deliver a multi-cultural mix of jewelry, clothing, photography, paintings and much more. Attendees can also enjoy the diverse array of cuisine from around the globe and around the corner. Local eateries participating include Relish and Victoria’s Kitchen, as well as Green Soul and Sweets by Sonya, both of which will open in May.
Another highlight of the festival will be the culmination of the third season of The Rising Star Talent Search, a competition designed to give up-and-coming musicians and singers from the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond a chance to perform, gain exposure, and showcase their talent for the general public. The competition kicked off in January and will continue through a series of performances held at Relish Restaurant through June. One talented group or individual will ultimately be declared the winner of the Rising Star Talent Search and will perform Sunday, June 19, the final day of the festival. The winner will also receive a $5,000 grand prize.
New for 2011 is the Children’s Day event scheduled for Saturday, June 18 from 10 AM to 1 PM, which will feature kid-friendly live performances, music workshops by The Persuasions, and a video gaming arcade. “The Children’s Day activities will further enhance the warm atmosphere of the festival for the entire family to enjoy,” said White.
The West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Festival will continue to do its part in conserving natural resources by providing recycling bins on the festival grounds and encouraging attendees to recycle. OARC’s commitment to Cleaning & Greening involves finding ways to improve conservation efforts and providing information and resources to the community.
Public transportation to free shuttle locations is strongly recommended for all attendees; illegally parked vehicles will be towed. Free festival shuttles will be located at Cheltenham Mall, Martin Luther King High School, Independence Mall and Fern Rock Transportation Center Station.
The West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival is Philadelphia’s Music and Culture Festival. For more information about the Festival go to www.westoaklanefestival.com.