ABOVE PHOTO: Rick White (at podium) announces the musical lineup for the 2011 West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Festival taking place June 17-19, 2011. From left to right: Rick White, co-producer of the West Oak Lane Jazz Festival; Jack Kitchen, President & CEO of OARC; Dave Martin of Brown’s ShopRite; Pennsylvania State Representative Dwight Evans; and Sharmain Matlock-Turner, OARC Board Chair.
The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) held a press conference today to announce details of the 2011 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival, Northwest Philadelphia’s premier community event scheduled for Friday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19. Now in its eighth year, the 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.
“When we first developed the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival nearly a decade ago, it was designed to market and showcase our accomplishments in West Oak Lane,” said Jack Kitchen, President and CEO of OARC. “It has since played an enormous role in the rebranding of West Oak Lane as a destination community of choice and raised the community’s profile as a growing hub for arts, entertainment and dining.”
This year’s festival celebrates the rebirth of the West Oak Lane community and will feature a diverse lineup of internationally acclaimed, award-winning artists, alongside some of the best regional and upcoming talent. A partial list of this year’s performers includes Chaka Khan, Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson, Freddie Jackson, 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 dozens more.
“We are thrilled with this year’s lineup of stellar musical artists, which include several Grammy Award winners who will perform on two stages at the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival,” said Rick White, co-producer of the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival. “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.”
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 multicultural 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 Restaurant 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 festival will take place in Northwest Philadelphia along Ogontz Avenue in the city’s West Oak Lane section. Free parking will be available at selected locations, and OARC will provide free shuttle service to and from the festival site on Saturday and Sunday. Public transportation to free shuttle locations is strongly recommended for all attendees; illegally parked vehicles will be towed. 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 and to see a complete list of performers go to www.westoaklanefestival.com.