OAKLAND -- The city of Oakland is gearing up for its 13th annual Art + Soul Festival, which will feature two days packed with art and music.
The Art + Soul festival, recognized as one of the region's top music festivals, will encompass 10 city blocks in and around Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and City Center this weekend. Along with live music, attendees can experience artisan booths, food vendors, mobile food trucks and the Family Fun Zone, which includes pint-size rides, hands-on activities and much more.
The festival, which launched in 2000, has attracted more than 500,000 people to the downtown area, helping fuel growth in Oakland, said Samee Roberts, executive producer of Art + Soul. Although the festival began with one stage and one sponsor, now it's a $600,000 enterprise that is virtually self-sustaining. Just under 14 percent of the budget comes from the city and none of that money comes from Oakland taxpayers, Roberts said.
"It's really quite a success story for the city," Roberts said. "This bodes very well for Oakland, because the festival is virtually an all-Oakland production. This is really an Oakland showcase for the entire region."
The festival runs from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
In preparation for the festival, a one-block section of Clay Street from 11th to 12th streets will close beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. Then, on Friday, there will be closures of 12th Street between Broadway and Jefferson Street; 14th Street between Broadway and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way; Clay Street between 11th and 16th streets; and Jefferson Street from 11th to 15th streets. The streets will reopen in time for Monday's morning commute.
The downtown parking garages will remain open and accessible on Thursday and Friday.
Some performers at the festival include Lisa Loeb, Leela James, Vintage Trouble, ConFunkShun, Tristan Prettyman, Los Rakas. On Sunday, the Bay Area Blues Society will host local blues greats and a "Sunday Afternoon Gospel Hour" produced by Terrance Kelly and hosted by City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
There will also be a Show & Tell Dance Party, which will showcase urban and world dance performances both days, as well as provide dance instruction and a public dance party.
Advance tickets are available online at ArtandSoulOakland.com and are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults and $8 for seniors and youth. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
"This is an event that has grown in both scope and stature," Roberts said. "We're hoping that our numbers continue to grow and that the event continues to be a quality enriching experience for all."