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LIVE: TAMPA BAY BLACK HERITAGE MUSIC FESTIVAL – January 13 & 14, 2024

| 21 January 2024 | Reply

Venue: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

City: Tampa, FL

Dates: January 13-14, 2024

Review and Photographs by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival includes a cool musical festival that brings together some amazing R&B, rap, jazz, funk, and more.  This cook festival brings us all together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream and vision, leading up to Martin Luther King Day.  The festival held downtown Tampa just off of the waterfront adjacent to the property the original Curtis Hixon Hall stood.  The walk and pathways across the park allowed for vendors and food trucks to keep everyone shopping and eating between being entertained by some amazing acts over the course of two days.  Most of my time was spent on day one where we witnessed some cool musical performances that included headliner Keke Wyatt, funk band Slave, the smooth soulful voice of Khalea Lynee’, and some fun rap from Brea Miles.  I missed some of the other talent early in the day, but was really impressed with the four artists I caught today.  Starting with Brea, her unpretentious attitude on and off the stage were a great start to my musical day.  Standing in the pit area, it was obvious those that came to catch her performance were as into it as she was.  Her portion of the show held a lot of positivity and feel good in the lyrics and the smiles from the stage were contagious.  Next up was Khalea Lynee’ (a former contestant on The Voice) and her powerful set was led by a complete band set up.  She moved through her portion with finesse and a bit of banter engaging the crowd.  The music was straightforward and lulled you in quickly and easily.  There were songs from her previous releases, performance on the hit show, and some newer material as well.  It was a well rounded performance.  After a little stage setup and other administrative functions, Ohio funk band Slave took the stage and played for about an hour, taking everyone back to the 70’s for some cool bassline laden funk, including a lot of percussion, keys, and guitar work that got your feet tapping and many people throughout the park dancing.  The songs were cool and carried a cool vibe from the stage across the park.  The mood was being set for the headliner and close of day one.  Headliner Keke Wyatt came out and started off with some sound issues, but quickly rebounded, even getting the enthusiastic crowd involved in the process of getting her mic and monitors figured out.  After a couple songs, she mentioned she was working against the chilly Tampa evening air (it was cooler than normal) and even asked for a tissue, towel, and eventually a coat.  The music was great and her voice was spot on as she moved through her set and allotted time on stage, closing day one on a successful musical note.

For day two, I didn’t make it down as early as I planned, so only caught the last couple acts of the day.  Guitarist Adam Hawley was supported by his band made up of local musicians and the jazz he played was a nice set up for what was to come next.  His guitar work tied in perfectly with the band behind him, including some cool sax.  The vocals that accompanied his playing were performed by his wife and you could feel the joy between them as they worked the stage and music together.  The headliner for night two is one of my favorite R&B vocalists – Leela James.  Full disclosure – this woman can do no wrong musically or vocally as far as I am concerned.  Her performance tonight was far different from any time I have seen her perform in the past.  I am not sure if it was the cold Tampa evening, the energy of the crowd, or the overall festival feel in the air, but she rocked the stage, the crowd, and the performance.  Not long into her set, she invited everyone from across the park to fill in the pit area in front of the stage as well as the VIP area.  Her set pulled from most of the R&B releases and the song placement and setlist was the perfect ebb and flow of music and mood.  Her voice was as clear and great as ever and she nailed each song and note.  Her time on stage seemed to fly by and before we knew it, we were at the end of the show, the night, and the musical festival part of Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival.  A killer weekend of music and I already cannot wait until next years show.

COMPLETE SET OF KEKE WYATT PHOTOS

COMPLETE SET OF SLAVE PHOTOS

COMPLETE SET OF KHALEA LYNEE’ PHOTOS

COMPLETE SET OF BREA PHOTOS

COMPLETE SET OF LEELA JAMES PHOTOS

COMPLETE SET OF ADAM HAWLEY PHOTOS

TAMPA BAY BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL LINKS:

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Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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