The 11th Annual Taste of Soul Family Festival is less than 3 weeks away. Festival founder Danny Bakewell stopped by the morning show today to talk about some of this year’s highlights, the new Taste Of Soul app and the late Brenda Marsh Mitchell, who helped make the dream of a free festival on Crenshaw Boulevard a reality.
Taste of Soul is a family affair. It all starts with family for Danny Bakewell. Whatever he’s doing includes the Bakewell clan, whether it’s the LA Sentinel, The Brotherhood Crusade, Mothers in Action or the Taste of Soul. The extended family continues to grow as performers, local vendors, established businesses and members of the community at large come out every year for what many say in the largest street festival of its kind in America. Danny credits the late Brenda Marsh Mitchell, who believed when naysayers tried to discourage them. She was the heart and soul of the Taste of Soul and will forever be remembered for her contributions.
This is a totally peaceful event that defies all the stereotypes about our South LA neighborhoods. Danny says people do have a lot of fun but there are also many useful resources at the festival. You can get information about social services, you can register to vote and if you’re a small business owner , you can make sales and build your future clientele. The established businesses who participate also benefit and Danny believes that these are the businesses we need to spend our dollars with.
Every business that participates has said that there’s nowhere in the country where they can interact with as many people as they can at Taste of Soul. Danny says that we are demonstrating that the notion of doing good and doing well is possible. People come from all over the country to be there, which is a testament to the community.
Many of the businesses along the Crenshaw Corridor have been affected by the construction of the new Crenshaw Metro Line, which is expected to be completed in 2019. Danny gives credit to people like Mark Ridley-Thomas and Jackie Dupont Walker, who have worked to ensure that there are resources available to help those businesses survive the construction period. The Leimert Park area is sacred ground in the Crenshaw community and an important cultural center. Danny says people fought hard to get a Metro stop at Leimert Park and that will help the area to thrive.
The Taste of Soul app will be an important tool to use this year. With the music stages on the north and south ends of Crenshaw and the Gospel stage and Star Quest stage in the center, you’ll need the app to navigate it all. You will get real time updates leading up to and the day of the festival. It will help you find where to register to vote, where to find specific vendors and most importantly, where to find the fried catfish.
Brenda Marsh Mitchell will always be remembered in our community but never more than at the Taste of Soul. The gospel stage carries her name. Danny says her commitment to her faith would make her proud to have that particular stage memorializing her. This is our festival, a positive experience all around because of the participation of the entire LA community.
The 11th Annual Taste of Soul Family Festival
Saturday October 15, 2016
Crenshaw Boulevard between Stocker Street and Rodeo Road