In the midst of tragedies surrounding black lives nation-wide comes a much-deserved celebration of the dance, music, food and art of Africans and African-Americans in the best way Iowa City knows how — a festival. The Iowa Soul Festival, now in its sixth year, will take over the Iowa City Ped Mall this Saturday with a full day of entertainment.
Soul Fest will begin with the newly added Black Entrepreneurs Roundtable. Dora Miller of KGAN CBS 2 will moderate the panel, which features the executive director of The Dream Center, Fred Newell; CEO and founder of Born Leaders United, Andre Wright; owner of Alfie Beauty Supply, Franki Cooley and co-founder of E’s Gluten-Free Bakery, Kwesi Seals. The entrepreneurial conversation starts at 11 a.m. inside MERGE, former home of The Wedge pizzeria. South of MERGE, at 3 p.m., in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, authors Eliza David, Gloria Dixon and Rebecca Grant will read from and discuss their works. These readings are another newly-added portion of the festival.
Lovers of soul food can enjoy Culinary Corner between the hours of 12 p.m. and 10 p.m., while art fanatics stroll through the Artist Marketplace between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Weatherdance Fountain stage will host a variety of performances throughout the day, including live music, the All Black Everything fashion show and an Afro-Brazilian carnival performance. Live music from Local on the 8s, Goose Town, Kevin B.F. Burt and The BluPrint Band will command the later half of the afternoon into the evening.