Berklee Partners with BAMS Festival in Its Second Year

By 
Colette Greenstein
May 21, 2019
Press release
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Headlined by Grammy-nominated R&B artist Eric Roberson, this year's festival takes place on Saturday, June 22. 

2019 BAMS Festival headliner Eric Roberson
Image courtesy of the artist

The Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Festival, presented in partnership with Berklee, takes place on Saturday, June 22, 12:00 p.m.8:00 p.m., at Playstead Field at Boston's historic Franklin Park, 1 Pierpont Road. The event will be held rain or shine. 

Now in its second year, BAMS Festival offers a day filled with music, entertainment, dance, art, spoken word, and family-friendly activities. The festival is free and open to the public, but preregistration is encouraged. 

Grammy-nominated R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Eric Roberson headlines this year's festival, which features a lineup of 19 artists and musicians from around the U.S. performing R&B, hip-hop, Afrobeat, house, jazz, fusion, funk, and soul. 

Cocurated by Terri Lyne Carrington, Grammy-winning drummer and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, the event will showcase Berklee-trained vocalists ÁBI (Abigail Kim B.M. ’19), Dalaun (Jordan Holly B.M. ’17), and Safiya (current student Safiya Leslie).

Other roster highlights include filmmaker and musician Cliff Notez; R&B vocalist Aleecya; R&B/neo-soul duo Optic Bloom; Motown and doo-wop quartet the Tee-Tones; nine-piece funk and soul collective American Symphony of Soul; samba and Brazilian dance troupe SambaViva; and other acts over two stages.

The festival's visual-art and dance components, organized by Rob “Problak” Gibbs, cofounder of Artists for Humanity and Racines Black Dance Festival, include an interactive, social justice artthemed exhibition with emerging painters and graffiti writers from New England. Racines Black Dance Festival will stage a workshop for attendees to learn both traditional and contemporary African and Afro-centric dance styles. A vendor market featuring artists, craft makers, creative entrepreneurs, and minority-owned small businesses from across New England will be on-site at Franklin Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring favorite board and card games for a day of family fun.

Last year’s inaugural festival drew more than 2,000 participants for hip-hop, spoken word, and soul music performed by local and national artists of color. It also featured local visual artists making murals, local vendors, and food trucks with varied menus.  

BAMS Festival is made possible in part through grants from the Boston Foundation's Permanent Fund for Boston and Mass Cultural Council, and funding from Berklee; support from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture; and media partnerships with WBUR, the New 97.7 FM, the Urban Heat, Ethnic Online, DigBoston, and the Bay State Banner.

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