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Extreme heat shifts start time for hip-hop focused HeART and Soul Festival at City Stadium

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jul 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-28 17:54:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. – This year’s HeART and Soul Festival, a celebration of the art of hip-hop, returns to City Stadium this Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.

“There's no way that you can really, really put a celebration of hip-hop into one thing, so we are focused on the art of it,” Kelli Lemon, one of the event’s founders, explained. “From the visual, to the performing to all things that make up art.”

It's a poignant way to celebrate, because this year is the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

HeART & Soul Festival
Kelli Lemon

“So all of our local artists, and the DJs and the dancers and all the experiences that we want to curate at this year's HeART and Soul, have to deal with the culture and art of hip-hop,” Lemon said.

There will be seven DJs, 17 food trucks, live art, painting and mix media works as well as the Richmond Night Market at the sixth annual event.

Organizers pushed the start time to 5 p.m. because of Saturday’s extreme heat.

Antoinette Essa and Sherita McGowan
Antoinette Essa and Sherita McGowan

Sherita McGowan, the Owner of the Croaker Spot Restaurant, said the event embodies ”so many things that can touch the soul.”

“It's about the good food, It's about good art and it's about music,” McGowan said. “And they cultivate that together so that everyone can find something they're going to enjoy.”

Lemon credited HeART and Soul with the inception of the popular Richmond Black Restaurant Experience.

That event happens in March, but the HeART and Soul Festival started at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, but soon outgrew the space.

“We had the opportunity to partner with the Richmond Kickers and brought it out to what I consider one of the most iconic stadiums within the region,” Lemon said. “Have been doing it bigger and better since last year.”

HeART & Soul Festival

McGowan said the city’s parks and recreation department are providing blacktop games.

“They're going to do Double Dutch, basketball, they have a Kids Zone. It's just a little bit of everything,“ McGowan said.

Because the Kickers are still in season, activities will not be on the field.

“So the stage will be on the outskirts, and we'll have some security around the field so unfortunately, we'll be focused on looking at the field, but we can't step on it though,” Lemon said.

There is no need to bring chairs as the stadium is equipped with lots of seats.

“One thing about this festival is we want to make sure all generations experience it,” Lemon said. “So bring the kids, and bring our older generation out as well. Let's have a good, family-friendly time out at City Stadium,” Lemon said.

Click here for more information about the festival.

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