LIVE: Black Arts & Cultural Festival @ Empire State Plaza, 8/1/15

August 10th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Will Downing

Will Downing

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The annual Black Arts & Cultural Festival returned to Albany’s Empire State Plaza earlier this month with the free, day-long festival offering plenty of family-friendly activities including the Scratch Academy, where kids can learn and hone the techniques practiced by hip-hop DJs. The fest featured an expanded Kids’ Zone with loads of interactive activities, including pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts, science experiments and bounce rides.

Live demonstrations include the Austin’s Barbershop Battle, spoken word and poetry slam with Urban Guerilla Theater, Triple Threat All-Stars Cheerleading and Dance; and Trinity Alliance Hoops Challenge. The Albany Center Gallery hosted a satellite exhibit with 18 artists showcasing their work on black arts and culture, in addition to live painting on site.

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But the big draw was the music, headlined by Will Downing, the Prince of Sophisticated Soul, who wowed the crowd with his sultry, seductive soul crooning. Also performing throughout the fest were the multi-cultural band One World Tribe, contemporary jazz/instrumental pop flutist-vocalist Ragan Whiteside and contemporary gospel singer Amber Bullock, the winner of Season 4 winner of BET’s gospel singing competition, “Sunday Best.”

UPCOMING: Next up at the Empire State Plaza is the annual New York State Food Festival from 11am-9pm on Wednesday (August 12) with nearly 100 food vendors and free music featuring Cracker, Gedeon Luke & the People and Soul Sky beginning at 5pm. GO HERE for more info and the complete schedule of bands…

Will Downing

Will Downing

One World Tribe

One World Tribe

One World Tribe

One World Tribe

Ragan Whiteside

Ragan Whiteside