Taste of Soul is one of the largest street festivals in Southern California with 350,000 people and counting. (file photo)

Taste of Soul (TOS) is back! For the past 12 years, the Taste of Soul Family Festival has been known for bringing out the best the community has to offer by acting as a primary example that beautiful things can and do come from the depths of the South Los Angeles community. This year’s theme, “Come Feel the Love,” was an idea curated by Taste of Soul founder and creator, Danny J. Bakewell Sr.

“Taste of Soul is more than a food festival, more than just a block party and more than just a concert,” said Bakewell. “It’s an expression of love! A love for our community, a love for our people and a love for everyone who loves us and supports us. This year’s Taste of Soul will be the biggest and best. Hyundai Motor of America is adding a stage with another group of fantastic artists along with the incredible artists that have been a part of Taste of Soul at the 102.3 KJLH and 94.7 the Wave stages. As always, the food will be incredible. But the things that makes this event so special are the people, and the joy and pride of the day. I am so humbled, excited and joyous to once again invite everyone to come out to Crenshaw Blvd. on October 20 to ‘Come Feel the Love’ at the 13th annual Taste of Soul Family Festival.”

Taste of Soul goers can also get there blood pressure checked along with other health screenings at the event. (file photo)

Although Taste of Soul is known as Los Angeles’ largest street festival with over 350,000 people and counting, some view the event as a giant family reunion bringing together the young and the old, politicians and residents, law enforcement and church goers for a free family-oriented event. Some people have used the event as way to reconnect with old friends or even spend a day with their family. However, Bakewell saw the event as an economic engine to empower the Black community.

Taste of Soul is a one-stop-shop for resources for the community. Amongst those resources are health services provided by Taste of Soul health providers, voter registration, job opportunities and information on what’s happening in the community.

Since the festival is celebrating 13 years, it was only right for Bakewell and his team to make the event bigger and better than ever! Which is why the team has decided to include new food vendors, new resource booths, and let’s not forget, the hottest entertainment for your enjoyment.

Eric Bellinger takes the stage at 12th annual Taste of Soul. (file photo)

One of the newest attractions at Taste of Soul is the Hyundai Soundstage which will feature name entertainment and the TOS Starquest Singing Competition. Another new attraction is the LeadersUp Taste of Opportunity Pavilion (TOO), a non-profit organization bridging the divide between the untapped potential of youth and the business challenge of finding and keeping the best talent.  At the LeadersUp TOO Pavilion and signature hiring fair, job seekers will have the opportunity to interview with featured companies and potentially land a job on the spot!  Learn how to secure your interview for open positions with employers at www.leadersup.org/hiringfairs.

Now, let’s talk about the food. Since October of 2017, businesses owners have been calling and signing up for a premium spot at the festival. Now, we can’t release the list of food vendors just yet, but the festival will cater to all BBQ, African, Soul food, American, Vegan, and dessert lovers, so come with an empty stomach and cash on hand.  Last year’s vendors included:  Dulan’s Soul Food, Taco Pete, and CoCo’s Lip Smacking Cupcakes.

Taste of Soul offers a wide variety of food options ranging from soul food, African, BBQ, desserts, and more! (file photo)

What’s a festival without the entertainment? Taste of Soul has also been known for providing a wide variety of entertainment thanks to its stage partners 94.7 the Wave and 102.3 KJLH Radio Free. From smooth jazz and today’s R&B and hip-hop to gospel music, TOS has you covered. Last year’s artists included: Brandy, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Melanie Fiona, and Eric Bellinger. This year’s lineup is still in the works, but what we can say is that these artists will have you on your feet dancing and reminiscing on good times, so make sure to get there early and grab a seat at your favorite sound stage.

Artist Brandy and Doug E. Fresh performing during the 2017 Taste of SoulFamily Festival. (file photo)

Below are stages that will be retuning this year:

  • 94.7 the Wave
  • 102.3 KJLH Radio Free
  • Hyundai Sound Stage
  • Brenda Marsh-Mitchell stage sponsored by McDonald’s in partnership with Holman United Methodist Church
  • Children’s World

Save the date! The Taste of Soul Family Festival will take place on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 10- 7 p.m. on Crenshaw Blvd. between Stocker and Rodeo Rd.

Get the latest Taste of Soul news and updates sent straight to your phone by downloading the Taste of Soul mobile app through the Apple Store or Google Play or by visiting www.tasteofsoul.org. Please note more food vendors and artists will be added the website and mobile app as they become available.