SoulFest Makes Triumphant Debut in Pittsburg

Rapper Suga-T of Vallejo was among the performers at the first Pittsburg SoulFest on Saturday.

By The Contra Costa Pulse

A new tradition was born this past weekend in Pittsburg. Billed as a celebration of music, unity and positive energy, the inaugural SoulFest brought together a vibrant tapestry of music, vendors and community for a Juneteenth celebration for East County’s African American residents.

The brainchild of a collective called The Village and held at the Pittsburg Youth Development Center, SoulFest featured a dynamic lineup of live music, including gospel, funk and R&B performances. Highlights included sets by We R One Band, a Frankie Beverly and Maze tribute band, and rapper Suga-T who was joined by a DJ and a live band. A number of local performers took to the stage, filling the air with soulful classics that had the crowd feeling good and even got a few out of their seats to dance.

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“Mr. [Willie] Moffett [Jr.] and Nina [Homes] decided that they wanted to start something that could last,” said Alexus Christian, small business and expo coordinator for the Youth Development Center, referring to two of her colleagues; Moffett is the center’s president. “It’s unique to Pittsburg.”

More than just music, SoulFest also showcased a Black business expo, highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit of the local community. Local vendors from throughout the county such as Lady J’s Soul Food added to the festive atmosphere, treating attendees to an array of culinary delights with soul food, of course, Caribbean food and barbecue.

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Workshops and activities rounded out the day, providing opportunities for attendees to learn, grow and connect with each other.

“This event was to provide the resources and education for our community as well,” said Christian.

Twelve small businesses were on hand — among them ones dedicated to health and wellness, education and fashion. Six workshops were held, including one about financial literacy and another on wills and trusts.

At the center of SoulFest was a sense of community and unity.

“The Pittsburg Youth Development Center already had its roots here, so we decided to reach out to other community organizations in partnership, to help make this a bigger event than what we originally planned,” said Christian.

Founded in 1946, Pittsburg Youth Development Center provides recreational and educational activities for the community including a variety of athletic and educational programs, as well as after school care.

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