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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Sol Blume brings the heat to Discovery Park, ending the summer with a record-breaking bang

An+attendee+blows+bubbles+while+waiting+for+the+next+artist+to+perform+at+the+Sol+Blume+festival+in+Discovery+Park+Sunday%2C+Aug.+20%2C+2023.+Photo+credit%3A+Manuel+Figueroa+%2F+mfigueroa.express%40gmail.com
An attendee blows bubbles while waiting for the next artist to perform at the Sol Blume festival in Discovery Park Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

On the weekend of Aug. 19 and 20, amid sweltering temperatures, Discovery Park’s iconic R&B music festival Sol Blume returned to its biggest crowd to date, boasting a total attendance of over 46,000 people, according to the festival’s official recap.

As one of the three most popular music festivals held in Sacramento and Discovery Park, the others being Aftershock and Golden Sky festival, Sol Blume has gained prominence since its inception in 2018 and is now known nationally as a staple for R&B and hip-hop lovers. The independent music festival is led by creator Fornati Kumeh and Executive Producer Chaez Boswell. 

“Sol Blume is a place where like-minded individuals can gather to celebrate some of today’s most acclaimed R&B, soul, and hip-hop music acts, with an underlying emphasis on art, culture, love, social diversity, and good vibes,” according to the festival’s website.

Jacquees points at the audience as he performs on stage during the second day of Sol Blume in Discovery Park Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Sol Blume has faced ceaseless adversity with the pandemic canceling all dates in 2020-21 and a flood at Discovery Park in April that forced its leaders to reschedule from its original date to mid-August. But the record-breaking rainfall of April met its match with Sol Blume’s record turnout.

Saturday’s headliner was Maryland-born R&B singer Brent Faiyaz while Sunday night was capped off by Oakland-artist Kehlani. Apart from the main acts drawing in crowds, fans of R&B and rap came together to experience a weekend total of 38 individual and diverse performers.

Around the park, large groups of eager fans gathered around the wide array of food and drink vendors along the perimeter of the grounds, and entertainment such as a butterfly exhibit, live artwork and a colorful, Instagram-worthy bubble display entertained more casual listeners.

Kosono Okina uses vibrant colors to render the beauty of a painting at Sol Blume in Discovery Park Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Musa Ecclesiastes, owner of jewelry business Those Brothers, set up shop near food vendors to sell his handmade and affordable pieces and interact with attendees while sporting the slogan: “Almost free jewelry.” Originally based in Brooklyn, Ecclesiastes owns the shop with his two brothers and travels all over the world to sell at different music festivals. He cites the standout aspect of community as the reason he came back to Sol Blume after attending for the first time last year, and excitedly recalled the event “brings people together.”

As the middle of the first day approached, the now sweaty yet enthused crowds packed themselves against the front railing to enjoy a performance from the first stage where they swayed and bounced along to the music, before migrating to the park’s second stage to watch the next act. While some approached a stage early on to secure their place for a favorite artist, others casually flowed between stages, and still more crowds were taking advantage of the shade by camping out along the sidelines. 

Festival-goers take shelter from the heat during the midday performances at the Sol Blume music festival in Discovery Park Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Brooklyn-based band Phony Ppl pumped up the energy early on during their Saturday afternoon performance and lead singer Elbee Thrie got the crowd chanting along to their upbeat, hip-hop and neo-soul inspired rhythm. 

Another standout act on Saturday was Sabrina Claudio, an R&B and soul artist from Miami. Along with her ability to draw in the crowd with a romantic and breathy voice, Claudio sang love-focused ballads with an intensity shown in her facial expressions, which helped her embody an honest and emotional presence onstage. 

By midday, temperatures hit the high 90s and a series of attendees fainted from alcohol induced heat exhaustion, a factor of many festivals that was worsened due to the high amount of alcohol sold at the venue. One of the first instances happened to a crowd member during a performance by Mariah the Scientist. The artist immediately noticed and paused her set to check multiple times with security to ensure the fan was safely attended to.

Although the heat was an unpleasant aspect of the festival for artists and attendees alike, it gave performers a rare glow onstage which both amplified their radiance and lit up their presence on the stage screens.

Muni Long vibes to the music during her performance on the second day of Sol Blume in Discovery Park Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Day two saw no shortage of people. Yet despite the overwhelming crowd presence, attendees remained laid back and the atmosphere — perhaps affected by the chill tones of R&B throughout — was relaxed and enjoyable.

On early Sunday afternoon when the crowd still hadn’t reached record breaking numbers, a group of three attendees noted the atmosphere was more mellow than anything. They had frequented other music festivals focused on reggae and EDM, Electronic Dance Music, but it was their first time experiencing Sol Blume.

“It’s kinda nice though,” one stated, “respectful, and everybodies nice.” 

Another attendee described the walk back to the car on Saturday night as an eventful ending to their day of festivities. Although they left during the headliner’s set to beat foot traffic, Brent Faiyaz’ voice permeated and the booming base was felt well beyond the festival grounds.

Some standout Sunday acts were Mahalia, a singer from the United Kingdom boasting a mix of both smooth and soft vocals and an occasional powerfully belted out high note; as well as Coco Jones, a Tennessee-born actress who, with a group of talented backup dancers, got the crowd moving with her powerfully expressive rap skills and sensual dance performances. 

Coco Jones shows off dance moves while singing as she performs on stage during the second day of Sol Blume in Discovery Park Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

Kehlani was the last artist to perform to a tightly packed crowd that spanned all the way to the edge of the park’s entrance. The R&B singer-songwriter lit up the stage with her heartfelt lyrics, which she performed with a power that reached to the very last row of listeners.

“We’re here for everybody else but Kehlani is the main event,” one fan says as she and her friends awaited the main act, “There’s a reason she’s a headliner.”

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