Music Festival to Bring Soul to Franklin Park

This Saturday, Franklin Park will be the site of the first annual Boston Art and Music Soul (BAMS) Festival, a day-long event featuring live music, spoken word poetry, a mural arts competition, and food trucks and vendors. The festival will be headlined by Philadelphia neo-soul group Kindred the Family Soul, and will predominantly feature local artists such as Dorchester native Latrell James, Roxbury rapper Oompa and Berklee-affiliated band The Woo Factor.

BAMS Fest is the brainchild of Bostonian Catherine Morris, who envisioned an Afro-centric celebration of arts and culture in the form of the city’s first free community festival. Event and artist relations coordinator Tim Hall spoke to this vision:

“We’re a 501 c3 nonprofit that’s dedicated to bridging gaps between arts, music, and culture,
particularly for underserved communities of color,” he explained. “Our goal is to offer great programming that also gives artists the opportunity to talk and engage with the audience in an organic way.”

Hall added that diversity and inclusion were core tenets of the festival’s development process; many of the artists performing on Saturday will represent various communities of color as well as the LGBTQ community.

“Every event is meant to have a dialogue, a conversational component to it,” he said. “And so they also serve as channels to break down barriers. We did these prelude events leading up to the festival, a travelling series bringing different artists and ideas to different parts of the city. So, for example, we would give a rapper from Roxbury a platform in Cambridge.”

Hall and the BAMS Fest board hope Saturday’s event will be the first of what will become an annual tradition that would continue to grow in size and scope.

“Catherine’s plan is to do something that runs past her,” explained Hall. “We’re super excited. It’s been a long time coming.”

The Boston Art and Music Soul Festival will take place this Saturday, June 23 from 12-8 p.m. at Franklin Park’s Playstead Field. Event is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance at www.bamsfest.org.