Indiana Black Expo’s (IBE) Music Heritage Festival (MHF) never fails to produce the fabric that threads the African-American community together, and it has been doing so since 1971. Bringing top talent to the Hoosier state has always been a priority. And this year the music industry’s most talented is head to Indianapolis.
The soulful sounds of KEM with the sultry jazz voice of Chrisette Michele and a dose of Grammy-nominated R&B songstress Keyshia Cole will grace the stage July 19. Does this seem like an odd combination of musical talent? For some maybe, but this is exactly the type of vibrant, dynamic line up of artists IBE was looking for.
“The president was looking for a way to bridge the gap between the long time patrons of the festival and the up and coming patrons,” Slack Fortune, promoter for MHF said.
MHF’s diversity of musical genius is sure to add a different feel with songs ranging from “If I Had My Way” by Chrisette Michele, Keyshia Cole’s “Heaven Sent” and a KEM favorite “Love calls.” The Musical Heritage Festival is not just for the neo soul and R&B experience, it’s an experience to be shared by every music lover.
Traditionally known for utilizing legacy acts during its free concert, IBE wanted to make sure everyone was included in Saturday’s performance and that included targeting a younger audience.
“Out of the dialogue we wanted to bring someone contemporary and to speak to a wide variety of individuals,” said Denise Herd, vice president of marketing and sales. “If you go back the last few years you will see an evolution in the artists that we are bringing in for the concerts.”
Trying to bring a rejuvenating energy and outlook to MHF, Fortune says the president of IBE hopes to make changes to ensure the festival survives the test of time. However this is not the only modification being made.
With a few alterations to this year’s concert venue due to the upcoming demolition of the RCA Dome, MHF will be in the Convention Center’s Sagamore Ballroom beginning at 7 p.m. though typically it had been held at Conseco Fieldhouse. Even though capacity at Conseco is a lot larger, IBE sees this as an occasion to develop an intimate setting that perhaps was missing at Conseco.
“I think this provided us another opportunity to create a different experience with our Saturday night concert,” Herd said.
Not only is Expo looking at the venue change as a positive inception, but also IBE is forging ahead with a broader perspective for more growth with its Musical Heritage Festival.
“We will have the Lucas Oil Stadium to work with next year, and that will be a new paradigm for the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration dynamic,” Herd said.
This year’s Musical Heritage Festival hopes to create a dynamic show that cuts across age barriers to illustrate the heart and soul of what IBE brings each year.
“I want people to keep an open mind and enjoy the event,” Fortune said. We’ve got to make changes in order to grow to keep things exciting and vibrant.”