Kathy Sledge, Monica, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, Jean Carne, and Kindred the Family Soul will get together to show the late Aretha Franklin some R-E-S-P-E-C-T with a free concert at this year's Neighborhood-to-Neighborhood festival. The accomplished group of R&B and soul singers will perform their own hits as well some of Franklin's songs at the free concert on Saturday, September 8 at 50th and Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia.
According to State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, who sponsors the festival, the goal is to "not just pay respect to Aretha Franklin but also to highlight the significance of what she's meant." He referenced not only to her artistry, but to her civil rights activism, feminism, and leadership in the music industry.
Last year's free concert was a tribute to Prince featuring the late artist's collaborators, Morris Day and Sheila E. The year before, rapper Common was a headliner.
The festival, nicknamed N2N, will open at noon, and musical performances will begin at 1, starting with Kathy Sledge, Philly native and the youngest member of the soul group Sister Sledge. She will be followed by Jean Carne, a longtime friend of Franklin's, at 2 p.m. Nine time Grammy nominee Kelly Price follows at 3 p.m., Philly neo soul duo Kindred the Family Soul are up at 4 p.m., R&B singer Keke Wyatt hits the stage at 5 p.m., and Monica closes everything out at 6 p.m.
Senator Williams recommends that festival-goers come early to stake out their seats; N2N is a bring-your-own-chair event. In addition to music, expect lots of food, both free and from vendors, as well as sports demonstrations from the Black Women in Sport Foundation, games, giveaways, health screenings, a kids zone, and a seniors tent.
"I represent a pretty diverse district," said Senator Williams. He explained that the festival brings, "dignity and respect to all types of people that live in our community together." He said that you might find students that have just moved to Philly sharing a building with long-time community members in West Philly. The festival brings them together– in fact, when the event was on hiatus from 2010-2015, due to fundraising challenges and budget cuts, students and long-time residents alike flooded the Senator with calls and emails.
Senator Williams said N2N has had every type of performer, from R&B to rock. However, "we haven't had country music yet," he admitted.