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MacDonald Avenue is filled with dancing crowds as Samba Funk takes the stage. (Photo by Brittany Kirstin)

Spirit & Soul Festival returns in person to Richmond

on September 16, 2021

Live music, food, artists and vendors return to Richmond this weekend, with the 13th annual Spirit & Soul Festival.

The annual ticketed event , hosted by the Richmond Main Street Initiative, celebrates the city’s arts and culture scene. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be presented as a hybrid this year. 

The free virtual broadcast will stream from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., with an in-person VIP Watch Party from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at El Garage, 1428 Macdonald Ave.

Guests can stream the broadcast through KOFY TV20, Facebook Live, Youtube Live and Instagram Live. It will include musical performances by Top Shelf, Los Cenzontles accompanied by Los Originarios, and R&B singer-songwriter Wanda Gonzalez, who is from Richmond. 

The Main Street Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Richmond, hopes the event will renew excitement around community events after the long pandemic lockdown, said Alicia Gallo, interim executive director.

“Trying new things is our passion for activating spaces downtown and bringing the community together, ” Gallo said. 

The watch party will  feature a viewing of the virtual broadcast, along with food by El Garage and drinks by East Brother Beer Company and Aguas Fresca, as well as the Main Street Initiative’s homemade margaritas. 

Attendees must show proof of vaccination in either physical or digital form, along with a photo ID. Vaccinated people who have not yet obtained a a digital vaccination record, can register their vaccine status at All attendees are asked to wear a mask for the in-person gathering. 

Gallo expects around 10,000 people to stream the broadcast. Only about 50 people were registered by mid-week for the watch party. Tickets for that are $50 online, with the proceeds  supporting downtown businesses. 

More information is on the Main Street Initiative’s  homepage.

The Spirit & Soul Festival returns as a hybrid, after going virtual last year . (Courtesy of Richmond Main Street Initiative)

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