Regularly rated as one of the least ethnically integrated cities in America, Buffalo’s decades of economic decline have gone hand-in-hand with the city’s neighborhoods remaining mostly segregated.
Furthermore, older generations are largely clustered in Buffalo’s first ring of suburbs – while younger generations are putting down stakes either farther out or within Buffalo’s resurging neighborhoods.
Now, with the rise of New Buffalo, artist collective Haute La Vie is looking to change all that. The group has been staging cross-culture events large and small all year, and the crown jewel of its efforts is this weekend’s Vibe Fest and Reunion Weekend.
Speaking with Step Out Buffalo, Shawn Patterson – event organizer and returning millennial – talked about how Reunion Weekend and Vibe Fest were born from his partnership with Marti Gorman of Buffalo By Choice. Coming from different generations and different ethnicities – Patterson is black and Gorman is white – the idea of staging more inclusive celebrations appeared to come naturally.
Vibe Fest is set to feature a number of events and activities designed to push forward the idea of truly creating One Buffalo. Musical performances are scheduled to include classic rap from Truey V, indie rock from the Tins, reggae from The Rockaz, jazz from Toney Rhodes and JFT, R&B from Drea D’Nur, blues from Hayden Fogle and the Ambassadors and club pop from MaestroRiko.
Patterson said the lineup at Vibe Fest was put together with the idea of showcasing local talent that can be seen across Buffalo most nights of the week.
Whether its 16-year-old blues phenom Hayden Fogle or former members of Rick James band in Toney Rhodes and JFT, “having all these different varieties of sound and music literally under one roof and catering to a multitude of ears only helps to unify the city,” Patterson said.
In addition to the music, Vibe Fest will also include BMX performers, a breakdance battle, slam-dunk contest, a marketplace featuring local vendors and the opportunity to play life-size foosball.
Food and drink will be provided by Riverworks and those looking to have a more exclusive experience can also buy a VIP ticket, which includes access to reserved areas, as well as two complimentary drinks and food.
Patterson added that Vibe Fest is a chance for people who haven’t had a chance to check out the fully-operational Riverworks to come on down and look around the city’s newest place to see and be seen.
“It’s literally going to be a reunion,” he said,” bringing together people who haven’t seen each other in a long time.”
“Everybody has these silos that they live in, but bridging the gap and making sure that all of us are unified is the main focus” of Vibe Fest, he added.
Vibe Fest is also affiliated with City of Night, being held in the Old First Ward on Saturday night, and four area concerts: Les Dudek (Friday) and Bill Korchen (Sunday) at Sportsmen’s Tavern; as well as Josh Flag (Friday) and State Champs (Sunday) at The Waiting Room.
Saturday July 18, 2015
2 – 10 pm
@ Buffalo RiverWorks – 359 Ganson St., Buffalo, NY
General Admission: $15 advance/ $20 @ the door
VIP: $50/ $60
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