Set your soul free at East Spencer Soul Music Festival

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Arts

On Oct. 8, the Southern Soul Music Festival returns to East Spencer for a day of music, vendors, face painting and more. The Covid pandemic silenced a lot of singers and musicians, so the last festival was in 2019.

ShaTaira Bailey, town clerk for East Spencer, has been working hard to get it all together in time.

“We’ll have three main performances, Divided by Four, Virginia Rush and the Ace Party Band,” she says, “and we’re lining up performers for between the main stage sets.”

The events will all be at Royal Giants Park, 200 Robinson Road, from noon to 7 p.m. The Ace Party Band, which has recently played at Bell Tower Green in Salisbury, will be the final big act, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Bailey says.

She’s looking for other local artists who might want to perform between the big acts, as well as local dance teams.

DJ Neak, Shenita Russell, will be spinning tunes during the day, too.

The festival will include a variety of food vendors from the Charlotte area, but Bailey has been going to the Food Truck Tuesday events in Spencer to check out what’s available, too.

Since it’s election season, Bailey expects political candidates to set up booths at the festival, as well.

Virginia Rush will be one of the featured acts at the Southern Soul Music Festival in East Spencer on Oct. 8 at Royal Giants Park.

Divided by Four, who has been performing a mix of all styles of music for years, will play at the Southern Soul Music Festival in East Spencer on Oct. 8 at Royal Giants Park.

More fun for children

Because it will be held at the park, children can enjoy the playground and face painting.

Maybe the best part of the festival is that it’s free. “You just pay for whatever food you eat or stuff you buy from vendors,” Bailey says.

She’s pleased about the responses the town has been getting from vendors and fans, who have been asking when the festival will return.

The first festival, in 2019, saw more than 700 music fans. “I’m hoping people are ready to come out again. When Covid hit, it stopped everything. Now people are ready to get out.

“I’m hoping we have at least 600 people. You know each band brings their own crowd.”

Divided by Four is a popular band that has played together for many years. They play every style of music, from soul and funk to rock and roll, Motown, dance and blues.

Virginia Rush does soul and gospel music and more.

Ace Party Band was a big hit at Bell Tower Green. They perform blues, jazz, hip hop, R&B, pop and more, with great harmonies. Their covers of familiar songs have that special something that makes you want to move and sing along.


The Ace Party Band will perform their mix of R&B, Soul, Rock, Hip Hop and more at the Southern Soul Music Festival in East Spencer on Oct. 8 at Rowan Giants Park.

It’s back for 2022! The last Southern Soul Music Festival in East Spencer was in 2019. This year, it will be in Royal Giants Park Oct. 8. 

Grassroots grant helped

East Spencer Police and Fire Department are planning the best way for people to park at the festival, and will be there for the entire event, along with an Emergency Medical Services unit.

Bailey would like to remind people that no alcohol is allowed at the festival.

She’s been working on the soul music festival since April or March.

“We were very lucky because we were awarded a grassroots grant from the Rowan Arts Council.” Each year, the council asks for requests for local events that will benefit the community.

“I think it’s very important to a small town,” to have something like the Soul Music Festival. “Everyone is like family; when we have events, it’s more like a family reunion; you get to see people you haven’t seen in a while. And maybe some people, it will be their first time coming out. I love it.”

To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/766997871188673

Other arts events

2022 Carolina Artists EXPO show and sale: The Carolina Artists art show and sale will be Sept. 13-16 at the Salisbury Civic Center, 315 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The public is invited. Hours are 4-8 p.m. Sept. 13; Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 14 and 15, 10 a.m.-8 p.m; and Friday, Sept 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. A reception and award presentation will be held 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. More information is available at http://thecarolinaartists.org/events/

The 2022 Carolina Artists Expo Show and Sale will be Sept. 13-16 at Salisbury Civic Center.

Waterworks Visual Arts Center, 123 E. Liberty St., Salisbury: Art for All, I AM: Identity. Stories. Connections. A juried art show featuring 55 artists and 156 works. Sept. 12-Jan. 27, 2023. For more information and a list of artists, see https://www.waterworks.org/see-upcoming-exhibitions . Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Art for All, I AM: Identity. Stories. Connections. A juried art show featuring 55 artists and 156 works. Sept. 12-Jan. 27, 2023, Waterworks Visual Arts Center. 

Rail Walk Studios and Gallery, 409-413 N. Lee St., Salisbury: Through Oct. 15, “Sunlight,” by artists Sharon Forthofer and Marietta Foster Smith. “Sunlight” features prominently in the works of both Sharon and Marietta though they work in different media. This exhibit will demonstrate the appreciation they both have for how sunlight enhances life and art. See https://www.railwalkstudiosandgallery.com/services-9 . Open to the public Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Lee St theatre, 329 N. Lee St.: “Disney’s Moana Jr.,” Youth Education Series. Sept. 15, SOLD OUT; Sept. 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 17, 2:30 p.m.; Sept. 18, SOLD OUT. Based on the 2016 movie “Moana.” An all-youth production, it tells the heartwarming coming-of-age story follows the strong-willed Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. Moana and the demigod Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery and camaraderie as both learn to harness the power that lies within. Tickets are going fast: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=lee

Piedmont Players: Norvell Theater, 135 E. Fisher St., “The Lion King Jr.,” Sept. 16-17, 23-24, 30, and Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Sept 18, 25, and Oct. 2, 2:30 p.m. The epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar. Tickets: https://piedmontplayers.com/show/the-lion-king-jr/

Catawba College: “The Cake,” Hedrick Little Theatre, Catawba College, 2300 W. Innes St., Sept. 23-24, 30 and Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 25, 2:30 p.m. Tickets: https://catawba.universitytickets.com

Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her native North Carolina.

With the wedding six months away, she heads down South to ask Della, her late mother’s best friend who owns a bakery, to make her wedding cake. Della’s cakes are the best—she’s going to compete on the Great American Baking Show. Della is overjoyed to make Jen’s cake—until she realizes that there isn’t just one bride, but two. She can’t really bake a cake for such a wedding, can she? Moral quandaries, reality TV and loads and loads of butter form this play about three women trying to reach out across a divide that just keeps growing.

  • Fall Choral Concert, Omwake-Dearborn Chapel, Oct. 2, 4 p.m., free.
  • Wind Ensemble Concert, Keppel Auditorium, Oct. 17, 7 p.m.

About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.