(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — R&B/hip hop artist Maya Azucena and New Orleans funk group Khris Royal and Dark Matters headline MCLA’s 8th annual Blues and Funk Festival on Friday, February 1, 2013, and Saturday, February 2, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. in the Venable Gymnasium on the MCLA campus. Also performing in the festival are the local blues outfit Arthur Holmes Band and the award-winning MCLA step team, NEXXUS.
The festival, part of the MCLA Presents! series, will also feature food and drink for sale, as well as opportunities to connect with local organizations and MCLA clubs. A special festival ticket price of $15 will be offered this year. In addition, tickets to the festival will be available through give-away opportunities by the Berkshire Eagle and the North Adams Transcript.
Having just performed to sold-out crowds at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, singer and songwriter Azucena returns to MCLA for the second time, on the first night of the festival. Azcena has been part of multiple collaborations, including a Grammy certificate win for a feature on Stephan Marley’s CD “Mind Control.” Her latest CD, “Cry Love,” made Amazon’s list of “Top Albums You May Have Missed.” Opening for Azucena will be MCLA’s very own step team, NEXXUS, a student group that blends complex beats and synchronized movement.
Khris Royal and Dark Matter will take the stage on Saturday, the final night of the festival. This New Orleans funk band combines high-energy, New Orleans funk with intricate and sophisticated jazz lines. Royal has played with various funk and hip-hop legends such as Bobby Brown, George Poster Jr., Mary J. Blige, Nelly, and The Game.
Arts management students who attended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April saw Royal and his band perform. According to Shannon Costello ’12, “Khris Royal and Dark Matter are awesome performers. You cannot help but dance when they are playing their funky beats. It is great to see such amazing talent all on one stage.”
The Arthur Holmes Blues Band also will join this year’s festival. The locally based blues quartet, from Pittsfield, Mass., includes Holmes on guitar and vocals, John Worth on bass, Gary Smith on Hammond B-3 organ, and Bridget Wnukowski on drums.
Tickets to the Blues and Funk Festival are $15 for a two-night combo pass or $10 for general admission each night. Non-MCLA student tickets are $5 each night. Tickets each night for MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff and faculty, and members and students are free. Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at 413.662.5204.
MCLA Presents! is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), a collaborative project with MASS MoCA and the City of North Adams. The BCRC provides professional development training, resources and support to the artists, art managers and creative workers of Berkshire County. Through its multiple programs and presentations, BCRC brings the best of performance and art to the Berkshires and showcases the best of the Berkshires to the world.