Smitty: Oh, absolutely, yeah.
MS: We’ve gone from that sketch pad, we have really narrowed it down to people that haven’t played in Las Vegas for a while, and Pieces of a Dream have not played. They will also be appearing that Saturday evening, April 26th.
Smitty: Nice, yeah, I was really excited when I saw that. Man, this is gonna be a great show this year.
MS: Yeah. Also rounding it out is someone that hasn’t played the festival ever and that’s Bobby Caldwell. That’s just too cool of an act to pass up. Bobby has got a style to him that really is unique and his musicians behind him are stellar. Also playing, of course, is hot sax man Steve Cole, who’s got a great Chicago sound, and West Coast pop guitarist Nils. So altogether, from one o’clock til 10 p.m., it’s gonna be a jazz event that absolutely will stir your soul, stir your emotions, make you glad you came.
Smitty: Yes, that’s a lot of great music.
MS: And, of course, Sunday is our Stone Soul R&B Picnic, where we just double back at 2 p.m. in the afternoon and we keep the party going. We give people enough time to get some sleep. We start the show at 2 p.m. and it ends at 8 p.m. And this year’s R&B Stone Soul Picnic is really handcrafted with musicians as well, and we’re gonna start the day off with an eighties pop sensation Tony, Toni, Tone. These guys made a lotta wonderful hits, a lotta great hits, and this is not a show that’s gonna work its way up slowly. It’s just gonna kick out the jams right from the beginning. After Tony, Toni, Tone we were fortunate enough to hook up with East Bay Soul.
Smitty: My boy Greg Adams, yeah.
MS: Yeah. East Bay Soul is the hot new thing on the circuit and we feel really honored to have Greg Adams, Lenny Williams, former singer of Tower of Power for all those big hits, and of course my man Tom Scott as the principals of East Bay Soul. That’s going to be a smoker.
Smitty: That is. That’s gonna be the bomb. Wow!
MS: Then from there we’re gonna go to the reunited Rufus. Rufus has been lying fallow for a number of years. This was the Rufus that spring boarded Chaka Khan. These guys are reunited and they are without a doubt going to give you the same kind of continued feeling that you’ve gotten since two o’clock. They’re just gonna keep the party rolling. Rufus has got hit after hit after hit after hit. We close the show with a Minneapolis sound, okay?
Smitty: That’s blood pumpin’ stuff.
MS: We’ve got Morris Day & the Time and, I mean, they know how to bring it to you. They know exactly how to keep the party going. I’m not sure if we can get rid of the crowd at eight o’clock. (Both laugh.) But Morris has promised me personally that he’s gonna bring the pain.
Smitty: He’s gonna bring…ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I love it, man. That’s what I’m talking about. Oh yeah. Well, we’re ready for that pain, my friend.
MS: Oh, that’s terrific.
Smitty: You know, I love that attitude. That’s well put. Well, now, last year tickets sold out pretty quick, I remember.
MS: There actually was a very strong sale and we are, I think, right now somewhere just, I think, 18% ahead of last year.
MS: And considering the question as to economics out there, we think we’re in a very good place. And that perhaps this brings us to our campaign, and we have a very definite campaign going with the 16th Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival. It is quite amply put: “You deserve to be there.”
Smitty: Yes, I totally get it.
MS: Okay, so our campaign of “You deserve to be there” says it all because, quite frankly, we live in a day and a time where life can get pretty strenuous, not every day, but we all have to work hard to keep our head above water, and as adults I’m not sure we all reward ourselves properly.
Smitty: I like that, yeah.
MS: And with that said, “You deserve to be there” says it all.
Smitty: It certainly is my time to reward myself, as I every year look forward to your seriously cool experience that you so aptly just descibed.
MS: It’s your vacation, it’s your 24-hour mad hatter in nonstop Las Vegas. So we hope that everyone will feel the same way and figure out they do deserve a little break in life and a vacation and come over and really be a part of what has been dubbed the West Coast’s greatest jazz and R&B party.
Smitty: Yeah, man.
MS: This event really has turned into a multi-layered event for myself and the City of Las Vegas. In short, this is an event that has a synergy and a reaction that has created an annual hookup of families who come in to join up with other parts of their families, you know, to see what’s going on.
Smitty: Yeah, nice.
MS: Every year.
Smitty: I like that.
MS: Okay, we’re hooking up in Vegas. We’re gonna see what’s going on.
MS: You know, we’re gonna go to the festival, we’re gonna reunite, we’re gonna lay out the picnic, and we’re gonna have a good two days reuniting. So even if you don’t have family coming there, you’re gonna meet somebody that’s special, you’re gonna meet people that are lively, and all kinds of ages, age 35 through 65, all of which are just totally in the groove and there for a good time.
Smitty: Yeah, I like that and that is so true, Michael. The atmosphere there is just magnificent. Everyone’s there to have a great time and everyone’s in the groove. I mean, it’s amazing, the atmosphere there. I really love that gig. I get up for that every year.
MS: You know why? Just for those that haven’t attended the festival, it is not a tremendously large park so that the energy factor spills over, you know, tens of feet away from you. There’s a bond that connects everybody because people are sitting close and they’re closer to the stage than perhaps other festivals.