N2N Festival | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN
N2N Festival pays homage to the Queen of Soul with Kathy Sledge, Kindred, Monica and more
Baltimore Avenue’s first Neighborhood to Neighborhood Festival happened 23 years ago, and though it’s been on and off over the years, it came back to the bustling intersection in a big way in 2016. Since then, N2N has hosted performances from Music Soulchild, Common, and Robin Thicke; last year’s festival served as a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and the Time as well as Sheila E.
This year, the N2N Festival decide to honor the late Aretha Franklin, who passed away on August 16th. In order to appropriately pay homage to the powerhouse soul singer, the N2N team curated a show with some of the best vocal talent in R&B, includingPhiladelphia natives Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and Kindred the Family Soul, as well as Jean Carne, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, and Monica.
In addition to highly acclaimed acts, the N2N festival also had dozens of vendors, community health resources, and child attractions for community members to take part in.
The first performer to take to the stage was Kathy Sledge. Her set, although short was well loved by the crowd. The audience cheered when she invited people on stage with her to perform her and her sisters’ hit song, “We Are Family”.
Following the lone Sledge sister was Jean Carne. Draped in an elaborate asymmetrical African-print shirt, the Philadelphia International artist performed hit songs like “Don’t Let it Go to Your Head” and “Closer than Close”.
Next to the Stage was the powerhouse vocalist Kelly Price. The nine-time Grammy-nominated R&B, soul, and gospel singer belted out the lyrics to songs like “As We Lay”. The crowd responded with love to her passionate and heartfelt singing.
As if Price did not give her all to the West Philly audience, another vocal virtuoso by the name of Keke Price was next to step to the stage. The 36-year-old songstress throughout her performance had a playful energy that included twerking, and calling people in the crowd “so cute” multiple times. As an ode to Aretha, Wyatt sung Franklin’s rendition of the gospel classic “Amazing Grace.”
The evening was capped off with a performance from the Grammy Award winning singer Monica. The Georgia singer performed classic tracks including “Angel of Mine” and “Don’t Take it Personal”. As a tribute, Monica also sang, Franklin’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” before closing out her performance.
In addition to highly acclaimed acts, the N2N festival also had dozens of vendors, community health resources, and child attractions for community members to take part in. Check out photos from the day of events below.