Whether you’re a lifelong soul fan or a casual listener on the hunt for your new favorite band, Portland’s Soul’d Out Music Festival has plenty to offer any audience. Founded in 2010, the annual music festival aspires to unite music lovers of all generations and provide a platform for artists often overlooked by the commercial industry.
“Soulful, uplifting music, recreated in the live setting, is one of the most healing and profound means of expression humanity has,” explain the festival’s founders. “This music is the most effective tool of bringing about positive social evolution. We offer this festival as the beginning of a new movement towards realizing music’s inherent healing and transformative qualities, and as a means of applying these qualities directly in our ever-expanding community.”
True to its mission, Soul’d Out never fails to draw a wide variety of musical artists across many genres, including jazz, funk, hip-hop, blues and soul. Past performers have included such noteworthy national acts as Mos Def, Corrine Bailey Rae, Questlove, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Ghostface Killah. Many famous Portland-based musicians, including Pink Martini and Esperanza Spalding, have also played at the fest.
Rather than trying to squeeze all the fun into a single weekend, Soul’d Out performances are spread out over several days each April and take place in venues all over town. Expect soulful shows at Portland favorites like the Wonder Ballroom, McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, Doug Fir Lounge and Mississippi Studios, as well as funk haven Goodfoot Lounge and the 3,000-seat Keller Auditorium.
The sixth annual Soul’d Out (April 13–17, 2016) had world-class headliners like Bonnie Raitt, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark Jr. and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and a total of 28 artists playing in 10 of the city’s best venues.