Fest in bloom
Jessie Reyez isn’t the best-known superstar, and that might be the biggest flaw in the Sol Blume festival’s mostly well-executed second year. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter didn’t headline Saturday’s boutique festival of hip-hop, new-soul and R&B. That honor went to Miguel, the Grammy winner who sang in front of thousands at Cesar Chavez Plaza. Organizers say 6,300-plus people attended this year’s festival, and 72 percent of ticket-buyers came from outside of the Sacramento area.
Still, it felt like everyone came to see Reyez.
“This is the realest I’ve ever been—realest I’ve ever been,” she screamed during the song “Dear Yessie,” with images of President Donald Trump and news clips of his proposed border wall in the backdrop. “Bitch, a minority. They wouldn’t let me in. Bitch, a minority. Vexing your president. If I had a dick, then I might get some preference.”
Reyez’s black shirt simply read “IMPORTED”—calling to her latest single of the same name featuring 6lack. The message carried extra weight during most of her politically charged set.
Sol Blume seems to have found its place in a season inundated with festivals. By remaining small and bringing in 16 artists who’ve made a large enough name for themselves, Sol Blume found a way to avoid comparisons to TBD Fest, the West Sacramento music festival that arguably grew too much and collapsed after its second year.
Other notable acts were rapper J.I.D and singer Ari Lennox, both up-and-comers on J. Cole’s label Dreamville Records. (Lennox filled in for singer Summer Walker, who promoters said had to pull out because of a family emergency.) Tierra Whack and her mostly minute-long high-energy songs fixated the audience—either that, or it was her stage graphic that gave a shout out to Sacramento’s airport for having a “fire ass Starbucks.” Social media sensation Queen Naija, creator of “Trap House Jazz” Masego, and Swedish songstress Snoh Aalegra kept the crowd entertained midway.
Miguel was no slouch onstage either. The moonwalking crooner from Los Angeles capped off the night by performing a mix of songs, including from his first big hit “Adorn” and his current chart-topper “Skywalker.”
The only downside: the short slot times, which meant most artists played nothing beyond their radio hits.
Whether or not Sol Blume’s founders want to expand beyond one day, based on this year, it seems more of a possibility.