Erykah Badu performs on April 18 at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Soul Satisfied

Take a road trip to see Portland’s genre-blurring Soul’d Out Music Festival

Nicholas Harris tells me that nine years ago, Portland’s Soul’d Out Music Festival was founded because “the Pacific Northwest was painfully lacking in the diversity of its cultural programming.” Since then the festival, owned and produced by Harris, has brought in artists pushing the medium of soul music to its limit. And this year, Soul’d Out Music Festival brings to Portland road trip-worthy acts like Erykah Badu, De La Soul, Bettye LaVette, Wyclef Jean, J.I.D and EarthGang.

“It was our intention to widen the scope of what type of music is celebrated here,” Harris says. Soul music is sometimes hard to define, but Harris says it’s anything resonating deeply with the hearts and minds of an audience. “We strive to present a wide array of legends in their respective genres,” he says, “alongside the next wave of artists that blur the lines between genres and set the tone for what will be next.”


EarthGang and J.I.D perform on April 21 at Wonder Ballroom

Photos by Todd Cooper

Since its founding, Soul’d Out Music Festival has seen steady growth, with audiences traveling from all over the West Coast and beyond. “Last year saw our first ticket sales on the East Coast and internationally,” Harris says. With the 10-year anniversary approaching, Harris says Soul’d Out is looking forward to a blow-out festival next year.

“We have been in talks with other markets in other parts of the country about possible expansion partnerships,” he says. “But for now, our focus remains making this the best festival happening in the Northwest.”


BJ The Chicago Kid performing at Dante's during the 2016 Soul'd Music Festival. Catch him again this year on April 20 at Crystal Ballroom

Photo by Todd Cooper

“The support we have received thus far has been tremendous,” Harris says. “The more the Northwest supports Soul’d Out, the bigger and better we can continue to make it moving forward!”

Soul’d Out Music Festival runs April 18-22 at a variety of venues around Portland. All-access passes are sold out, but tickets for individual shows remain at