The last time Prince played a show in Portland was in September of 2004. His appearance was part of his Musicology tour, playing songs from his then recently released album of the same name.
Last week, rumors began to circulate that Prince was coming back to the City of Roses, but details were scant. Ideas of where, when and even how were flowing on social media and around the Internet. Then finally, answers came via a press release issued by the Soul’d Out Music Festival announcing that Prince will be playing not one, but two shows at the Roseland Theater on April 21 as the headliner for this year’s festivities.
So while the “when” and the “where” were finally established, the “why” remained unanswered.
In 2004, Prince sold out the Rose Garden arena which can hold anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 people, depending on configuration, compared to the Roseland which can accommodate around 1,500.
“An artist like Prince sets his own rules,” says Nicholas Harris, one of the Soul’d Out Festival’s founders. He went on to explain that after the 2004 sold-out show at the Rose Garden, Prince played a smaller, more intimate show at the Roseland.
“It’s a club tour, so the point of it is to create a more intimate experience for fans. It’s obviously an underplay for an artist like Prince, but that’s just the kind of musician he is,” says Harris.
“Prince is someone who defines what we’re trying to do with this festival,” adds Harris, referring to Soul’d Out’s commitment to celebrating and promoting a broad diversity of musical styles — from hip-hop and jazz, to R & B, to reggae and rock — and the ability of music to unite people no matter what their background.
Prince’s participation in the Soul’d Out Festival was a welcome surprise for many Northwest music lovers, though the performer is just one of many talented musicians participating in the festival’s diverse lineup.
“Ghostface is the same way,” Harris says of the founding member of the seminal rap collective, the Wu-Tang Clan, who will be opening the festival on April 10. “It’s an underplay for him playing at Mississippi Studios. He could easily sell out a larger venue.”
The Soul’d Out Music Festival takes place April 10-21 at various venues around Portland. Here’s a quick preview of some of the musicians you have the chance to see live, most of them at smaller locations where the experience will be one-of-a-kind.
April 10, Mississippi Studios - With Adrian Younge, Venice Dawn - 8 P.M.
April 12, Dante’s - With Afromassive - 8 P.M. (21+)
April 10, Doug Fir - 9 P.M.
Booker T. Jones & Charlie Hunter
April 14, Dante’s - Wtih Carlton Jackson - 6 P.M. (21+)
To see the entire lineup of musicians and performers, go to the Soul’d Out Music Festival website.