Pepsi Funk Fest 2016
Dr. Hyacynthia M. Leonce, Entertainment Reporter
Mystikal, Teddy Riley and Bern Nadette Stans, AKA Thelma Evans from Good Times.
Photos by Eclair Bennett
Pepsi Funk Fest 2016 ran by Variety Entertainment, held on Dec. 9 -10 in Miramar, Fla, was a smash! The line-up was terrific! Per the Orlando press release the Funk Fest has been in operation for over 20 years. Funk Fest began in Mobile, Ala. and has since grown to include several cities in the southeast and has attracted over 100,000 attendees on a yearly basis. The Funk Fest has attracted musical talents from all over the world. This year’s host was Uncle Luke. The Dec. 9 line up included H Town, SWV, Dru Hill, Trick Daddy and Jodeci. The Dec. 10 line-up included Mystikal, Teddy Riley and Guy, Bell, Biv, Divoe, and TLC.
I got to experience the fun on Dec. 10, Saturday night. Be-fore the headliners came on there were several local artist and Bre-Z, Calesha Murray, AKA Freda Gadson from the TV show Empire. My Show! She brought down the house, or should I say the park. That girl can spit some lyrics, things I’m not used to hearing as an adult. She did sing her Empire hit Boom, Boom, Boom, Broom. She was something. I wanted to meet her but was told she had already done interviews the night before. I was disappointed. I was able to meet Mystikalcol and down to earth, before he went on stage. I asked how he got his name Mystikal and he stated that his real name is “Mike” and his friend gave him the name “Mystikal Mike,” and after a while he just kept Mystikal. When asked what he is doing now, he said “just working.” Mystikal did not disappoint his fans,. His song “Danger” was still able to get people up and dancing.
The rest of the line-up ran a little later than usual. Therefore, I was not able to obtain any other interviews. After Mystikal, Teddy Riley and Guy came on, later BBD, and lastly TLC. These super stars did not disappoint their fans – you could see people up and dancing all over the park.
Someone I did get to meet and found it strange to find her in the park was Bern Nadette Stans, AKA Thelma Evans from Good Times. Thelma still looked good! Thelma had a booth and was soliciting donations for her foundation “Remembering the “Good Times.” She offered pictures of her “Good Times” family for a donation of $30, $20 etc. If you wanted a picture of her or with her you were to give a donation of any amount. Her foundation brings awareness of the Alzheimer’s disease and brings honor to her mother who was stricken with the disease. She stated that her mother died on Oct. 6, 2011.
Back to the show, well sometime around 8, 8:30 p.m. the weather took a turn for the worse and it started raining. Fans were prepared and had on their ponchos and umbrella. The music was stopped for a short while until the heavy rain stopped and then it was restarted again. The fans didn’t seem to mind as they were prepared.
Fans like Lisa Curry, who appeared to not sit down the whole show, stated “I love it… the music ,the crowd, they have it together!” She stated that it is her second Funk Fest and she came all the way from West Palm Beach along with her friend who came from Port St. Lucie. She had no complaints. Another participant, Debbie J., said “very nice, old school, you don’t get to see these artists very often so I’m glad I got the chance.”
Due to a connection, I got a chance to experience the Sam’s Club tent and the Pepsi tent. They both were sponsors of this event. Under the tent were drinks, food, and some of the hard drinks were free under the Pepsi tent. Wow!!! That’s a way to party! That’s how I want to experience every con-cert, that was cool! I got a chance to speak with Joy Dawkins, Membership Manager, of Sam’s Club. She stated that she has worked for Sam’s for 19 years when asked what she thought about the show she said “I love it.” When asked why Sam’s got involved in this event she stated that they “want to give back to the community, and to recognize members in the community that give back to the community.” Sam’s appeared to be doing a good job taking care of it’s participants under the tent.
Overall the concert went well and fans did not seem disappointed.