Approximately 500 people expected to attend
Members of the Arkadelphia Multicultural Community Entertainment Group (AMCEG) have worked diligently to offer a new event to compliment a full slate of events already planned for the first weekend in August.
Summer Soulfest 2017 will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arkadelphia Recreation Center, 2555 Twin Rivers Drive in Arkadelphia. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
The event will feature “The Ultimate Souther Soul Entertainer” Bigg Robb. The On Call Band, local music, a fashion show and other talent will also be featured.
“It has been a vision for me to do something that weekend to give the home comers as well as those who are here and in the area something to do,” said Kasey Summerville, member of the AMCEG.
For more than 100 years, the Arkadelphia community has hosted an unofficial town reunion on the first weekend of August. That weekend has been enjoyed by thousands as a traditional homecoming for former residents of Arkadelphia and Clark County.
According to Summerville, the AMCEG is not affiliated with or in competition with the annual event hosted by the Masonic lodge in Gum Springs.
“We are only trying to add to what is already going on that weekend. We were strategic in our time slot,” said Summerville.
In addition to the Masonic picnic, Peake alumni have traditionally hosted their school reunion during the first weekend in August.
Summerville noted that Peake alumni agreed last year to hold their alumni banquet every other year as opposed to every year.
“That gave us an opportunity to have a time slot that wasn’t conflicting with anyone; which is the goal,” Summerville said.
According to Summerville, the Summer Soulfest will not only provide additional entertainment in the city of Arkadelphia, but will also allow an opportunity to attract additional visitors to the community.
“We’ve seen that already in our ticket sales because they are reaching beyond Arkadelphia,” said Summerville.
Approximately 500 patrons from Arkadelphia, Malvern, Hot Springs, Camden, Russellville, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Jacksonville are expected to attend the event.
According to Summerville, the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Caddo Valley Advertisement and Promotion Commission are the lead sponsors for this event.
“One of the things that I’ve seen is that those numbers are decreasing for the people that come home. We think one of the reasons is because of the lack of something to do. We want to keep them coming. We are trying to do something that we think will excite the people here,” Summerville said.
According to Summerville, VIP tickets for the event sold out in 15 minutes.
“People are excited. We have almost sold out the event,” said Summerville.
In order to support the event, Summerville said the AMCEG partnered with the Clark County Strategic Plan. By doing so, donations will be tax deductible. Additional sponsor support is welcomed to ensure the success of this valuable event.
“Some people who are familiar with the (first) weekend (in August) and what all it attributes to the community and the local economy are more apt to listen to a fundraising appeal,” Summerville said.
Because Summerville’s grandmother lived in Gum Springs, she remembers the second of August weekend as a huge time for her and her family.
“The concept of it all and the remembrance to the people that are my age, we know how big it used to be,” said Summerville.
Again, Summerville hopes the Summer Soulfest event will compliment the Masonic and school events planned for the weekend.
In planning the event, Summerville conveyed her vision to Arkadelphia native Clay Todd, who has played in a band for more than 30 years and has detailed experience with events. From there, individuals were sought to assist Summerville and Todd in comprising the AMCEG. Members of the AMCEG are Reo Cummings, Ashlee Dixon, Roland Gosey, Camille Hart and Cora Jones. Dr. Fitz Hill and Dr. Patricia Wright are both honorary chairs of the committee.
Summerville noted the experience of Patricia Scott, who has coordinated multiple large events in Atlanta.
Based on the initial response, Summerville hopes to continue the event in the future. After expenses, Summerville said the remaining funds will go back into the local community to help solve the needs of the area.
As of Monday morning, there were approximately 50 general admission tickets remaining. General admission for the event is $20 each. Patrons must be 21 years old or older to enter.
For more information, including remaining sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets, please contact Summerville at (870) 403-6187, Cora Jones at (501) 693-4032 or Sharron Hearn (870) 260-4182.
Additional information can also be obtained on the group’s Facebook page: Arkadelphia Multicultural Entertainment Group.