OC Funk Fest
There’s a reason why the classic sounds of old school funk will never go out of style. Aside from compelling our bodies to move to the infectious grooves many of us grew up on, it transports us back to a time and place when music was at its best. For its third year in a row, OC Funk Fest reminded us that when it comes to appreciating the music that helped shaped west coast culture in the ’70s and ’80s, local funk fans are always down for a party from beginning to end. With the show being sold out and the venue and artists being bigger and better than last year, OC Funk Fest continued its evolution while celebrating the past. Guests who arrived when doors opened to the pre-party and left the venue till the last performance were boogieing non stop for eleven hours—talk about living for the funk!
Fans could hear the loud music as they walked toward the Pacific Amphitheater from the parking lot. Sounds from The Gap X Band started off the day playing hits like “You Dropped a Bomb On Me” and “Outstanding”. Then Stone City Band took the stage playing hits that they used to play alongside Rick James like “Give It To Me Baby” and “Mary Jane”. The stage had an open floor so the people came in waves to dance as the bands performed. The stage was set up in the middle of clothing vendors, music vendors, alcohol stands and food trucks, so no matter what line you were standing in the music was never too far.
A genre far from funk opened up the OC Funk Fest– A seven man mariachi band dressed up as Charros. They came equipped with instruments like a guitarrón, a guitar, trumpets and violins. After the mariachi performance O’Bryan came out singing “Soul train’s a commin’ ” to kickoff the event and get the crowd in a funky mood. It didn’t take much to see that the show was sold out. Despite it being a full house, the beer and restroom lines were never too long. The crowd was packed with different races and residents of various cities. At one point the Host MC Pancho called a seat number over the house PA and said “I heard you have something to ask?” A man in a fairly close seat got down on one knee and proposed to his now bride to be. During another intermission Pancho pointed out that a family from Canada flew down just for the event. It seemed like many of the people who came out to the OC Funk Fest came from outside of OC—Riverside, Chino, even a few funk heads from Arizona.
Curious Entertainment brought out a special guest mid-show—funk legend Tom Browne—who was introduced by Slapback and not only sang but rocked out on his trumpet. Throughout the concert while artists got ready backstage to perform, DJ Omargod held down the stage by spinning records going back and forth from Funk to Oldies, the crowd loved it. By the end of the night everyone was standing up by their seats or in the isles next to the stairs boogieing, drinking, socializing and singing along to the live bands and singers who were just as lively in stage performances as they were years back.
Evelyn “Champagne” King told the crowd she was 56 years-old, but she left the fans with doubts as she dropped it low and swung around in heels just as she did when she started her career. The artists all stuck around to enjoy performances and support their friends. The backstage was a reunion many of the artists reminisced on old memories and took pictures together. The night ended off with a performance from Zapp. The group went all out changing costumes throughout their set. Some of their costumes consisted of fur and zebra print, all white tuxedos, LED lights on their outfits and custom Zapp jerseys. They danced and flipped around throughout the stage even going out to sing and perform within the crowd twice. They finished off the 2017 OC Funk Fest with “More Bounce To The Ounce”.
The after party at Original Mikes was so full some guests had to wait over an hour to get inside the venue and many were denied entry once the place reached full capacity. If you didn’t get to party at this Curious Entertainment event you can always check out another of their smaller yet still as entertaining shows that they put together throughout the year. “2018 OC Funk Fest is already in the works so don’t sleep on it,” says George Sanchez the founder of Curious Entertainment.