najee.jpgRIVIERA BEACH – Smooth jazz artist Najee, rhythm-and-blues singer Will Downing and hip-hop artist Doug E. Fresh will be among the headliners at the Riviera Beach Music Festival this weekend.

It’s a new era for the festival. The former Jazz and Blues celebration has moved up to a wider range of music and a new set of artists, including a couple of homegrown favorites.

“It’s going to be a cornucopia of music,” said festival director and Assistant City Manager Gloria Shuttlesworth.

Najee will perform Friday, April 11 along with various other musicians, including Maysa from Incognito and Jeff Lorber.

“We’re going to change it up a bit,” Najee said in a phone interview with the South Florida Times. “Bringing all these special guests, it should be a great night and a very well-rounded, special evening.”

In previous music festivals, many of the featured artists were typical old-school performers, but Shuttlesworth said the festival is reaching a wider demographic with performances on Saturday, April 12 by Doug. E. Fresh and Amel Larrieux, who brings her own blend of soul, hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues.

Rhythm-and-blues singer Teena Marie, who performed with the late Rick James, is also scheduled to perform on Saturday.

West Palm Beach resident Terrion Nelson joins the group of gospel singers that includes Vickie Winans and Fred Hammond on Sunday, April 13.

Locals will have a chance to show their own ability in the pure gospel inspiration competition that will decide who opens the show in Sunday’s gospel celebration.

Downing will receive a special salute and tribute at the festival.

“Any time you’re in a concert you want to give the best of what you do,” Downing said in a phone interview with the South Florida Times. “Just the fact of being there, performing with my contemporaries, you always want to give your audience 110 percent.”

Shuttlesworth said this was the first year various members from the private sector and the community were brought together for a festival advisory committee that began meeting last July. 

The festival also hired a production company called PinDrop Management to help coordinate and make this the biggest year yet for the eight-year-old festival.

“In the past the music was more than jazz and blues. We had gospel at one point. We had rock, so the city council finally just decided, ‘Let’s just call it a music festival,’” Shuttlesworth said.

This year, proceeds from ticket sales will go to scholarships for students who are pursuing music in continuing education classes. 

The festival is also dedicating a portion of the proceeds to a school for band instruments, and will have a special early concert to raise funds for the sea turtle conservation league of Singer Island, and the Riviera Beach young music education scholarship.

Shuttlesworth said the ultimate goal is not only to continue the festival, but also to “get it off the city” by transitioning it to become a private, non-profit organization.

“It would still be a city festival, but it would be headed up by the advisory chair committee,” she said.

Photo: Najee



Riviera Beach Music Festival


Friday, April 11   
Gates open at 4 p.m., show starts at 5 p.m.

Will Downing
Michael Franks
Jeff Lorber
Maysa of Incognito

Saturday, April 12
Gates open at noon, show starts at 3 p.m.

Teena Marie
Musiq Soulchild
Freddie McGregor
Amel Larrieux
Doug E. Fresh

Sunday, April 13     
Gates open at noon, show starts at 3 p.m.

Fred Hammond
Vickie Winans
Crystal Aiken
Terrion Nelson

Riviera Beach
Municipal Beach
2511 N Ocean Blvd
Singer Island, Fl.  33404

$40 at the gate; $63 for a three-day pass

561-845-4018 or 877-322-4845. For more information log on to