SUA Launches the Inaugural Soka Arts, Music & Food Festival

March 29, 2023
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Soka Arts, Music & Food Festival showcasing headshots of performing artists Gaby Moreno, Neil Frances, Biianco, Jazzy Ash, and the Nandos

The Soka Arts, Music & Food Festival will open a new chapter in SUA’s connection with the community. The festival, open to everyone, will feature musical performances from contemporary artists, delicious food and drink, and family activities from balloon animals to inflatable slides. The free, day-long event on May 6 also marks the anniversary of SUA’s dedication.

“This will be an event that brings together our campus and local communities to celebrate our founding and mark the anniversary of SUA’s dedication, showcase the beauty of our location, and reestablish SUA as a vital gathering space,” SUA President Edward Feasel said.

Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Gaby Moreno, a native of Guatemala who now lives in Los Angeles, will headline an exciting, multicultural lineup of artists performing at the festival, which includes the sounds of Latin America, New Orleans jazz, pop and dance music, and contemporary hits. Moreno has released five albums and earned a 2017 Grammy nomination for her album “Illusion.” She received an Emmy nomination for co-writing the “Parks & Recreation” theme song, and won a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2013. In 2006, Moreno was awarded the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and is now one of the contest’s judges. She also sings the theme song and is the voice of Marlena on the award-winning children’s television series, “Elena of Avalor,” which features Disney’s first Latina princess.

Rounding out the day’s lineup are alternative pop duo Neil Frances, a music festival favorite that recently completed a string of sold-out shows on the West Coast; classically trained pianist, queer-femme producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Biianco; Jazzy Ash, vocalist, writer, arts educator, and founder of Leaping Lizards Music, a music and theater education program for students; and the Nandos, who will perform both new original music and recognizable top 40 hits from many genres and eras.

Festival-goers will have plenty of choices of what to eat and drink while enjoying the music. A variety of food trucks will showcase foods from different international cuisines, and a selection of local and international brews and vintages will be available in a 5,000-square-foot beer and wine garden.

The festival will build on the incredible success of the International Festival. That festival was paused during the pandemic after being held for the first 18 years after the founding of the Aliso Viejo campus in 2001. SUA has now reimagined the celebration to showcase the arts and better serve SUA and its wider community.

Find complete details on the festival’s website.