Nicetown festival gives back with music and fun

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Performers at the 2009 "Give Back" festival excite a crowd.

It's called the Give Back, and for eight years, this community festival has showcased great music and some of the activities and development taking place in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia, said Majeedah Rashid, executive director of Nicetown Community Development Corp., which hosts the event.

"When we first conceptualized the festival, we were interested in getting people in the community to find ways to give back, small, large, whatever," said Rashid. "We thought we would put together something that would celebrate some of the things were doing in Nicetown as well as engage and mobilize people."

On Friday and Saturday, August 6 and 7, the free festival, officially named the 8th Annual Nicetown Community Give Back Festival will feature performances by R&B artist Miki Howard, jazz and soul chanteuse Jean Carne, jazz artist Elliot Levin, neo-soul singer Melvin C. McKnight aka "Blaqmel", hip-hop artists and others at Nicetown Park at 4301 Germantown Avenue. Last year, the festival attracted about 8,000 people, Rashid said.

"This is about a lot more than just music," said Rashid. "We always say this is more than a party."

In addition to the live music, food and other offerings, the festival will feature socially conscious efforts including a Peace Walk through the neighborhood and 10 college scholarships named for Zakee Z. Abdur Rahman, a young man from the community who was shot to death last year. Rashid said the community development corp. is partnering with Comcast and other corporate and community sponsors for the festival.

"It's about giving back, and we really ask people to give of themselves volunteering, helping to set things up, clean things up and just getting the word out," Rashid said.

For more information call 215-329-1824 or go to