CONCORD — The Vegan Vibe Music Series is back in Concord for the second year in a row and it is bigger than ever.
When siblings Latise and Morathi Howie came up with the idea for the Vegan Vibe Music Series, they hoped to mix local vegan food providers and musicians for a 6-wwek long series. Cabarrus Brewing Co. offered to host the series. But when the pandemic hit months before the series’ opening day, they had to rethink the event. So they turned it into the Vegan Vibe Market with local vendors and a DJ for themed music. But this year, the music series will host more vendors, live music and a few more events, now that restrictions are lifted.
And this year, they have some new help. Clinton Douglas, chief development officer, and Ursula Douglas, chief wellness officer, have been vegan for about eight years and have joined the Howie siblings on the Vegan Vibe Music Series board.
But some things have stayed the same. Cabarrus Brewing Co. will host again. Last year, the vegan market was such a hit, that the Howie siblings helped the brewery come up with vegan options for the menu.
The series will feature six different genres of music with a new genre each Sunday. This year there will be about three to four acts per weekend and the first genre is jazz.
One of the artists that will perform during the soulful blues weekend will be Ann Devae Steele, who grew up in Concord and is a hit in the blues circuit.
Morathi and Latise wanted to make sure that local artists, whether the grew up or live here currently, are featured at the series.
“We want to be able to bring a spotlight to those artists out here that have an amazing sound,” Latise said. “We want to be able to showcase them.”
One of the other things they want to showcase is the vegan food options in the area. This year there will be about 12-15 food trucks and several other food vendors, which is at least double the number from last year.
And another addition this year is a pet area. Adrian Archie, a childhood friend of the Howies and founder of PetNmind, will be hosting a pet play area at the series. He will also be selling his organic pet food at the series.
While Archie was a pro Canadian football player previously, the Howie siblings said they remember how much he loved animals as a kid, always keeping reptiles or dogs when he wasn’t at high school football practice.
Abd since the series is held outdoors, it seemed natural to include a pet area.
“The event is family friendly and we know people’s pets are part of the family,” Latise said. “We wanted to add something this year too that focused on their fur babies.”
And for those with kids, the first and last Sundays of the music series will have a kid play area sponsored by 1,2,3 JUMP Inc.
“It will be completely for kids to keep them active and introduce them to healthy options that taste good,” Latise said.
This year will also feature a sip’n’paint where attendees can learn to paint and learn vegan recipes from a chef. The class will be held in the u[stairs area at the brewery. Since activities can be held indoors, the Howie siblings wanted to expand the series’ events.
“This year we wanted to take it up a notch to make it fun and to utilize the wines there,” Latise said.
With the series is finally coming in full force, the siblings wanted to get as much local artist and vendors in the series.
“When we first started, it was important for us to circulate money in communities that don’t get the opportunity to do that on a regular basis,” Morathi said. “We are entrepreneurs at heart. It can be expensive to do and those opportunities are few and far between. It is important for us to give back because it is all we have ever seen.”
Growing up, the siblings saw their community come together to take care of each other like younger folk giving rides to the elders on voting day. And their mother Jean E. Caldwell was known for treating every child as her own. That giving spirit inspired the siblings to make the music series a place to support local entrepreneurs.
“It was very important to us to be able to emulate who our mother is, take that love for the community to that next level,” Morathi said. “It is such an honor for us because we grew up in this area and we want to give back and be a part of that growth in a positively impactful way to have our hometown friends and to see how well they are doing. It is our responsibility to make sure we are giving back to the community we are making sure those dollars are circulating back into the community.”
The Vegan Vibe Music Series will be open: June 13, June 20, June 27, July 11, July 18 and July 25
The series will feature food vendors and trucks from:
Romeo’s Vegan Burgers
Holy Moly Burgers,
The Vegan Spot
CLT Grits Food Truck
Juamoto’s Sun Fired Cuisine
Sun Burger Vegan Cuisine
Sweet IMALDA’S Vegan Bakery
Tasty Stuff Soul Good
Ve Go Vegan Food Truck
Lotus Land Eatz
Dawg On Vegans
Chef Joya “ Cooking with Chef Joya
Some of those that helped put on the music series are:
Iname Apparel, vendor
Krissy Williamson, entertainment
Renae Thompson, social media
Jahlisa Misenheimer, Director of Technology
Jaycee Fly Poet, MC
Latoya Black, sponsor
Extended Stay America, corporate sponsor
Tabitha Brown, national vegan personality