Preview: South End Soul

Here's an advance look at a creative festival taking place in South End June 18-19

South End is a breeding ground for creative, entrepreneurial artisans, and, for years, its annual Art & Soul festival was adequate to honor that tradition, with its charming sidewalk sale and open studios.

But the South End has matured from its Art & Soul era. Now, it lays claim a host of bars, lounges, and high-end restaurants, as well as a reputation for drawing the kind of crowd that likes to bring creativity outside the walls of refurbished studios. With that in mind, Charlotte Center City Partners figured it was about time this neighborhood got a new-and-improved festival. South End Soul, set to take place June 18-19, will, yes, celebrate the area’s gallery and studio cornerstones, but also the dining, shopping, and brains that have redefined this eclectic neighborhood.

There is still a sidewalk sale on Friday afternoon (they are sort of the backbone of summer festivals), but at 7:30 p.m., shake the shopping and focus: the Creativity in 4 Acts session at Dharma Lounge will bring together speaker Rebecca Ryan, of Next Generation Consulting, brand designer Robert Hawse, architect Harry Schrader, and contemporary sculptor Shaun Cassidy for demonstrations and lectures. Afterward, to toast South End’s innovative spirit (and to soothe your heavily exerted brain), there’s a pub crawl, which will shuttle you from Dharma cocktails to Gin Mill drafts, with stops in between.

Saturday morning’s highlight is a special a.m. edition of the South End Gallery Crawl. Neighborhood restaurants are featuring lunch specials that day, and in the afternoon you can check out all the new condos and apartments on the Live in South End open house tour.

But, of course, the barometer of a festival’s success comes down to one quintessential point: food. That’s why the culminating event of South End Soul is Savor South End, where, starting at 6 p.m. at the corner of Camden Road and South Tryon Street, a $50 ticket (available for purchase at gets you entry to a night of all-you-can-eat, outdoor indulgence. A 6 p.m. cocktail party precedes family-style dining with South End favorites like Sullivan’s, Pewter Rose, and The Liberty. Beverages and loaded plates can be enjoyed while mingling outdoors with old and new friends.

For more information, call 704-332-2227 or check out

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