The smell of cooking catfish, shrimp and Cajun fries filled the air last weekend, as people from around Omaha shuffled their way into Lewis and Clark Landing for the annual “Rhythm, Blues, and Arts” Fest.

 Food trucks and art vendors lined the south side of the landing, while the colorful stage stood tall on the north end. A gate in the middle of the landing separated the $99 VIP section from the $36 general admission space. When asked which performer they were most excited to see, two patrons, Christina and Deashawn, both said “Keith Sweat.”

 Keith Sweat is famous for his hits, “Make it Last Forever,” “Twisted” and “I Want Her.” Other performers at the festival included, Miche’le, EU, Wendell B, Charlotte Fletcher and Enjoli & Timeless. In addition to musical artists, several media artists, local businesses and special interests’ groups occupied booths at the festival. Painter Ricky Powell Jr. sold his original paintings of pop culture icons such as Michael Jackson, Wonder Woman and Bob Marley. 

When asked about his art, he said, “If you can dream it, I can paint it.” 

A canvas painting of a black man embracing a black woman with the words “Black Love” painted above them, adorned the front of his booth. 

Also tabling at the festival was Nayjo Womens Shoes and Accessories, the campaign group “Keep the Money in Nebraska” and a non-profit group called Omaha United for Youth. 

Local restaurant Soco Café brought a food truck to the festival. The truck sold exclusively catfish, shrimp and Cajun fries for the event. 

As the stage crew finished up sound checks, a river ferry passed by on the landing, inciting excited whoops and hollers from the crowd at the festival.  A crowd consisting of people of all colors and backgrounds, all united by a love for rhythm and blues. Around 5:30 p.m., saxophonist Matt Hackett took the stage and welcomed all to the “Rhythm, Blues, and Arts” festival. The sweet sounds of his saxophone filled the landing, and a night of music and togetherness began for the Omaha community.

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