Charlie "Uncle Charlie" Wilson, whose vocal phrasing inspired singers from the 1990s New Jack Swing movement, is among the headliners for Groovin In The Park which takes place June 25 at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York.
Wilson is part of a cast that includes former Mad House Records members Wayne Wonder, Cham and Frisco Kid, Tarrus Riley, Minister Marion Hall and British sound system legend, David Rodigan.
It will be the first time in three years that the event will be held. Its CEO, Christopher Roberts, is anticipating a massive comeback.
“We have long known the popularity of the Groovin In The Park brand but the calls we have been getting from fans here in New York and other states and even Jamaica, have been truly phenomenal,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE. “And it is not just patrons that we have been hearing from; many A-list reggae and R&B stars have been calling, asking how they can be a part of the festival this year.”
This year marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Groovin’ which was first held in 2011. It consistently attracts over 25,000 fans, mainly Jamaicans and fellow West Indians from New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia and Toronto, Canada.
It has become a calendar event, with top reggae acts such as Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths and Busy Signal appearing alongside R&B and pop heavyweights like Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton and Babyface.
Wilson, former lead singer of The Gap Band, is this year’s R&B guest act. His smooth sound on that trio’s hit songs like Yearning For Your Love and Outstanding influenced New Jack Swing vocalists like Aaron Hall and Keith Sweat.
In April last year, Wilson traveled to Jamaica where he recorded songs with Hammond and Jamaican musicians.
The 2023 Groovin In The Park also comprises a Four Continent Sound System Showcase featuring Dynamq from Africa and Bass Odyssey, who will represent South and North America.
Roberts said ‘sounds’ representing Asia and Europe will be added.