funk music

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Purple Rain Reunion Tour?

Posted by funkatop On December - 17 - 2014 19 COMMENTS
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Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain reunion tour?Prince has apparently gone into hiding, which has started some crazy rumors and speculation.

The craziest one that we heard was from a trusted source who is normally on the money, but we’re thinking that this may truly be some serious wishful thinking. Stay with me…a Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain Reunion tour.

Yes, you heard right. We heard some totally unfounded and crazy  rumors that Prince was pulling together the old members of the Revolution in order to do a full blown Purple Rain reunion tour that will do Purple Rain in its entirety along the lines of what Stevie Wonder just did with his Songs In The Key Of Life tour where he plays the full album and then a handful of hits at the end.

This obviously would be “the” ticket if it were to ever happen, but we’re going to say this just isn’t happening. But the silence does make us wonder and Bobby Z having the floral decoration from the Purple Rain album cover does spark some head scratching. Could it be? That would be cray cray.

First off, if it is true, the former members (Wendy & Lisa, Bobby Z, Dez Dickerson, and Doctor Fink) are staying super quiet about it although none have divulged their location in their tweets or posts in the past month and all have also stayed suspiciously quiet compared to their normal chatter (except Dr. Fink who simply doesn’t care to tweet at all anyway).

And of course there is the passing of the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain reissue that was spoken about. Could it be that Prince had Warner Brothers hold off until the tour launched to help spark album sales?  Did he pull social media to avoid the potential leak of his plans?  Then of course, there is the dreaded…..silence….

How psyched would you be? How much would you pay to go? Do you have more fuel to add to this rumor fire? ADD IT!

Editors note (Mr. Christopher): I just don’t see this. This seems like way too big of a secret to be able to keep quiet, but I’m down. Putting aside the pennies and dimes now. If it did happen, it would be the biggest tour in the history of the world. But Dez was in the Modernaires at this point also, so not sure why he’s in the mix. Speculation.

Editor’s Update: A couple other sources came forward and indicated that this was not happening. Then another source said that they were told to say that. Considering that Prince rarely goes “back”, we’re going to file this under not true.  There would be no doubt that it would be the most amazing show ever in the history of the planet, but it would be great if Prince gave us a call to let us know what e’s up to.  We all would like to know. For now, this is the best false hope of the year.

Prince Cancels Social Media, Again

Posted by funkatop On November - 25 - 2014 7 COMMENTS
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Princ cancels social mediaTo the ultimate chagrin of Prince fans everywhere, Prince has once again pulled up his stakes from all of his social media sites. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all of the Youtube videos all gone and many are simply wondering why.  So speculate we will with the assistance of an insider source that thinks that he may have a very good idea.

Many were beginning to be excited that Prince was finally letting up on the reigns of his empire and letting people see the videos, hear snippets of new unreleased material, display new photos, and showcase concert clips.  But with public display comes public criticism. The very crux and dark circumstances that signed the death certificate of the famed NPG Music Club.

A source close says that once the negativity starts outweighing the usefulness of the medium, it simply goes away. The onslaught of silly negative comments from flamers that start ridiculous arguments and dissension among the loyal fans is the typical reason for the disappearance. “Prince is all about positivity and when that goes away, so does he, so if I had to guess why he made this decision, I would first start there.”, the insider shared.

And those comments were growing like weeds on all of the social media sources. An unfounded silly “This sucks” statement that would set up a slew of attacks and unnecessary activity that muddied up the purpose of the medium. Actions that are eerily similar to the NPGMC fiasco.

And the plan wasn’t too well executed since even the websites on ArtOfficialAge.com and 3rdEyeGirl.com still point to all of those social networks, which of course all lead to dead ends. The sloppiness of the site dumps suggests that the decision was a hasty one and that’s not typically the norm for Paisley Park plans although Prince has never fully embraced the internet in the first place and he certainly was not going to be a slave to it.

The fans are getting antsy because the last time his Purple Highness yanked his social media accounts, the silence was deafening and very long.  So for now, us purple-blooded fanatics will have to just wait. While we’re already a tad freaked out, the flush of his 2 new albums is beginning to wane and the flood of appearances such as the SNL performance, the New Girl episode, and impromptu LiveStream events, may be all that we get for a good spell.  It’s enough to make you nervous that it may be a very long and quiet holiday season.

So whether you’re waiting for the apparently never-coming 30 year Purple Rain reissue, the WB rumors of an impending tour, or whatever you may have your purple hearts set for, Prince has yet again to remind you that you are in his world and we are simply lovely passengers. Assume nothing and wait patiently.

Keep in mind that this is all just chatter, speculation and rumors at this point, so feel free to share your own thoughts below.

Editors Note (Mr. C): “If we had to speculate on our own, I would say it’s partially to do with the negativity as mentioned above and partially to do with the Ferguson case. Prince has made statements about the Treyvon Martin situation when it happened, so we know that he has some political leanings when it comes to cases like this. But in all of it, it makes no matter. We’re back to being on his schedule again.”

Review: Stevie Wonder – Atlanta 11/22/2014

Posted by funkatop On November - 24 - 2014 1 COMMENT
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Picture courtesy of AJCThere’s not much doubt that Stevie Wonder is the immaculate superstar. You’ll most likely never find a review of one of his shows that would be negative due to his mass library of hits, but what could have been a sleepy show in Atlanta as Stevie Wonder made a stop in the ATL supporting his current tour performing Songs In The Key Of Life in its entirety, turned out to be masterful in every sense of the word.

Most would agree that Songs In The Key of Life is one of Stevie’s best albums ever and his only double album (sans greatest hits collections), but with a track list that kicks it wide open on the first album and with exception to 1 or 2 hits, goes into a compilation of lesser known songs on the 2nd half, the end result could have been anti-climactic.  Stevie came onto the stage at sharply 8:30 while the rest of the band including string orchestra and began with introductions and prefacing the show with commentary and introducing his sons who were on hand to watch the evening’s festivities.  Co-hosting the evening and providing background vocals for most of the night was the lovely India Arie which was an added bonus with even more surprises to come.

He then began to take on the album in its original track order, but it became evident a few songs in after the barn burners of Sir Duke and I Wish, that the normal listing wouldn’t serve as a good support and songs such as Saturn and If It’s Magic were migrated to the first half as if he himself were aware of the potential to lose the less hardcore fans.  But Atlanta’s sold out Phillips Arena was filled primarily with an audience that knew exactly what they would be getting as they danced and swayed to every song.  Along with more guest surprises like jazz guitarist legend Earl Klugh.

One of the background vocalists providing the backbone for Stevie the entire night was Keith John, son of the R&B legend Little Willie John that has toured with Stevie for many years now. During the first set, he was even given the opportunity to sing his father’s song Talk To Me after wow’ing the audience at his amazing vocal prowess that rivaled even Mr. Wonder himself and made it dreadfully evident that if Stevie was ever having a bad night, he only needed to lip synch and Keith could probably take over and no one would be none the wiser. And no, we’re not kidding.

The show was broken up with an intermission and started back with an explanation of Isn’t She Lovely including an introduction of his daughter for whom the song was written for (who also has toured with her father for many years). She herself was very much holding her own including ripping through the vicious and raucous Ordinary Pain.  They then stayed the course with exception to a couple of impromptu jam sessions including a piece of Michael Jackson‘s The Way You Make Me Feel. At near the completion of the albums tracks, the last special guest of the evening Janelle Monae who came out and sang for the remainder of the album as India Arie joined the background vocalists which then crescendos closing with As which became an onstage celebration.

And just when everyone thought the show was over, Stevie brought on his alter ego DJ Tick Tick Boom which then began to play even more of his hits including Part Time Lover, Happy Birthday, Higher Ground and others including a mass sing along closing the evening with Superstition.

The concert clocked in around 3 hours (even excluding the intermission) and ending near midnight. Stevie was in peak vocal performance and was simply majestic and full of energy. We simply must give Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life – The Performance tour in Atlanta a whopping 5 afros. If it comes through your town,you should run to the box office and go see what very well could be one of his final touring performances.

5 out of 5 afros

Andy Allo Takes Over Funkatopia Radio Show

Posted by funkatop On October - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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The beautiful Andy Allo has taken over the Funkatopia Radio Show!

Andy Allo plays some of her favorite songs, the stories behind some of her inspirations and of course, lots of stories about Prince, secret tidbits you probably wont hear anywhere else, and music styles all across the map.

Tune into Episode 9 of the Funkatopia Radio Show and enjoy over an hour of great tunes, stories and insider meanings.

Prince & Chris Rock to Hit SNL

Posted by funkatop On October - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Chris Rock and Prince on SNL

Prince just announced via Twitter that His Purple Majesty and Chris Rock will be appearing on Saturday Night Live on November 1, 2014.

The tease came days before that a special announcement was coming, but most thought that tour information was certain to be the breaking news since the public had been informed that tour dates were to be released shortly as leaked by Warner Brothers.

While it’s unfortunate that there aren’t any tour dates announced, this does set the stage for the jump start of live performances, so set your DVR’s or watch it live on NBC on November 1!

Replay: Prince’s Livestream Event

Posted by funkatop On October - 1 - 2014 6 COMMENTS
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3rd Eye Girl interview

On 9/30/2014 at 10:30 EST, Prince and 3rd Eye Girl did an album release party online at Yahoo Livestream to celebrate the release of PLECTRUMELECTRUM and Art Official Age.  The show was hosted by Maya and was primarily a walk through of Paisley Park, discussions with various members of the Paisley Park team (Joshua Welton, Trevor Guy, etc.), and brief concert performances.

One interview with Joshua Welton featured a few snippets of songs they were in the process of finishing up and also a new song by Rita Ora that Prince was involved in (as was Joshua).  There were discussions that they are already in the process of putting together a new album even on the eve of official releases of these two albums. Nice!

The hostess known by some as “Shamelss Maya” is easy on the eyes, but it certainly did not feel as if she prepared for the event. This is our only real apprehension with the event. Luckily some of her more “I’m in over my head” moments appeared to be removed from the replay.  The event itself was a great walkthrough of Paisley Park, but the hosting duties seemed awkward at best.  Some of the worst would include her introducing Hannah Ford as “Joshua’s wife”.  Then she depended on the fans around 3rd Eye Girl in the room for the interview questions.  Then travesty moments such as not being able to identify artists such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, or Jimi Hendrix on the Prince mural or even Prince artists such as Sheila E, The Family, etc..  And referring to “Prince and the Power Generations.”  Umm…. ok.

The impromptu interview with Liv Warfield proved difficult as well at one point having to ask Liv Warfield who the band members of NPGQ were. And even though it’s not well known since NPGQ is a new project,  it’s important as an interviewer to be able to identify the major NPG artists like John  Blackwell and Marcus Anderson (who Maya introduced as Marcus Samuelson).  NPGQ played two songs that were separated by Maya‘s brief questionnaire with Liv Warfield.

A piece that caught our ear was during the 3rd Eye Girl interview portion where Hannah Ford was discussing the wardrobe and indicating that “This is the stuff that we’re excited to get to wear on tour.”  Followed by Maya saying, “Oh so this is what you’re going to wear when you tour.”  Both statements confirming that there is a 3rd Eye girl tour coming.

Then Prince and 3rd Eye Girl hit the stage to perform 3 songs including PRETZELYBODYLOGIC, What’s My Name (with Kendrick Lamar rapping over verse and chorus), a prerecorded play of Time, and then closing with the Sly & The Family Stone song called Thankful and Thoughful with a Liv Warfield and Prince duet.

You can still view the event replay here at https://screen.yahoo.com/live/event/prince if you missed it.  All in all, the ability to view the inside of Paisley Park is a treat in itself and the free online concert is always welcome. Let’s just bring in a host that’s a tad more prepared next time. And judging by social media, we weren’t the only ones who noticed.  We’re not complaining. Just simply noting the obvious. Prince fans have very high expectations and at times they can be vicious.  We’re just sayin.

But Yahoo did a fantastic job and it was a great event to be sure. Hopeully there will be more of these.  Yahoo! definitely proved themselves fully capable of handling the traffic waves.  Check it out yourself.

Prince and 3rd Eye Girl in concert - Yahoo Livestream

Review: 3rd Eye Girl – PLECTRUMELECTRUM

Posted by funkatop On September - 29 - 2014 2 COMMENTS
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Plectrum Electrum coverPrince releases a rock and roll album with the help of 3 amazing ladies.

Far be it from us to wonder why Prince ever does the things that he does. We’ve been pretty harsh critics in the past about his marketing decisions and other strange choice he’s made. But in the midst of those critiques are simply hard core Prince fans that, like you, are frustrated that this amazing talent gets ignored by radio and simply refuses to play nice with the powers that be that can change that.

And in that spirit, PLECTRUMELECTRUM will not change that trend. Nothing radio friendly here. Just flat out awesome songs perfectly blended and laid out to wow his fans without a care about whether or not it will be embraced by mass media. Because in the end, who really cares what they think?

On PLECTRUMELECTRUM, Prince joins forces with three amazing female counterparts to dish out a fist to the face blast of raw rock and roll and the end result is pretty frigging awesome. There isn’t any heavy handed production here which just lets the music speak for itself and it does a great job at keeping everything balanced and out front. No matter which band member you’re a fan of, you’ll hear them crisp and clear.

The band consists of Prince on lead vocals and guitar, Ida Nielsen on bass (pronounced ‘eeda’), Hannah Ford on drums and vocals, and Donna Grantis on guitar. And while Prince has always had a penchant for female artists, this is one of the first times that he really went all out to construct a full female backing band that not only brought the “pretty quotient”, but all of which were also masters of their instruments.

Donna Grantis delivers a raw energy on guitar that takes us back to Bambi days. Her chops are tight and loud giving Prince the backseat, which is probably by his design. Ida Neilson‘s thump bass delivery keeps the rock feel driving that defines the sound as more of a Ford Mustang and less of a Porsche, which is exactly what you want in an all out rock band. Then rounding it out is Hannah Ford on drums who not only knows how to be a masterful time keeper, but she doesn’t overplay and she’s also a great vocalist to boot.

The 12 track album is filled with primarily rock songs starting with a mid-tempo barn burner called WOW that flows in and out of rowdy controlled raucous into a soft flowing bluesy styled romp. That’s followed by PRETZELBODYLOGIC which was one of the early sneak peek releases delivering a boot stomping hard rock head bounce.

Next up is AINTTURNINROUND which is the first appearance of Hannah Ford on vocals and her Pat Benatar rock singing chops. There is only one instrumental in the bunch and that would be the title track PLECTRUMELECTRUM, which blends a Zeppelin rock-blues formula with a dash of Mother’s Finest and one cup of Black Crowes style for good measure.

Hannah Ford then takes the mike again to deliver a softer side and churns out the song WHITECAPS which really showcases her vocal talent and puts her in the same vocal arena as Andy Allo and Elisa Fiorillo Dease. Prince was truly wise to let her shine on this album which will serve her well in the future. We can definitely foresee solo albums coming out of the Park in the not so distant future.

FIXURLIFEUP was one of the first 3rd Eye Girl tracks released into the public and it uses the same great ebb and flow rock formula that many rock artists are drawn to, but it’s done seamlessly well here.

3rd-eye-girlOne of the standout tracks (of which there are actually many) is BOYTROUBLE which features rappers Lizzo and Sophia Eris. Even though PLECTRUMELECTRUM has a good bit of bluesy-funk throughout, BOYTROUBLE is technically the first dose of actual funk on the album which is made even more funky by the the whoeww whoeww instrument effect made infamous on the Madhouse 8 album on the song 2.

STOPTHISTRAIN (featuring Hannah on vocals again) and TICTACTOE are mid-tempo romps that are the album’s lightest and most pop-sensible moments.  And while there always appears to be on on each of his releases, TICTACTOE is the over-popped song where Prince unleashes his musical theatrics (think Rainbow Children‘s Wedding Feast) which mutate the song into sounding as if it were stripped from a musical, although the song structure manages to keep it from going off the rails. Those songs are split up by ANOTHERLOVE which starts off in a slower kilter, which then rocks out of control towards its last half.

Among the last two songs is MARZ which brings back that loose, raw rock sound, but only clocks in under 2 minutes. Then FUNKNROLL closes out the album and at the start, the track begins exactly the same as the FUNKNROLL featured on Art Official Age (see our review here), but then it quickly separates itself and settles into a rocked up version similar to what was unveiled at the Arsenio Hall show. While there are a lot of similarities, there are also a wealth of differences.

Overall, PLECTRUMELECTRUM is probably exactly what Prince intended for this release. A raucous rocker that showcases the talents of 3 lovely ladies and lets him appease his rock monster. We’re going to give this album 4-1/2 out of 5 afros and not because it doesn’t deserve 5, but there were some expectations set on song inclusions that didn’t happen such as Screwdriver, Octopus Heart, Live Out Loud, Menstrual Cycle, Groovy Potential, and some others that were teased out to the masses, but never came to fruition in the release.

For those that haven’t been suckling at every bit of information that was offered, you’re going to love everything PLECTRUMELECTRUM has to offer. For the hard core masses, this album is a phenomenal addition to the collection, but we were surprised at the omission of not just a couple songs, but a lot. The addition of which would have really made this album more definitive. That is the only reason this album loses a half an afro and an oversight that shouldn’t diminish the excellence of this album.

Here’s hoping we will see a lot more of the girls on the road, because this release is fantastic. It’s set to hit the streets on 9/30/2014, so get your butt over to iTunes or Amazon and Get It Now .

4-5afros

Review: Prince – ART OFFICIAL AGE

Posted by funkatop On September - 26 - 2014 11 COMMENTS
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Prince - Art Official Age album coverPrince‘s new album ART OFFICIAL AGE hits the streets next week and it’s worth the wait.

It was important for us to make sure that we got a really good listen early as possible to Prince’s new album because there would be a lot of expectations from fans and curmudgeons alike. Let’s just say that having friends overseas who can help you get a preview of the album not set to hit the streets in the U.S. until next week on 9/30/2014 is definitely an advantage. And now that we’ve heard it, our pre-order of both albums can’t get to our mailboxes soon enough.

One of the primary differences with ART OFFICIAL AGE is not that Prince decided to stay true to his sound direction, but that it really feels like there was a very hands-on selection by Prince of what tunes would appear on this album. Gone are the concerns that he has lost touch with his fans and that he “doesn’t have it anymore.”  ART OFFICIAL AGE will set those critics on fire and running for the hills.

The songs are fantastically structured complete with a futuristic story where Prince has awoken from a state of suspended animation 45 years later and the world is a very different place. His guide is the lovely voice of Lianne La Havas whose seductive delivery helps lure Prince back into consciousness and provides an orientation of what he can expect, as well as how to adapt into this new world that he has found himself.  She offers him a variety of tips such as “there are no such words anymore like me or mine”.

This theme is woven together through a few songs of the 13 track album and done so masterfully well, that you only find yourself wanting to listen to it all over again once your journey has come to an end. Not only do the songs lend themselves to the story, but Prince has also unveiled a side we haven’t seen in quite some time. The side that incorporates a wealth of segues, dialogue, and sound effects into the song structures to insure that you’re always aware that you’re along for the ride and holding hands with Prince‘s still foggy state of mind.

If we had to categorize the album as a child of two previous albums, we would have to give parental rights to 3121 and Rainbow Children.  ART OFFICIAL AGE is both thematic and dramatic at the same time, but also filled with grooves that will please the palate of both the funk and dance crowd and still delivers the sultry smooth ballads that swoon the ladies and bob the heads of the grown folk.

The album starts with an introduction from Prince announcing “Welcome home class, you’ve come a long way.” on the opening ART OFFICIAL CAGE which jumps around like a fish out of water from funky guitar riffs that sound as if they were basted in Nile Rogers barbecue sauce and then into a club thumper realm.

The album then slides into the head bopping CLOUDS which has already seen a pre-release and helps to initiate the tone of the storyline. These steady paced groove lines make a few appearances on ART OFFICIAL AGE and help to give the overall feel of the album the aforementioned “grown folks music” categorization. Songs like WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, BREAKFAST CAN WAIT and TIME lend themselves to the same family of steady BPM’s that ride the fine line of slow jam and heady slide grooves.

But then songs like BREAKDOWN (also pre-released) and U KNOW adequately fill the slow jam quota, but these aren’t just disposable efforts. These are well thought out sway thrillers filled with love drenched vocals that raise your blood pressure and have you setting your driver seat in the recline position. Get a listen and you’ll start loving the “rewind” button. There’s a hidden joke there you won’t get until you get graced with this album.

For funk fanatics, AOA delivers on many fronts including the thick bass lines of THE GOLD STANDARD that shares the stage with Prince AND a taste here and there of a familiar friend from the past. Bob? Ain’t that a bitch?

Then of course there’s FUNKNROLL which we featured on Episode 7 of the Funkatopia Radio Show (because no other radio station will) which also helps us funk fanatics put a feather in our cap and just be glad that we were represented in his purple majesty’s latest offering.

Prince‘s alter ego Camille makes a few appearances, but the dramatic additions that seem like they were “bong induced” really add a spacey-ness to the flow and feel of this album. The closing bars of THE GOLD STANDARD and pieces throughout like the aforementioned “rewind” in U KNOW create a very overall hazy feel that makes you feel like you were dipped in a honey glaze.

The AFFIRMATION I and AFFIRMATION II excerpts simply add segues to the album to keep the theme flowing, but AFFIRMATION III is a true brilliant diamond in the mix with a beautiful closing piece of moody nuances and powerful self empowerment messages.

In all, ART OFFICIAL AGE delivers on all fronts. We just can’t give this album any less than 5 out of 5 afros and not because it’s a funk classic bringing to the altar a wealth of funk music offerings, but because anything less would be a travesty for this fantastic album.

We won’t pretend to believe that radio will pick up any of these tracks simply because terrestrial radio as we know it is dead and they can’t embrace anything they’re not spoon-fed. Luckily for Prince, We completely get this album and it was well worth the wait, even if technically we’re still waiting. Get this album if you can or pre-order it without hesitation.

ART OFFICIAL AGE gets our illustrious 5 star afro award.

5 out of 5 afros
Be sure to read the new review for 
PLECTRUMELECTRUM as well.

Audio: Listen to Funk NOW!

Posted by funkatop On September - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Funkatopia founder Mr. Christopher has been quietly pushing out funk radio show broadcasts to the masses. Each broadcast consists of at least a half an hour or more of funk tunes and all of which are new tracks, rarities, bands you’ve probably never heard of, or classics that you missed.

Among the standouts are the Prince Protege broadcast that features bands closely tied to the Purple Majesty, which almost clocked at an hour broadcast and the brand new episode 7 featuring brand new songs from David Ryan Harris, Prince, and even unreleased tracks.

All of the episodes are filled with surprises, but most importantly great music. All episodes can be found on the Funk Radio page or on Funkatopia’s Soundcloud Page. Tune in now and get with it.

WIN TICKETS! Fly Free Fest 2014

Posted by funkatop On September - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Fly Free Fest 2014

The Fly Free Fest is a 3 day funk filled concert event filled with tons of great acts including artists and bands from all over the region like The Motet, Railroad Earth, Dan Deacon and tons more. A whopping 40+ bands will take the stage over the 3 day event and will take place in Lafayette, GA just south of Chattanooga, TN.

Tickets are a mere $110 ($125 at the gate) for all three days and gets you access to this amazing world full of great music and a spot to camp.  They also have VIP tickets that include meal and drink tickets, exclusive shower access and more.

But you can enter to win one of TWO pairs of tickets right now by picking up your cell phone and texting flyfree to 90210. Having issues with text messages? Head to the Funkatopia Facebook page and private message your name and number to get into the drawing or send via email to shout@funkatopia.com. Two names will be drawn on October 1, 2014 and winners contacted via phone that day!  Only enter if you can go!

Head to the Fly Free Fest website for all of the details on performers, camping instructions and more. We will see you there! Yes, we’ll be there.

Purple Rain Reunion Tour?

Prince has apparently gone into hiding, which has started some crazy rumors and speculation. The craziest one that we heard […]

Prince Cancels Social Media, Again

To the ultimate chagrin of Prince fans everywhere, Prince has once again pulled up his stakes from all of his […]

Review: Stevie Wonder – Atlanta 11/22/2014

There’s not much doubt that Stevie Wonder is the immaculate superstar. You’ll most likely never find a review of one […]

Andy Allo Takes Over Funkatopia Radio Show

The beautiful Andy Allo has taken over the Funkatopia Radio Show! Andy Allo plays some of her favorite songs, the […]