Annual North End Music Festival showcases local talent


WATERLOO — For 15 years, the North End Arts and Music Festival has been showcasing local talent and bringing people together.

This year’s event will be held Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Furgerson Fields Park, 1407 Linden Ave.

The festival will feature live music, art, craftspeople and food vendors. Bittersweet will perform at 3 p.m.







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Children wave on a float during the Waterloo North End Arts and Music Festival parade on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer


Organizer Felicia Smith-Nalls has been involved with the festival for 12 years. She first booked musical acts for the event, and her involvement has grown ever since.

“It’s important for local talent to get on stage and have this experience, for our local artists to showcase their work and let people see some of their vision,” she said. “The most beautiful part of culture is the art. We learn from it and grow from it. That’s a language. It’s the easiest thing to translate.

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The Destruction Drill Team will dance during the North End Arts and Music Festival at Ferguson Field Park in Waterloo after being announced as the first-place parade drill team on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer


This year’s event will pay special tribute to those who have died from breast cancer, and organizers hope to run screenings during the festival.

“This year, our community lost three young women to breast cancer within a month of each other,” Smith-Nairs said. “We don’t want this loss to be in vain.”







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Crowds gather in Ferguson Park during the Waterloo North End Arts and Music Festival on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer


In addition, 13 training teams from across the Midwest participating in Marching Against Darkness will participate in the Summer Soul Classic Parade, which will continue through the North End Music Festival.

The parade departs at 10 a.m. from Lester and North Barclay streets and travels south on North Barclay to Newell Street, east on Newell to Mobile Street, and south on Mobile to O Nida Street, travel east on Oneida to Ferguson Field Park. Expect to arrive at the building around noon.







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The Kansas City Marching Wildcats perform in the North End Arts and Music Festival parade in Waterloo on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer


Smith-Naers said she couldn’t talk about the festival without mentioning one of its founders, Matt Boyd, who passed away in March 2023.

“His mother used to run the Waterloo Recreation Center, and when they took over the Recreation Center, he knew what they were taking from the North Side,” she said. “Everything he did and everything he gave, that’s what sacrifice and investment looks like.”







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Tyson Foods was featured in the Waterloo North End Arts and Music Festival parade on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer


Smith-Naers encourages everyone to attend.

“It’s like a family gathering,” she said. “People come here just to be there. They brought lawn chairs and kids are running and playing. It’s just a beautiful day.







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The Brooklyn Park Drum and Dance Troupe performs at the North End Arts and Music Festival Parade in Waterloo on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer








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The Cedar Valley Boys & Girls Club participated in the Waterloo North End Arts and Music Festival Parade on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer








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The Omaha Sabotage Drill Team performs during the Waterloo North End Arts and Music Festival parade on Saturday.


CHRIS ZOELLER, Courier Photographer



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