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Why are there very rarely R&B, hip-hop or rap groups in concert during the Azalea Festival?

Amanda Lucci
Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle performs at UNCW's Trask Coliseum during the 59th Annual N.C. Azalea Festival on April 8, 2006. (Photo by MATT BORN/STARNEWS)

It depends on who’s available at that time, as well as how much money the N.C. Azalea Festival has to spend on entertainment, said Sandy Collette, the festival’s publicist.

“Normally we have to get people that are touring in the area, that are going to be around here at that particular time,” she said. “A lot of times we don’t have a lot of choice as to who we are able to get in concert.”

However, Collette did list a number of acts that have performed at the festival in past years, such as Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Darius Rucker (as part of Hootie & the Blowfish), the Four Tops and Bill Cosby.

There have also been multiple Azalea Festival Queens with varying ethnicities, like Phylicia Rashad (1985), Tanisha Lynn (2006) and Amrapali Ambegaokar (2009).

Another important part of the festival is the Multicultural Stage, part of the Street Fair, which includes acts from all over the world.

“It’s real difficult for us,” Collette said, “but we try to do everything that we can to include everyone.”

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