Mimi Knowles headlining Rock the Block

Mimi Knowles, who opened for Boyz II Men this March, will headline Rock the Block on April 19. (Photo by Lauren Noorda)

On Saturday, April 19, students wearied from finals stress can take a party break at Rock the Block, a free event at Branbury Gardens.

Entertainment will arrive in several forms. Included are a concert, dance party and visits from vendors. Brooks Forester, from “The Bachelorette,” will also make an appearance.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. This year’s lineup includes Kenz Hall, Lucy Scholl, The Connection, Ashley Hess and UVU’s Mosaic Dance Crew, with Mimi Knowles headlining the event.

These artists’ varying specialties include acoustic music, country, rap, hip-hop dance and pop-funk soul. Knowles’ artistry touches on most of these categories.

Mimi Knowles has become a household name for Provo twenty-somethings. Backed by a horn-centric band, Knowles delivers soulful, punchy performances that make it hard for an audience to stand still. Knowles plans to make this show unique.

“Anyone that has come to a Mimi Knowles show knows it’s more than just music,” Knowles said. “I like to focus more on the overall experience. Every show is one of a kind.”

Kenzie Hall, Utah native and former “American Idol” contestant, will grace the Rock the Block stage as well. This is Hall’s second time playing Rock the Block.

“It was hands down the sweetest show I have ever played,” Hall said of the last Rock the Block she played. “Everyone is in a good mood.”

In describing her set for this upcoming show, Hall hinted at organ and kick drums. Her newfound insights from her “American Idol” experience will also add to her performance.

“I’ve learned that I don’t need to rely on a guitar, but I also need to go with my gut,” Hall said. “No one knows the way I work more than myself, so I’ve got to trust myself.”

Ashley Hess will also return to Rock the Block. Last year, Hess played pop-influenced music and covered a country song. This time around, her sound will be more akin to Knowles’, channeling soulful vibes.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love country music, but my sound and style now is totally different,” Hess said. “Think soulful R&B goodness. I’m ready to jam with Provo.”

Aimee Vargas, a veteran Rock the Block-goer, said she loves the event’s atmosphere, especially because people actively engage with the music. Starting at 10 p.m., concert-goers are invited to keep dancing as DJ Ricky Miami spins for the after party until midnight.

Starting at 4 p.m., vendors will set up shop to sell throughout the night. Vendors include Sammy’s, The Peach Truck, The Mousetrap Truck, Modbod, Wimbley’s Socks, Seventy3 Creative and Solstys Environmental.

Although the event takes place around finals, Knowles doesn’t see this as a reason for students to shy away.

“I’m a firm believer in work hard/play hard,” Knowles said. “School is hard work. You’ve got to make sure you are having fun too. Rock the Block will be nothing but fun.”

The event will take place on the grassy area behind Branbury Apartments (449 W. 1720 North in Provo).

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