Chaka Khan will talk, not sing. Chuck D will talk, not rap. Stokley and the Sounds of Blackness will perform, bringing a true Twin Cities flavor to Celebration 2023 at Paisley Park.
The annual celebration of Prince, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday in Chanhassen, also will feature unreleased Prince music and concert footage, performances by rising Twin Cities artists Nur-D and Nunnabove and panel discussions about the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and fans trying to keep Prince's legacy alive.
"We're really going to rev it up and get more into the heart and soul of Prince," said L. Londell McMillan, co-manager of Prince Legacy LLC, "and highlight his special meaning and purpose and continuing relevance amongst those who knew and loved him."
McMillan says he and the Paisley Park staff have implemented changes for the marathon event, many based on feedback from fans.
There are one-day tickets for the first time, at $289. A four-day general admission ticket is $592; VIP tickets sold out at $1,141.
Celebration 2023 features a return to two tracks of festivalgoers, meaning each panel, interview and performance will be repeated for separate groups of ticket holders. That accommodates fans' requests to have time to do other things in the Twin Cities instead of spending all day and night at Paisley Park, as was the case in 2022, McMillan said.
Khan, who was recently named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, will be interviewed in a one-on-one session but she can't sing at Paisley Park because she is already under contract to perform at the Minnesota State Fair in August. She is expected to talk about her album "Come 2 My House," which was produced by Prince at Paisley and released 25 years ago.
A panel of rappers Chuck D of Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, NPG's Tony Mosley — who all collaborated with Prince — and DJ D-Nice will discuss Prince's not-always-complimentary association with hip-hop.
"It's not always going to be a sugarcoating conversation because we want to explore all those complexities that made Prince great," said McMillan, a former manager for the Purple One. "He went heavy into experimenting with hip-hop on 'Diamonds and Pearls' [his 1991 album] but he didn't always originally share his enthusiasm and he grew into it over time."
A panel of fans promoting Prince's legacy will feature social media influencers Dr. Funkenberry of Los Angeles, Casey Rain of England and Rodney Fitzgerald of Washington, D.C., as well as seminar organizer De Angela Duff, who is a professor at New York University.
"The legacy of Prince can't exist without the fans," McMillan said. "We want to have a real conversation about how fans preserve, engage, comment, critique, serve, fail, succeed. We are all, in some ways, stewards of his legacy."
Celebration activities also will include a tribute to Tina Turner and late-night parties with DJ D-Nice and DJ Rashida.
The theme for Celebration 2023 is the number "7," Prince's favorite. Also, it's been seven years since he died.
The performance schedule is heavy on Minnesota acts, including Stokley and the Sounds of Blackness.
"We want to pay respects to this town that gave him his creative bursts," McMillan said. "Stokley is very hot right now. Seven was a creative and also spiritual number for Prince and we think there's no better from this area that represents that than Sounds of Blackness, who had a relationship with Prince."
Some Twin Cities middle school and high school students will be invited to attend for free, a first for Celebration.
"What we see in the preservation of Prince's legacy is to engage young people early on who love music and musicianship and art," McMillan said.
When: Thu. through Sun.
Where: Paisley Park, 7801 Audubon Road, Chanhassen.
Tickets: $289 (one day) to $592 (four-day), VIP tickets are sold out, paisleypark.com.