Fitz and the Tantrums singer Noelle Scaggs says it’s a joy to return to the road, and she’s looking forward to catching up with friends when the neo-soul band visits the Valley for the second day of Innings Festival, Sunday, February 27.
“We just do really random things. There’s no set agenda,” Scaggs says. “We have our soundchecks because there’s a work element involved. Then my friends and I get together for dinner, they come to the show, and we hang out afterward.”
As for that work element, Fitz and the Tantrums are known for their energetic stage presence. Fans can expect just that at Innings Festival.
“The audience feels like the seventh member,” she says. “It’s a show that is joyful and allows people to let go of their world.”
Led by Michael Fitzpatrick, the LA-based band has been working on the follow up to 2019’s “All the Feels,” which spawned the hit “I Just Wanna Shine.”
Last year, Fitzpatrick released his first solo album, “Head Up High,” under the moniker Fitz.
“Fitz and I are getting back into writing,” she says. “It felt like a really long break with COVID. We’re taking our time.”
Scaggs has also been pushing her nonprofit Diversify the Stage, a network of industry professionals and community engagement organizations collectively working to build a culture of accountability to establish more inclusive hiring practices and greater access to equitable opportunities in live music, events and touring industries.
“I started to focus on the lack of diversity in the behind-the-scenes careers — think tour personnel, production, stagehands, technical career paths, promotions and marketing, the companies that are booking talent and presenting concert events,” she says.
“We really want them to understand the obstacles or to really reanalyze how things happen in that space when they’re looking at hiring people. Word of mouth has worked for the music industry as a whole.”
Scaggs wants to introduce new ways of recruitment to widen the net of opportunity for people of all shades — “not just looking at men in general, but the underrepresented communities as a whole.”
The industry needs to make it a more inclusive space so everyone feels welcome and part of the team, she explains.
“I’ve been a touring artist since I was 19, prior to Fitz,” Scaggs adds. “I shouldn’t be the only woman on tour, the only woman of color on the road.
“It’s been really awesome to communicate with folks who recognize this and have been working toward a small change within their organization or business practices. I want to bring all these entities together for a more united front, instead of splintered and duplicated efforts.”
• At bat on Saturday, February 26, are Foo Fighters, St. Vincent, Billy Strings, Caamp, Dashboard Confessional, Black Pistol Fire, The Dip, Del Water Gap, Girlhouse and Almost Monday.
• The lineup for Sunday is Tame Impala, The War on Drugs, Black Pumas, Fitz and the Tantrums, Matt & Kim, Petey, Jade Bird, Low Cut Connie, Briscoe and Sydney Sprague.
• Scheduled to appear are MLB legends Ryan Dempster, Roger Clemens, Dave Stewart, Rick Sutcliffe, Tim Raines, Kenny Lofton, Eric Gagne, Jonny Gomes, Jim Abbott, Sean Casey, Keith Foulke, Tim Salmon and Russ Ortiz.
Fitz and the Tantrums
WHEN: Various times Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27
WHERE: Tempe Beach Park and Arts Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
COST: Tickets start at $105