Fandross Festival 2018

Wellness with a Wow

Fandross Festival 2018

Multiple Locations

Are you a Luther fan?

Divabetic, the national diabetes nonprofit organization founded by Luther Vandross’s former personal assistant, Max Szadek, is curating the weekend’s activities devoted to Luther fans.

The Luther Vandross Family and Divabetic’s Fandross Festival is a dazzling array of live performances, fitness classes, panel discussions, fashion shows and video screenings celebrating R & B Legend Luther Vandross and raising awareness for diabetes in New York City, May 2018.

Our goal is to bring Luther fans together to raise awareness for the risk factors associated with diabetes, encourage them to be screened for diabetes and seek professional support for managing diabetes.

“Far too few people know they’re living with diabetes, and that is why we’re  joining forces with many of Luther’s celebrity friends, former band members and singers and launching this initiative,” says Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek.

One third of Americans may be on their way to developing full-blown type 2 diabetes, and most of them don’t even know it.

recent report from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) shows that more than 84 million Americans, or roughly one-third of the population, have pre-diabetes, a condition marked by higher-than-normal blood sugar. Of that group, 90 percent aren’t aware they have the condition.

The primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are genetics and lifestyle — excess weight, obesity and lack of exercise contribute to this alarming medical trend.

As diabetes worsens over time, hearth disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and lower-limb amputation are major health risks. Diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States in 2015, according to the CDC. This population of diabetes “ticking time bombs” is particularly alarming, because in many cases type 2 diabetes can be avoided, simply by leading a healthy lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is often progressive, and within 10 years of diagnosis, 50 percent of individuals need to use insulin to control their blood glucose levels, according to the ADA.

With larger-than-life talents and a persona to match, Luther Vandross was surrounded by publicists, producers, handlers and assistants.  Yet he suffered alone with his diabetes. He had an incredible drive for perfection and an even bigger passion for performing, entertaining, and making his audiences happy whether through a concert, television, movie, or even Sesame Street.  Yet he did not pause for himself. It led to his stroke and eventually complications caused his death, a heartbreaking day for his family, friends and millions of fans.

Divabetic urges you to ‘Keep your house a home’ and get screened for diabetes and learn how to prevent a diabetes health-related complication from occurring.

Join us for the inangural Fandross Festival (Thursday, May 10 – Sunday, May13, 2018) in New York City and enjoy a dazzling array of live performances, panel discussions, fitness classes, fashion shows, video screenings and diabetes outreach.

This year we are celebrating the 35 Anniversary of the release of  Luther Vandross’ Busy Body album. Busy Body is the third studio album by American R&B singer Luther Vandross, released on November 25, 1983. It was certified platinum by the RIAA in January 1985.

On Busy Body, Luther Vandross’ third album features the silky, Boz Scaggs-like title cut spells out every aspect of his woman’s unfaithfulness; then, on the jaunty “I’ll Let You Slide,” he becomes testy in a jovial way. “If we do it twice in the mornin’,” he bargains, “I’ll let you slide tonight.” Rolling Stones magazine’s review mentions Luther’s brilliant rendition of Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett’s “Superstar,” which closes the album.

Here’s a list of performers: Dionne Warwick – vocals on “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye”, Doc PowellGeorg Wadenius – guitar, Marcus Miller – bass, synthesizer, Nat Adderley, Jr. – keyboards, string and horn arrangements, John “Skip” Anderson – synthesizer, Yogi Horton – drums, Michael White, Paulinho da Costa – percussion, Steve Kroon – bongos, congas, Brenda White King, Fonzi Thornton, Phillip Ballou, Robin ClarkTawatha Agee, Alfa Anderson, Cissy Houston, Cheryl Lynn, Darlene LoveDavid Lasley, Paulette McWilliams, Michelle Cobbs, Yvonne Lewis, Patti Austin – backing vocals and Jimmy Webb – string and horn arrangement on “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye”.

Fandross Festival Calendar Of Events

All Fandross Festival events are available a la carte. You can choose to attend all events or pick and choose your favorites. All event tickets are sold separately and available on a first come basis. 

Kick Off Party/Open Mic Night  on Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7:30 – 9:30 PM 

Fandross 2018 kicks off with a Luther Vandross themed Open Mic Night at the Sugar Bar featuring several of Luther’s former band members,  vocalists and friends hosted by Valerie Simpson. Featured guest artist: Alfa Anderson and Pat Lacy formerly of ‘Sounds of Blackness’.

Ready to show off your singing skills? Enter our ‘Luther Legacy’ contest. Participants will have the opportunity to sing a snippet of a Luther song (from our approved song list) backed by Luther’s former background vocalists for our panel of judges. Contest open to both men and women. Make Us a Believer! e-mail:

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar Open Mic Night is famous for featuring celebrity guests and Grammy winning artists as well as the next generation of powerful performers.

Where: Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, 254 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023. Reservations: (212) 579-022

Admission: No Cover


Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton on Friday, May 11, 2018, 8 PM & 10 PM

Luther Vandross’s former vocalist and Grammy Award winner, Lisa Fischer performs with her band, Grand Baton at the legendary Blue Note in New York.  Her current tour is an exploration of uncharted territory through R&B and jazz. Guaranteed, though, she will astonish with her vocal mastery and stage magic. Join her and special guests as they give new life to tunes you love, but only thought you knew.

Where: Blue Note New York 131 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012 (212) 475-8592

Admission: Bar $40, Table $55


Fandross Fitness Class on Saturday, May 12, 2018, 1 PM

Be a ‘Busy Body’! Luther Vandross’ former choreographer, James Ervin leads a high intensity step aerobics workout set to a Luther Vandross playlist. Join us as James re-creates the same step routines used backstage on the Luther Vandross tour. James’ fitness class gives you everything! This diverse class will challenge your inhibitions, make you move and groove and allow your spirit to soar. We will be spotlighting the 35th Anniversary of the release of Luther Vandross’ Busy Body album.

Where: Equinox Gym at 817 Lexington Avenue at East 63rd Street, New York NY (212) 750-4900

Admission: $20 guest pass


Fandross Festival on Saturday, May 12, 2018, 6:30 -9:30 PM

Join us for our inaugural Fandross Festival celebrating the musical legacy of Luther Vandross.

See Luther Vandross Exclusive Memorabilia: Luther’s dazzling music awards, bejeweled stage costumes and more will be on display

Watch R & B legend Luther Vandross on the Big Screen: His most iconic live performances, biggest songs, popular videos and rare clips larger than life with Dolby sound.

Meet the Team! Enjoy an interactive Panel Discussion featuring Luther Vandross’s former musical director, Nat Adderley Jr., singer-songwriter Fonzi Thornton, Luther Vandross historian: Leon Petrossian and more.  

Sing Back Up! Vocalist Patricia Lacey leads the audience in several of Luther’s most iconic background vocals. Learn how to create harmony parts and hold firm no matter which other vocal parts surround you.  Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Greet other Luther fans, share your stories and revisit memories of one of the world’s most treasured performers.

We will be spotlighting the 35 Anniversary of the release of  Luther Vandross’ Busy Body album.

Where: SVA Theater

Admission: $10 Advance. $20 Door


Runway the Real Way Fashion Brunch on Sunday, May 13, 2018, 11 AM – 4 PM

New York City’s liveliest brunch celebrates Divabetic ‘Mothers & Daughters’ raising awareness for living well with diabetes. The inclusive catwalk features innovative integration with all sizes, shapes, heights, genders, ages, ethnicities, nationalities, persuasions and orientations on the same runway. Hosted by Divabetic Image & Style Advisor, Catherine Schuller AICI, CIP and Max ‘Mr. Divabetic’ Szadek.  


Where: Yotel  570 West 10th Avenue, New York NY 10036 (646)449-7790

Admission: No Cover


Fandross Festival 2018 Hotel Accommodations:

Divabetic has secured a discounted room rate ($239.00) per night at the New York Marriott East Side located at 525 Lexington Avenue at 49th Street, New York, NY 10017.

Call: (212) 755-4000 mentioned ‘Luther Vandross Fan Club’. Hotel’s room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes.