Artsplosure, now in its 31st year, produces the annual First Night Raleigh celebration as well as a spring arts festival in the historic Moore Square and City Market areas in downtown Raleigh. The festival takes place Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16, and typically draws 50,000 attendees. It features the juried work of 175 established and emerging visual artists, including ceramics, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, wood and other two- and three-dimensional pieces. The festival also features a host of activities for kids and live music by Charlie Musselwhite, Iguannas, Sharon Little and others.
As warm weather beckons, Artsplosure program director Terri Dollar offers this survival kit for attending an outdoor concert with your family.
Survival Kit for Attending an Outdoor Concert with Your Family
Whether a symphony or performance on the lawn or a bluegrass festival, there are countless opportunities to get outside and hear music as the weather gets warmer in North Carolina. If you have kids, many of these outdoor events may leave you wondering: Will my family survive the outing? Will I survive my family? Here are ten tips for making your outdoor concert experience a successful one.
1. Do it! Don’t let the logistics scare you away from taking your family to an outdoor concert. Like a picnic, almost any kind of music is more fun when you do it outside. Get up and dance as if no one is watching.
2. Plan ahead by visiting the venue’s Web site — each has different rules and regulations concerning food, drink, chairs, pets, and other items, and even these regulations may change depending on the event. Look online for places to park. Check out the schedule — if you want to see a particular performer rather than an entire event, you might want to adjust your arrival time. And also double-check whether backpacks and/or strollers are allowed, especially when you’re bringing kids along.
3. Dress appropriately. Outdoor concerts in North Carolina are not “dress to impress” events. Dressing down and comfortable in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops works just fine.
4. Don’t get bugged or burned. As spring gives way to summer in North Carolina, you’ll be picnicking with bugs. Spray yourself before you get there. And if it’s going to be sunny, don’t forget hats and an appropriate grade of sunscreen.
5. Bring along the comforts of home. A blanket, low-backed or kid-sized chairs, card games, crayons, Frisbees or balls will keep the kids happy and engaged.
6. Do it with friends. In the age of cell phones, it’s easier than ever to hook up with friends either during or after the performance. Just remember to turn off the ringer during the show.
7. Know where you’re going. If you don’t have first-hand knowledge of the music group or performance you’re seeing, do some research. Even the most well-meaning of friends can send you to a performance you might not personally enjoy. It’s common for groups to provide music samples on line — check them out.
8. Choose the best seats. Sometimes the best seats in the house are not the best seats for you. Especially where kids are concerned, lawn passes are less expensive and usually give you more room to spread out.
9. Stay a little longer. Instead of rushing out with the crowd and sitting in traffic while your blood pressure rises, make plans in advance to stay after the show until the parking lot clears. Play cards, throw a ball around or talk about what you liked best about the night’s performance.
10. Take the music home. Support the artists you’ve just seen by purchasing their CDs, T-shirts or other merchandise on sale at the show. Outdoor concerts can be great places to find CDs no longer in circulation or recently released. It’s a great way to keep the party going after you get home.
The sixth annual Fire on the Mountain Festival, held in downtown Spruce Pine Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a family-friendly event that features a variety of blacksmiths demonstrating their craft, selling their wares and giving participants a taste of hitting hot metal against an anvil.
For the first time this year a featured artist, Peter Ross, will anchor the festival. Formerly the master blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg, Ross will conduct two live demonstrations during the event and will also present a one-hour public lecture Saturday, April 24, at 6 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre in Spruce Pine. A pig roast dinner hosted by Penland School of Crafts will be held prior to his lecture. Ross also will offer a full-day demonstration workshop Friday, April 23, at Penland School. The workshop is $50 and is limited to the first 10 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The festival warms up with an exhibition of contemporary blacksmithing at the Toe River Arts Council Gallery starting Wednesday, March 17, and continuing through Saturday, April 24. About 35 professional blacksmiths as well as hobbyists from across the Southeast will display a range of metal work from practical, everyday pieces to artful and abstract designs. The gallery is located at 269 Oak Street in downtown Spruce Pine and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A closing reception will take place Friday, April 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.toeriverarts.org or call (828) 765-0520.
Metal sculptor Elizabeth Brum has been associated with Penland School of Crafts as both a teacher and student for 30 years, originally coming to study ceramics and later managing its iron studio. Today she operates her own studio two miles from the Penland School and is an active planner and participant in the Fire on the Mountain Festival.
|“Fire on the Mountain is an important opportunity to share what contemporary blacksmithing is with the general public,” Brum says. “One of my mother’s friends once asked, ‘Does your daughter do anything besides shoe horses?’ Contemporary blacksmithing is so diverse — there are knife makers, furniture makers and sculptors. There’s a whole lot more to blacksmithing than shoeing horses, which in fact is done by a farrier.”
Brum credits established local artists like 1993 North Carolina Folk Heritage Award Recipient Bea Hensley as well as the nearby Penland School with giving Spruce Pine its reputation as a hotbed for blacksmithing. “There are a lot of blacksmiths in the area — many who have come here and settled because of Penland,” she says. “Fire on the Mountain is more than a local event. Last year we had blacksmiths from Winston-Salem, Marion and Asheville as well as other states like Georgia and Tennessee.”
One of the highlights of the festival for Brum is taking out-of-town friends to see the exhibition at the Toe River Arts Council. “It’s a real nice show,” she says. “There’s a variety of contemporary blacksmithing pieces from all over.”
Brum recommends the festival for the whole family. “Blacksmiths get together with each other at conferences all the time, but what’s special about Fire on the Mountain is that it’s a festival where blacksmiths get together with the general public and educate them about what they’re doing today. That’s what’s important to me and why I volunteer to try to help make this a popular event.”
For more information, photos and updates, visit the Fire on the Mountain Blacksmithing Festival Facebook page.
Spring brings a host of other outdoor arts events and juried art exhibitions. The Randolph Arts Guild assembles the work of more than 30 artists and artisans for an annual juried fine arts and crafts show called Art on Sunset. This year its fourth annual show becomes part of ART MAY-HAM held Saturday, May 8, in downtown Asheboro in collaboration with the City of Asheboro and Habitat for Humanity. For more information, visit www.randolphartsguild.com or call (336) 629-0399.
The Durham Arts Council presents the Durham Art Walk Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. Take your pick of more than 400 participating artists and also visit retail spaces, galleries and creative downtown businesses during this family-friendly event, which also features live music and local food. For more information, visit www.durhamartwalk.com or call (919) 560-ARTS.
The Arts Council of Wayne County’s Jazz on George brings arts and music to downtown Goldsboro Saturday, April 17, from 3 to 9 p.m. It features a free kid’s art project and jazz musicians including the Shawnette Beaty Trio, Jeff Grimes & friends featuring Linda Little, and The Steve Bassett Band. The festival takes place on the 100 block of North George Street. For more information visit www.artsinwayne.org or call (919) 736-3300.
The Fourth Annual Storytelling Festival of Carolina brings truth telling and yarn spinning at its best to the historic John Blue House in Laurinburg Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25. Professional storytellers include children’s book author and storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy; storyteller, arts educator and singer-songwriter Andy Offutt Irwin; traditional storyteller Doug Elliott; “sto’etry” (story and poetry) teller Mitch Capel; childhood storyteller Kim Weitkamp; and retired high school English teacher and storyteller Gwen Rainer. Food, craft and storytelling resource vendors also will be on hand. The festival begins Friday, April 23 with family storytelling from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and continues Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.sfoc.info or call (910) 276-4179.
Saturday, May 15, marks the season premiere of Art in the Park, a series of six juried art and fine handcraft shows held in Blowing Rock through October. Work includes painting, etching, stained and blown glass, basketry, wood carving and turning, clay, photography, fiber, jewelry and more. Shows are held monthly and run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the American Legion Grounds, Park Avenue and Wallingford Street in Blowing Rock. For additional dates and more information, visit www.blowingrock.com/artinthepark or call (828) 295-7851.
The Rowan Arts Council hosts its seventh annual Art on Easy Street Festival Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival draws more than 3,000 people to the corner of North Main and East Liberty streets in downtown Salisbury for local and regional arts, crafts and live musical performances, along with a family fun day hosted by Waterworks Visual Arts Center. Easy Street is a restored pedestrian street that connected the train depot to downtown Salisbury in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Artist and vendor applications are being taken through April 17 — for more information, visit www.rowanarts.org or call (704) 638-9887.
For more arts events, check the N.C. Arts Council’s event calendar by visiting ncarts.org/event_calendar.cfm.