Expanded RiverArtsFest promises 'great party'

Andrew Johnson, "Triple Thatch"

Andrew Johnson, "Triple Thatch"

RiverArtsFest

Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., in conjunction with the South Main Trolley Tour; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission, $5 on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission Friday night and Sunday, 10 a.m. until noon. Children 10 and under free. Visit riverartsmemphis.org

MUSIC LINEUP

Memphis Music Foundation Stage

Civil Rights Museum Plaza

- Saturday -

11 a.m.: Mark Edgar Stuart, Chris Milam, J.D. Reager

12:30 p.m. The Memphis Dawls

2 p.m. Kenny Brown band

3:15 p.m. Wuvbirds

4:30 p.m. Jack Oblivian & the Tennessee Tearjerkers

- Sunday -

11 a.m. Heavy Eyes

11:55 a.m. Break

12:15 p.m. Chinese Connection Dub Embassy

1:30 p.m. Jamille JAM Hunter

2:50 p.m. Myla Smith

4:05 p.m. Dead Soldiers

GE Patterson Stage

- Saturday -

10:30 a.m. CC Hill/JuJu Bushman/Barbara Lester

11:30 a.m. Michaelyn Oby

12:30 p.m. Devin Crutcher

1:30 p.m. D’Monet & Ess Tribe

2:30 p.m. 3rd Degree

3:30 p.m. Black Rock Revival

4:30 p.m. The Barnes Family

- Sunday -

10:45 a.m. Robert Belfour

Noon. Eric Hughes

1:45 p.m. Brandon Bailey

2:30 p.m. Reba Russell Trio

3:45 p.m. Eden Brent Band

South Main — Central Station (Far End Stage)

- Saturday -

10 a.m. Max Pickard & Adam Miles

10:30 a.m. KC

11:05 a.m. Dan Montgomery

12:05 p.m. Three Degrees

12:40 p.m. Kim Garmon and Emma Webb

1:10 p.m. Cumberland Collective

2:20 p.m. Rush

3 p.m. Deering and Down

4 p.m. Bobby O Neal & Jimmy Anderson

4:30 p.m. Nancy Apple and the WDB

- Sunday -

11 a.m. She Said

12:15 p.m. Yancy & Yancy

1:30 p.m. 7th and Swing

2:45 p.m. McQueen

4 p.m. Dante Everhart and The End Time Movement

Bob Hartzell, "Plane and Barn"

Bob Hartzell, "Plane and Barn"

Phyllis Minnery, "Blue Magic"

Phyllis Minnery, "Blue Magic"

Elliott Hubbard, "Music All Around"

Elliott Hubbard, "Music All Around"

Mike Guyot, 'B.B. King's' 2012 RiverArtsFest

Mike Guyot, "B.B. King's" 2012 RiverArtsFest

A vortex of art, music and food converges this weekend for RiverArtsFest, the end-of-October event that last year brought some 80,000 visitors to South Main.

Now in its sixth year, the festival expands from two days to three by starting Friday in conjunction with the monthly last-Friday South Main Art Trolley Tour, in what Lee Askew, one of the festival's perennial organizers, promises will be "a great party."

Another new feature: an admission fee. On Friday, the festival is free, but on Saturday and Sunday, admission is $5, with a two-hour window on Sunday for free admission; children 10 and younger get in free.

"We talked about the issue extensively," said Askew, "and we had to acknowledge that everything is going up in price. This is an all-volunteer group, but this year we're spending $32,000 to get the word out in billboards and other forms of advertising. Security costs $25,000. The cost of cleaning up the street has increased.

"When you count renting the stages and setting up and the electronics and paying the musicians, that's all about $20,000. Those costs have to be offset, or it's curtains for the festival."

So while Friday's 6 to 9 Trolley Tour and festival Artist Market require no admission, the $5 fee applies Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.; there is no entry fee Sunday from 10 a.m. until noon. South Main residents and businesses will receive identifying wristbands.

Also Friday is the RiverArtsFest Preview Party, at 431 S. Main, featuring a wine tasting, food, music and other entertainment. Tickets are $25 and include the preview party as well as a weekend pass for the festival.

This year's RiverArtsFest includes an expanded artist market with more than 170 artists and craftsmen from across the country who will present works for sale in painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, glass, toys and other mediums, fashions and functions.

About 45 musicians and groups will perform on the festival's three stages, representing a wide range of styles and musical forms.

"We partner with a number of organizations," said Catrina Guttery, director of artist relations and business manager for the Memphis Music Foundation, "like the Memphis Songwriters Association, NeoSoulsville and Shangri-La, and we work with them to organize and book the stages."

The stages — the Memphis Music Foundation Stage at the Civil Rights Museum Plaza, the G.E. Patterson Stage and the Far End Stage-Central Station — don't necessarily have unified themes, Guttery said.

"We want to make sure that there's a diversity of groups and types of music. And we make sure that the bands who are performing take this as an opportunity to sell merchandise, whether it's T-shirts or CDs. Part of the foundation's purpose is to encourage the business of music, and the festival is a good occasion for doing that."

Expect to hear jazz, blues, hard rock, R&B, bluegrass, traditional jug bands, Latin music, soul, country, folk and classical.

There will be innovation in the festival's food offerings this year.

"We're trying to get away from the old funnel-cake and fairground-type of food," said Askew.

To that end, Ben Smith, owner and chef of Tsunami and the RiverArtsFest food chairman, has arranged for food trucks from local restaurants to be on hand to offer more variety and perhaps more healthful fare.

The creative element of the festival includes "Hands on Art," a station for creative people of all ages to express themselves artistically, and "Artist in Motion" areas techniques of glass fusion, papermaking, watercolor, woodcut printmaking, encaustic painting, metal sculpture and more will be demonstrated.

© 2012 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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