DALLAS – For the twenty-second year in a row, the Deep Ellum Arts Fest return to celebrate art, music and the community that supports it. The free Festival runs from April 1st through the 3rd.
The layout of this year’s event is similar to years past and it’s still on Main Street, however the location has been moved a few blocks away from the District’s heart, to its eastern side. The Festival lines are from Malcolm X Blvd, eastward all the way to Exposition Avenue (which is basically the edge of Fair Park).
The center promenade is filled with artists of all types. Anything that you could think of that’s hand-made, is represented; from jewelry makers to painters and sculptors, to photographers and clothing designers and every niche in between.
Competition for floor space started early, with over 700 individuals and organizations vying for less than 300 exhibitor slots. Selection was no easy task, but as completion breeds excellence, you can expect the very best of what the region has to offer.
One of the neat things this year is the Art for Dumpsters contest. The project itself, put on by the Dallas Zero Waste program aims to “bring art to public spaces by taking mundane recycle containers and providing a new canvas for expression”, and hopes that “Through art, recycling dumpsters can be used in a way that shines light on the message of environmental stewardship and encourages dialogue on the topic.” Beginning in March, pre-lims took place and the five best artists were chosen to recreate their winning work on actual dumpster, situated just in front of the PBR stage at Malcolm X blvd. Visitors are encouraged to take photos and tag them @dallaszerowaste. The painted and wrapped dumpsters will be on display again for May Day celebrations and then in June they placed throughout the city. Visit the Dallas Zero Waste Facebook page for more info.
In addition to the usual Fair fare of turkey legs and corn dogs, local eateries are also taking part. Food vendors accept cash and like in years before, beer vendors accept tickets only. There are an assortment of Ticket Booths situated throughout the Festival grounds. Tickets are sold in strips of ten, for $10. Many nearby bars and venues are having specials all weekend long to coincide with the Festival.
There are four stages; two large stages at either end and two smaller stages on the southern side of Main nearest Commerce Street, at Hall Street and at Trunk Avenue.
Sons of Hermann Hall, on the north side of Main at Exposition, will host musicians and poets in two of its rooms, during the Festival. There are two small artist performance areas at Walton Street and at Murray Street, as well.
Over 120 bands, musical acts and spoken word artists are scheduled during the three day event. Set times are displayed on banners on each of the four main stages. Sons of Hermann Hall shows are posted outside the rear entrance off of Main Street.
The final day is when the famous Pet Parade takes place. The event begins at Noon at the dog park and runs to the Singer/Songwriter stage at Hall. Registration begins at 11:00 a.m. at the dog park or you can register online is required and there will be prizes for Best Trick, Best Costume and for Best Personality.
For more information, set times and the Festival map, visit http://www.deepellumartsfestival.com/
Words and photos by Ryan Javier