By Tara Bennett
Mardi Gras may have come and gone, but festival season is still going strong as FestforAll returns to downtown Baton Rouge this weekend, providing art, food, a full lineup of musicians and lots of fun for the whole family.
Sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, this event features 100 artists from throughout Louisiana and across the country. The festival takes place on March 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The location will primarily be around North Boulevard Town Square and on the grounds of the Old State Capitol and the Shaw Center for the Arts. Admission to the event is free.
This spring will mark 42 years for the festival as a showcase of the arts in Baton Rouge, and has been long considered a premier Baton Rouge event for its level of quality and variety.
“The hallmarks of FestForAll have always been a tremendous representation of visual artists, an eclectic mix of musical genres from the region’s best talent, and the FestForAll Children’s Village,” said Sandy Parfait, Projects and Technology director for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. “FestForAll is Baton Rouge’s only two day art and music festival. It has a long history with the public as a celebration of the arts and a fantastic reputation among the artists as a well-organized festival that keeps them coming back year after year.”
Festival goers will be able to view live art demonstrations in action. Among the demonstrations will be live painting with Community School for the Arts Instructor, Anita LeJeune, demos in wheel throwing and hand-building techniques at the Southern Pottery Clay Mobile, and chainsaw wood sculptures with Burt Fleming. The festival offers many one-of-a-kind art pieces made for purchase, ranging in mediums including woodwork, crafts, glasswork, decorative ceramics, jewelry, as well as paintings in bold acrylics, vivid oils and delicate watercolors.
“My favorite part of FestForAll is the shopping,” said Parfait. “FestForAll always falls around my birthday and this year a week before Easter, so I always treat myself to some new jewelry, pottery, or hand-blown glass. There is always something new and fantastic from these talented visual artists.”
New this year to FestForAll is the partnership with Rob Chidester, director of Royal Cyclops Productions, to program a dynamic roster of musicians and performing artists presented on satellite stages throughout the festival site. The lively entertainment for the 2015 festival includes an array of music ranging from jazz, Cajun zydeco, country, blues, funk, and rock. The music lineup features Grammy-award-winning artists as well as many local and regional favorites including The Blues Project; R&B singer Justin Garner; Chris Thomas King, son of Blues legend Thomas “Tabby” King, Delta Drifters; pop singer Serabee; Guy Forsyth; Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Funkin at FestForAll, featuring the Soul JukeBoxx, DJ Marquis, and comedian Howard Hall.
Budding young artists can enjoy free art activities all weekend on the grounds of Louisiana’s old State Capitol Building at the Children’s Village with highlighted activities including children’s stage performances, bounce houses, face painting, balloon twister, hands-on art activities with George Rodrigue Blue Dog and Mardi Gras themes, and mini art lessons provided by Arts Council’s Community Arts and Outreach program. Since FestForAll will take place the weekend before Easter this year, a special art egg hunt is planned around the grounds of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.
Food and beverages will be available throughout the festival, including bloomin’ onions from the Texas Custom Catering, Chicken Shack, Snow-2-go, Crazy Cajun and icy treats from Snow Day. Mockler Beverage and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola beverages will also be available for sale.
“It’s gonna be a beautiful and sunny weekend, and the perfect chance for everyone to shake off the winter, get outdoors and have some fun,” said Parfait.
For more festival information visit acgbr.com.