Art, music and more will return to downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park in April, featuring more artists than ever before.
The three-day festival will be Friday through Sunday, April 27-29.
On Thursday, Arts Huntsville unveiled the poster artwork and announced the headlining acts for the 36th Panoply Arts Festival.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong joined Arts Huntsville board, volunteers and staff at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau to announce details about the upcoming event.
This year, Arts Huntsville welcomes nearly 50 performances to the Panoply stages, 17 of which are new to the festival, including Victoria Jones, Remy Neal, Jubal, Campbell Station and Alex Banks.
Friday night includes performances by Alan Little on the Indie Stage and Unknown Lyric on the Showcase Stage. To close out the night, Nashville duo Striking Matches will perform. The duo’s music has been lauded by Rolling Stone magazine and described as “the sweet spot at the intersection of country, rock and blues.” Fans of Nashville have heard the band’s songs performed by the show’s lead cast members in its first four seasons.
Saturday, April 28, will showcase local and regional talent throughout the day. The Huntsville duo The Retrovales will return for their second year at Panoply, this year offering their harmonies as the opening act for Saturday night’s headlining performance.
Panoply organizers are excited to welcome 2018 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Steven Page to the Showcase Stage. Festival-goers may recognize many of his songs from the radio, including “It’s all Been Done,” “Brian Wilson,” and “If I Had A Million Dollars” from his former life as a founding member of the Canadian rock band the Barenaked Ladies. In his solo career, Page has continued his artistic evolution. In 2016, he released his latest album, Heal Thyself, Part One: Instinct, followed by a two-week critically acclaimed residency at New York City’s storied Café Carlyle. He will release his follow-up album, Heal Thyself: Part Two, later this year.
On Sunday afternoon, April 29, the entertainment continues with another Nashville band, The New Respects. NPR Music describes the group’s sound as a “bright-eyed take on old-school rock.” American Blues Scene said the group “has the energy of House of Pain on espresso,” with lead vocalist Jasmine Mullen hypnotizing audiences with her barefoot dancing, testifying vocals and authoritative stage presence. Last year, Rolling Stone proclaimed the group one of “10 Artists You Need to Know.”
A playlist of this year’s Panoply Arts Festival musicians is available at artshuntsville.org.
Juried art show
This year, the juried Art Marketplace, presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, will include more artists than ever before. One of the most popular features of the festival, the Art Marketplace, will feature 110 artists from 16 states providing prime shopping in a beautiful setting in and around the newly renovated Big Spring Park. Of the 110 exhibitors, 40 percent are new to the festival and more than 26 North Alabama artists will showcase their work.
Panoply poster artist
A popular annual Panoply tradition is the commissioning of an original artwork to serve as the poster for the event. This year, local artist and small-business owner Christina Wegman was chosen as the 2018 Panoply Poster Artist. For the past two years, Christina has showcased her work as a Panoply Arts in Action artist, where she has painted en plein air for festival attendees. Wegman’s love of exploration and beauty has shaped her work over the years and led her to a full-time career as an artist and local business owner in downtown Huntsville. Her fine arts education has come mostly by means of observation, visiting museums, and the artistic legacy passed on to her by her grandfather, a sculptor, and her mother, an artist and teacher.
“Christina has captured the spirit of Panoply while painting onsite at the festival over the past two years, and we wanted to celebrate her love of Huntsville as our 2018 Panoply poster artist. She has combined both her abstract and traditional styles to give us a creative twist on everything from the festival fireworks to our beloved Art Marketplace,” said Allison Dillon-Jauken, Arts Huntsville executive director.
Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) interactives and hands-on art activities return to Panoply again this year, giving festival-goers of all ages the chance to discover scientific lessons through art and to get in touch with their creative side.
STEAM interactives include:
• Defense Acquisition University’s Golden Gadget — Festival-goers will learn about the golden ratio through art, architecture and nature after which they will make their own golden ratio divider.
• Huntsville Ballet Company’s Rocket Dancers — Festival-goers will learn the physics of a leap and then make a straw rocket.
• Huntsville STEAMworks’ Wonder Whirlers presented by WOW! Internet, Cable, and Phone — Using a chipboard, festival-goers will learn the science of optics by making a Thaumatrope and observe a zoetrope.
• Huntsville AL L5 Society’s Go-Go Lunar Rovers presented by National Space Club — Festival-goers are off to the races to learn about different types of energy as they make and test a car made from household items.
Others hands-on activities will include:
• Ferocious Fire Breathers presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama — Festival-goers will create ferocious fire-breathing dragons made from up-cycled materials
• Gigantic Geometry – Using brightly colored yarn, festival-goers will create large-scale geometric shapes in the park
• Brilliant Birdies presented by Randolph School – Colorful watercolor birds
• Puck’s Portals presented by Parkway Place Mall – Whimsical fairy doors made with popsicle sticks, buttons and paint
• Huntsville Symphony Guild’s Discover Music presented by Nicole Jones Commercial Real Estate — Huntsville Symphony Guild returns with its instrument petting zoo.
• Face painting presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama – Festival-goers can get their faces painted at one of the largest and most popular tents in the park
Tiles from an iconic piece of Huntsville public art gets new life at Panoply Arts Festival. First Baptist Church will lead the community in creating a new mural using pieces from the beloved Cosmic Jesus mural that is currently undergoing renovation off Governor’s Drive. The final mosaic piece of art, created by festival-goers, will be placed on display somewhere in the city to live long after the festival weekend ends.
Military Salute Night
Another Panoply tradition continues Friday, April 27. Military Salute Night, sponsored by Dynetics, will welcome active-duty military, Armed Forces reserves and their dependents to the park for a free evening of entertainment. The evening will feature a performance by the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band.
Beer, food, etc.
Festival-goers can enjoy local tastes along with Panoply’s diverse array of art and music. The popular craft beer tent returns. Presented by Wind Creek Wetumpka, it will feature beer from breweries across this region. This year it will once again feature a special Panoply beer, brewed specifically for the festival by longtime festival partner Straight To Ale. Panoply will also showcase a great assortment of festival food and food trucks.
Enjoy music and performances at three outdoor stages with open-air seating. Festival patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to sit on as they enjoy the lineup of Panoply performers. You can also purchase branded festival chairs in the Panoply stores.
Friday and Saturday nights end with a stunning fireworks display sponsored by Delta Research.
Arts Huntsville is once again offering a Panoply weekend pass available online in advance for just $18. The pass offers an affordable way to enjoy Panoply’s diverse entertainment all weekend. Weekend passes are only available until 4 p.m. Friday, April 27. Day passes are $10 and can be purchased in advance online or at the event. “Rain or Shine” VIP concert tickets are also now available for $120, and include a weekend pass to Panoply Arts Festival, priority seating, Panoply festival chair, and a meet-and-greet event with Steven Page.
Tickets are on sale now at artshuntsville.org.
Children ages 12 and under are admitted free.