The highly anticipated Columbia Festival of the Arts begins on June 14th with the highly acclaimed The Stoop Storytelling Series at the Smith Theatre at Howard Community College. If you have never seen The Stoop Storytelling Series, it is an enjoyable experience as you hear personal stories told by a mix of professional and non-professional speakers. There is some audience participation and it is extremely humorous and entertaining. If you have seen it, you already know this renown group is always worth another visit.
Friday night, June 15th starts the free Lakefest Weekend at the Lakefront in Columbia. The performances start at 5PM on Friday with the School of Rock Columbia and include Nelly’s Echo, Chopteeth Afro Funk Big Band, and a highlight of the night, and the weekend, eVenti Verticali: Wanted, which incorporates different elements of various art forms to create a show for the whole family. The troupe returns to the stage Saturday afternoon and night.
Musical performances start at noon, including an appearance of the Navy Band Cruisers. Sunday begins at noon with the Wilde Lake Steel Drum Band and ends with appearances from the Columbia Jazz Band and, traditionally, the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble. Check the website for all the acts and times. Remember to check out the Arts and Crafts Show and Sale and the ManneqART Exhibit.
Other highlights, though not free, are The Other Mozart by Sylvia Milo at the Smith Theatre on Friday, June 22nd at 8PM. This one-person play revolves around Wolfgang’s sister Nannerl, a forgotten genius and musical prodigy. One Man Dark Knight A Batman Parody with Charlies Ross is for those who like witty homages to their favorite superhero or movie icon. This runs at the Smith Theatre on Saturday, June 23rd at 8PM.
For those interested in unique films catch Sprout Films on Saturday June 23rd at 4PM, or Sundance Shorts on Tour on June 24th at 1PM and 4PM. For the kids there is Jedi Academy at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods where kids can come as their favorite Star Wars character and have a ball. That is on Saturday, June 24th from 3-4PM and is free. Gates open at 2PM. The final performance will be Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Memphis at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School on June 29th at 8PM, which is described as a collection of blues and soul from that wonderful city.
I had a fast chat with David Philips, Executive Director of the Columbia Festival of the Arts. He highly recommends catching eVenti Verticali: Wanted at the Lakefront, The Other Mozart, One-Man Dark Knight A Batman Parody, and Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Memphis. But he also gives a big nod to Sundance Shorts on Tour and The Stoop Storytelling Series. He also stated this year there will be 60 visual artists at the Fine Arts and Crafts Show with a wide variety of art pieces at a wide a variety of prices.
The Festival falls on Father’s Day this year, and the theme is fun and arts for the whole family. So, grab the kiddies and join in on the fun. Remember you don’t have to live in Columbia or Howard County to come to the Festival.
The Columbia Festival of the Arts runs June 14-June 29, 2018, at various places throughout Columbia, MD. For more information on the Lakefront schedule of performance groups, and for information on the other performances and film programs, as well as purchasing tickets go online.