Baton Rouge – The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, along with a growing number of artists, creatives, engineers, architects, and others, are creating a new festival for Baton Rouge.
The Ebb & Flow Festival, to be held April 1 and 2, 2017, is one that will invite innovation, intrigue, and inspiration to visitors through unique artistic offerings, makerspaces, and music that are both local and global.
Historically, Baton Rouge has served as a conduit for other culturally rich locations throughout the state, but has not claimed a clear cultural identity of its own, one which embraces not only the past but also the future path for the city.
The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge sought to use its tradition of providing accessible arts and cultural offerings in a festival setting to drive a strong cultural brand for the Capital City.
This festival, which promises public accessibility of high quality performing and visual arts, water industry and ecology exhibits, and interactive experiences tied to themes associated with Ebb & Flow, will showcase the city’s meaningful location on the Mississippi River.
The timing of the event, the first weekend of April, will allow the festival to serve as the official opening celebration for Louisiana’s festival season, and has been endorsed as such by the Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor, with the myriad of traditional festivals to follow.
Another nod to timing is the launch of this event in the bicentennial year of the city’s incorporation, tagged BR200 by Visit Baton Rouge.
Many organizations, museums, artists, and musicians from around the State, including NUNU Arts and Culture Collective in Arnaudville, NOVAC, and West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen, will be represented at the two-day event, providing interactive creative experiences, further identifying the Capital City as a creative community hub.
Temporary sculptural installations will be displayed along the walking path of the levee. A 22-figure public sculptural exhibit, BORDERS, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir who is traveling from Iceland for the festival, will premiere and will remain in the city for 12 months.
The Human Library, a national project brought in by East Baton Rouge Parish Library, will be part of the Storytelling Village, along with typewriter poets, and oral historians.
BREC, BRCC, EBR Library, Bike Baton Rouge, LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, LSU, Southern University, and other community, science, and ecology groups will expand the experience for attendees beyond the typical scope of an arts festival to showcase Baton Rouge’s unique place on the country’s largest river and its important role in water research and the river industry.
“We have been overwhelmed by the way people in this region have embraced the concept of Ebb & Flow, evidenced by the many civic, community, and arts groups who so willingly and generously have volunteered to participate,” said Renee Chatelain, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.
“The city is poised to embrace this cultural branding, and our staff is inspired daily by what people want to bring to the festival. From yarn bombers to makerspaces to plans to innovative print making by the Baton Rouge Gallery, Baton Rouge natives and visitors are in for an incredible treat.”
Children’s activities in and around the USS Kidd, dubbed “Kidd’s Corner,” are sponsored by Junior League and developed in coordination with USS Kidd Museum, which will also offer tours of the USS Kidd.
LSU Museum of Art, Playmakers of Baton Rouge, Opera Louisiane, and Baton Rouge Music Studios, along with traveling artists like Washboard Willie, promise to delight children as well as inform.
Music headliners Tab Benoit and Cameo will be joined by a diverse array of music artists from Gospel, Reggae, Flamenco, and Gypsy Jazz to Mariachi, Country-Western, Folk and Zydeco.
Listening to great and varied music performances is a Louisiana tradition, along with a bit of dancing, and in honor of that tradition, music continues throughout the weekend on stages located near the Baton Rouge Riverfront and in Repentance Park.
Performances at the Old State Capitol, along with storytelling booths and exhibitions by the West Baton Rouge Museum on the river’s Creole culture honor this history.
LASM will offer many great activities for the festival as well. Because the festival is the first weekend in April, First Free Sundays will provide an opportunity for festival goers to experience the incredible offerings in science, history, art and humanities at museum venues without charge.
The Riverfront dock will be turned into a theater-in-the-round, suspended over the Mississippi, with performances by chamber music, poetry recitations, performance art, and several singer-songwriters from the 3rd Street Singer/Songwriters Festival.
Other pop-up performances and surprises await visitors during the weekend as well.
Studies prove that exciting cultural identities transform a city economically and educationally, as well as improve quality of life. Austin, Memphis, and Nashville are a few prominent examples among many.
Baton Rouge, with the coming of the Water Institute of the Gulf, the continued development of downtown, and the established river industry, is ready to be discovered as the next exciting place to live, work, and play.
Plans for the Ebb & Flow Festival in the coming years include expanding the footprint of the festival along the levee, interactive barge experiences, and a Baton Rouge Barge Biennale, where winners of an internationally juried design competition will exhibit on the barges.
For the full music line up, to volunteer for the festival, or for further information, visit www.ebbandflowbr.org or call the Arts Council at 225-344-8558.