Local music focus brings `more life' to Sowebo art festival

Performers, artists gather at Hollins Market event

Outside: sports, activities, events

May 27, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Warm weather is here, and with its arrival comes a new season of outdoor festivals.

From tiny ethnic celebrations to the annual blowout known as Artscape, these events have for years been a big part of Charm City's spring and summer entertainment calendar.

And Sunday, the party tradition - with its classic array of tasty carnival treats, entertainment, and arts and crafts marketplaces - continues at the 19th annual Sowebo Arts Festival.

Reliance on the usual festival fare makes this yearly fete much like many other local celebrations. But organizers say the event's new focus on live, homegrown music will set it apart from other outdoor affairs.

"Baltimore has many festivals, but this probably [has] the highest volume of musical performances - and everything is local," said spokesman Jim Hickey. "We want to promote the resources that we have here around us."

More than 50 acts, including jam band Black-Eyed Susan and punk outfit Mongoloidian Glow, will perform on four stages during the nine-hour happening, which begins at noon in the area surrounding historic Hollins Market.

This year's Sowebo Festival will also feature an array of creative events and activities, including dance performances, interactive art opportunities for kids and an art show in the local Carriage House - all planned in an attempt to show off and "bring more life" to one of the city's oldest artist enclaves, said Hickey.

"A lot of people aren't aware of the underground art and music scene in this town. Our community was once a very popular art community, [but creative-minded people] kind of drifted away a little bit," Hickey said of his Southwest Baltimore neighborhood, which has now begun to see a resurgence after years of neglect and disrepair.

The festival, he hopes, will "show people that ... we do have an amazing art and music scene right here in town."

The Sowebo Arts Festival will take place from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday in the area surrounding historic Hollins Market, at 1100 Hollins St. For more information, visit www.soweboarts.org.

Musical acts

This year's Sowebo Arts Festival will feature more than 50 live music acts. Here's a list of just a few that will appear on stage:

The Players -- ska

Mayan Factor -- quirk-rock

Living Proof -- reggae

Power Movement Project -- funk

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