Thursday, The Arts Council, Inc. unveiled the poster artwork by local artist Heather Legge-Click and announced new activities and featured performers for the 32nd annual Panoply Arts Festival, to be held April 25 – 27, 2014 in downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park. Mayor Tommy Battle joined Arts Council officials at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau to announce details about the upcoming festivities. The Panoply team, comprised of Arts Council board members, volunteers and staff also revealed updated branding for Huntsville’s largest community event.
“Panoply is now in its fourth decade, and The Arts Council is always working to keep it fresh and entertaining,” said Arts Council executive director Allison Dillon-Jauken. “Our updated branding reflects Panoply’s mission as the Southeast’s premier arts weekend where Huntsville’s innovative spark shines through a festival of art, music and more.”
Panoply 2014 remains one of the most unique festivals in the nation, featuring a dynamic blend of visual arts, music and dance performances, international arts and culture, and interactive programming for all ages. Noted art and music highlights of the 32nd annual Panoply announced today include:
• Featured Musical Acts – This year’s Panoply lineup is a strong mix of Southern rock, bluesy sounds and more. “Our 2014 Panoply programming highlights the best of the best with a wide variety of performances from local favorites and emerging regional artists,” said Amber Farris, volunteer Festival Co-Chair. “From blues to Celtic, pop to Latin, Panoply has something for everyone.”
More than 60 Arts Council members and local performers will be showcased throughout the weekend, alongside visiting artists that represent the best new talent across the Southeast. On Friday night, the festival kicks off with a wealth of talent across five stages. Festivalgoers can grab a local craft brew and enjoy local legends such as Juice and Big Daddy Kingfish. Black Market Haggis, Bimini Redux and Toot & Twang will also entertain. Matthew Mayfield, a singer songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama, who focuses on powerful rock anthems will round out the rock and roll on Panoply’s Showcase Stage.
The Friday evening programming wraps up with fireworks and a performance by local favorite from Redstone Arsenal, the AMC Band. Saturday highlights homegrown talent as the festival features the best in area dance along with the preliminary round of Panoply’s popular Homegrown Talent competition. Valley favorites like Bourbon & Shamrocks, Whiskey River Kings and The Zooks will also play for Panoply attendees.
Saturday night gets a little blue at the Showcase Stage as The Jake Leg Stompers serve up tangy tastes of chicken-fried, pre-war, hokum-billy jug music and the Delta Saints energize the audience with their bourbon-fueled, bayou rock. On the Valley Jubilee stage, The Deslondes, a New Orleans based country-soul, swamp boogie band will have the joint jumping before they head back to New Orleans to play JazzFest.
“In addition to their upcoming gig at JazzFest, The Deslondes have toured previously with The Lumineers and are touring in May with the Alabama Shakes. Their country-soul sound, when combined with all the other great performances you can see at Panoply, ensures a weekend full of great music,” added Farris.
Sunday sees more local favorites in the park with plenty of performances throughout the day, including the final round of the Panoply Homegrown Talent competition. Panoply’s live entertainment will come to a close Sunday night with hometown stars Microwave Dave and Mambo Gris Gris, complete with a full horn section, rounding out the Festival on the Jubilee and Showcase Stages.
• Festival Seating – For the first time in recent history, Panoply will return to covered 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.
• Expanded Art Marketplace – Presented by TOYOTA Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, the juried Art Marketplace at Panoply is one of the most popular features of the festival. Showcasing 85 fine artists from 11 states, the Marketplace provides prime shopping in a beautiful setting over the Monroe Street bridge. Of the 85 exhibitors, 39 are new to the festival. More than 30 local artists will showcase their work, and 12 of those are individual artist members of The Arts Council.
In addition to great art and music, Panoply offers much more for festivalgoers. Other featured programming announced today for the 2014 weekend event includes:
• New Interactives for All Ages – Panoply is known for great art activities for kids, but the 2014 festival will take a fresh look at creativity, highlighting new interactives for all ages. With a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), these activities will be open to anyone willing to stretch their creative muscles while exploring art, music and more.
“This year festivalgoers will have a chance to discover scientific lessons through art such as velocity, centrifugal force and sound waves. We’re excited to watch the exploration happen with interactives like Color Comets, Creative Catapults, Picture This and others,” said Demetria Cruz, volunteer Festival co-chair.
• Creative Playspace – Included in the new interactives at Panoply, the festival’s Creative Playspace will be located on the lawn behind the Huntsville Museum of Art. This grassy space will serve as a play area open to festival patrons of any age – with oversized lawn games, hula-hooping lessons and other new, playful activities designed to unleash creativity and playful, imaginative ideas. The Creative Playspace is also located near Panoply’s new Testing Station, where festivalgoers can experiment with their Color Comets and Creative Catapults. Close by, Big Spring Park’s magnolia grove will display Panoply’s new STEAM-based Community Art projects.
• World Discovery Zone – Since 2006, Panoply has celebrated the region’s diverse international arts and culture. In 2014, Panoply will reinvent its international programming in the new World Discovery Zone. In all cultures throughout history, people have celebrated their heritage through art. This year Panoply will showcase displays depicting masks and jewelry found around the world, and festivalgoers will be able to create their own interpretations of these timeless art forms. The nearby World Discovery Stage will also host cultural performances by bands and dance ensembles.
• Military Salute Night – Friday, April 25th will be Military Salute Night, presented by Boeing. Featuring a performance by the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band, the evening’s admission will be free to active duty military, Armed Forces reserves and their dependents.
“At The Arts Council, we value the contribution the men and women in our military make to the Huntsville community on a daily basis, in addition to continually keeping us safe around the globe,” said Chuck Allen, president of The Arts Council Board of Directors. “This is a small way we can honor their extraordinary service, while offering them an evening to relax and enjoy all that Panoply has to offer.”
• The Return of Beer & Wine at Panoply – After a successful rollout at Panoply 2013, craft beer and wine will return to Panoply 2014 in a more accessible location adjacent to the Valley Jubilee Stage and Festival Food Zone. With a focus on the craft of brewing, this area brings an adult flavor to Huntsville’s largest downtown event.
• Online Ticketing and Discounted Advance Tickets – The Arts Council will continue to offer online ticketing for single day tickets, as well as the “First Dibs” Panoply Art Marketplace preview party for area art collectors. Advance tickets for the 2014 festival are available online on www.artshuntsville.org beginning today. Daily admission to Panoply will be $10.00 at the gate; tickets purchased online will be sold at a 25% discount for $7.50 per person until Friday, April 25th. Children 12 and under are admitted to the festival free of charge. Beginning April 1st, tickets can also be purchased in person at The Arts Council office, located in the Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville.
“With Panoply 2014 featuring over 60 performers, 85 fine artists, 9 interactives and so much more, there’s no greater entertainment value anywhere,” said Dillon-Jauken.
As a showcase event for Huntsville, Panoply relies on more than 1,800 community volunteers. The Arts Council Board of Directors, volunteers and staff are recruiting volunteers at www.artshuntsville.org and on the Council’s Facebook page. More information about The Arts Council programs and the 2014 Panoply Arts Festival is available at www.artshuntsville.org
The Arts Council, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1962 to stimulate and support community creativity and engagement by advancing the arts, entertainment and culture to enrich quality of life, education, and economic development in the greater Huntsville metropolitan region. Serving as an umbrella organization for more than 250 members in the arts, entertainment and cultural sector, The Arts Council focuses on five core community programs: Arts Promotion & Member Support, Arts Education, Galleries & Public Art, Concerts in the Park and the Panoply Arts Festival.