Indianapolis Music + Art Festival


Harrison Center hosts annual outdoor celebration

In cities and towns across America, chances are pretty good you’ll find a McDonald’s, Wal-Mart or Borders Books. Some might call this cultural homogenization, and one is left to wonder what makes one city different from the next. Part of the answer can be found in a city’s art and music scene.

People right here in Indianapolis are making art and writing music that is unique and special to this city. The Sixth Annual Independent Music + Art Festival on Saturday, June 9 is a celebration of such artists and musicians. The free one-day event at the Harrison Center for the Arts will feature 17 local bands performing throughout the day and more than a dozen local artists displaying and selling their work.

Joanna Taft, executive director of the Harrison Center for the Arts, says this event is a day to embrace and show support for all artists in our community. Oftentimes, she says, these cultural contributors are overlooked or underpaid.

Musician Otis Gibbs shares similar sentiments. “At each show, I take time to tell people that I’m from the city and state that brought us artists like Kurt Vonnegut, John Hiatt, Steve McQueen and free thinkers like Eugene Debs,” Gibbs says. “Indiana has always had its share of creative individuals, but we do a poor job celebrating them.”

IMAF is not only a celebration of talent but also an opportunity to give local artists and musicians the respect they deserve. At this gig, the bands are paid more than what they’ll get at typical venues. They’re fed and given a “green room” to mingle and interact with other artists. Stereo Deluxe singer Jay Elliott sees the festival as a way to reach new audiences. “It’s an all-ages show, so we’re hoping to gain some new [fans] under 21,” Elliott says. “They seem to take the music a lot more seriously than bar crowds do, which is refreshing.”

The event began as a music festival in 2002, drawing 500 people the first year. Since then, Indiana artists have been included and there has been a steady growth in popularity. This year, attendance is expected to reach 4,000 people. IMAF coordinator Mandy Schwartzentrouber, who has been planning the event since last August, says the band lineup has caught the eye of many. Some say it is one of the best lineups for any Indianapolis music festival this summer, as well as one of the best lineups the Harrison has ever showcased.

Schwartzentrouber added, “Feedback and support from the community over this event has been phenomenal. I think there is a growing support for local music and appreciation for the arts happening in Indianapolis.”

This year’s IMAF is also unique, because it’s going to display Indy’s first outdoor art gallery. Weather resistant paintings by five local artists will be hung on the exterior walls of the Harrison Center for the Arts through September.

The music starts just after 11 a.m. and will play well into the evening. Gibbs is looking forward to his third year playing the event and says he sees the festival as “a good opportunity to showcase a small slice of the creative community of Indianapolis.”

What: The Sixth Annual Indianapolis Music + Art Festival

When: Saturday, June 9, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. free, all-ages

Where: Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, 317-396-3886

Band Lineup:

11:15 a.m. Jon Dick

11:50 a.m. Highway Magic

12:25 p.m. Tad Armstrong

1 p.m. Three Piece Suit

1:35 p.m. More Animals of the Arctic

2:10 p.m. State

2:45 p.m. Lord of the Yum Yum

3:20 p.m. Rob Dixon and Triology

3:55 p.m. Otis Gibbs

4:30 p.m. Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes

5:05 p.m. Ebenezer & the Hymnasters

5:40 p.m. Wolfy

6:15 p.m. Born Again Floozies

6:50 p.m. Rodeo Ruby Love

7:25 p.m. Mudkids

8 p.m. Everthus the Deadbeats

8:45 p.m. Stereo Deluxe