If you love music and art, you don’t want to miss Artscape 2017. Artscape is your chance to see lots of cool art and performances without paying a dime.Artscape is back Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23 in Baltimore’s Mount Royal Neighborhood. Artscape 2017, in its 25-year history, has become America’s largest free arts festival with an estimated 350,000 people attending during the three days of free exhibits and entertainment. While the festival is host to over 150 fine art exhibits, crafts, vendors, photography, art cars and visual arts, the main attraction perhaps is the jam-packed schedule of free live performances that include film screenings, theatre, opera, local, national and internationally known bands. In previous years, the festival’s main stage has drawn big name musical acts such as Ray Charles, Blues Traveler and Matisyahu. Plus, well-known touring bands such as Michael Franti and Spearhead, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Grammy-winner Ozomatli, Burning Spear, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Jah Works and a countless list of others have been in attendance. This year the Johns Hopkins stage will showcase local Indie bands, while dance music DJ’s are scheduled as the stage’s closing acts from 9 p.m. to 11.p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening. The musical performances start on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. The musical acts booked on the main stage this year range from R&B to Blues, Soul/Neo Soul, “gypsy” punk, classical jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop and reggae. Beyond the stages, don’t be surprised to see bands and DJ’s performing amongst the vendors, street artists and exhibits lined up on the streets as well street theatre performances, impromptu drum circles and dancing. The main musical headliners this year are Shelia E. on Friday, Gogol Bordello on Saturday and Robert Randolph and the Family band will close out the festivities Sunday evening. Other notables in the lineup include The Players Band and Wordsmith. The festival has grown enormously in its more recent history, every year there seems to be something new and different, while the art and music that have it made such a big draw remains intact.
Movie buffs, meanwhile, will want to check out the film screenings provided by the Maryland Film festival at the newly opened Stavros Niarchos Parkway. While the films and film schedule have not been announced yet, Artscape has screened animated cartoons as well as underground movies and documentaries. If Opera is your thing, you will want to head over to the MICA Brown Center where a full weekend schedule is planned. The Corpus Christi church will host folk and classical musical performances and the Baltimore City Orchestra will give a performance Friday evening at the Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall on Cathedral Street. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 p.m. until late, comedian Josh Kuderna will host LOL@Artscape located on 1727 North Charles street. LOL@Artscape features local and regional stand-up comedians afterhours and is also free. Festival goers should note that LOL@Artscape is 18+. Artscape is accessible by car, and each year that I have attended nearby parking was never too hard to find. Baltimore’s bus and rail service also runs frequently if you would rather not drive and have to deal with parking. For event locations, schedules and general info visit Artscape’s website. Will you be attending Artscape? Let us know in the comments!