Athens Community Arts and Music Festival returns after two year hiatus with a diverse line up of music, theater, and more
By: Emily Votaw
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Athens Community Arts and Music Festival (ACAMF) returns tomorrow after a two year pause due to Covid. Attending the festival is free. Festivities kick off at noon and will fill the stretch of West Union Street bookended by Congress and Court Streets.
This year’s event spotlights several regional arts organizations, including the Athens Photographic Project, Ohio Valley Summer Theater (OVST), Arts West, Factory Street Dance Studio, The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Stuart’s Opera House, and more.
Participating organizations and vendors will line the perimeter of the festival area with booths, each one of them bringing something unique to the event. These booths are in addition to a stage which will host live music and a whole lot more throughout the day.
“I don’t know of any other festivals in the area that would have a set from an amazing singer-songwriter like Adam Remnant and then pieces from a musical right after it,” said longtime festival organizer Scott Winland. “In the middle of the lineup you may have a band followed by a flash mob from the Factory Street Dance Studio – which is just really cool. I like that we can mix it up, and it’s not just like going to a concert – or at least not a typical concert.”
This will be the first year ACAMF is a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) event, meaning that attendees will have the opportunity to take alcoholic drinks from either of the DORA bars on Union Street (Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery or The Union) and enjoy them out in the street area of the festival. Winland said Jackie O’s will even have a takeout window for this purpose.
Winland said ACAMF has roots in the Athens Community Music Festival he first organized in 1999 with the help of local business person Jim Fuller. Initially the Athens Community Music Festival took place on the top of the City’s parking garage, but within a few years it migrated to local music venues.
When Winland became a member of the Athens Municipal Arts Commission (AMAC), he posed the idea of shutting down a section of Union Street to host the festival. He found support for the idea from AMAC, the Athens City Council, and Mayor Steve Patterson.
Winland said the pandemic still impacted the organizing of this year’s festival, even if it didn’t lead to its cancellation.
“We’ve all been in this strange sort of adjustment period. I think it’s beyond ‘are things gonna be open?’ or ‘How long is this pandemic going to be impactful?’” he said. “I think also philosophically everybody had a weird shift in deciding how much they go out, how much they plan in advance for things.”
Although planning this year’s event has been different than in past years, Winland said the abundance of help he’s received in planning ACAMF 2022 has made organizing much less strenuous. Winland said one of the people who have been key in organizing the festival is Talcon Quinn, who happens to be the daughter of Jim Fuller, who helped Winland catalyze the Athens Community Music Festival over 20 years ago.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we get to do this sort of thing in our town,” Winland said. “We live in the kind of place where you can go to the mayor of the city with an idea like this, and not only do you get support, that idea flowers into something this cool.”
The Athens Community Arts and Music Festival takes place Saturday, August 13 on Union Street between College and Court Street. The festival is free and kicks off at noon.