Athens Community Arts and Music Festival returns after two year hiatus with a diverse line up of music, theater, and more

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Athens Community Arts and Music Festival (ACAMF) returns Saturday 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.”

The poster for the Athens Community Arts and Music Festival. The poster is yellow-brown and has a sound hole as a part of its design. It reads: Saturday Aug. 13th 12 p.m. until 10 p.m.: The Athens Community Arts and Music Festival. This event will be ASL interpreted. Union St. Athens, OH. Featuring special performances by Ernie Johnson From Detroit - DANA - The D Rays - Hill Spirits - Alicja Pop - Darrin Hacquard - Lincoln Mash and Heather Alley - Laura Nadeau - Adam Remnant - Factory St. Dance Studio - OVST - Brad Swiniarski - Arts West - The Laughing Chimes - Another Language Altogether - plus after party stages at Casa and The Union at 10 p.m. featuring Drift Mouth - Speedknobs - Peachfuzz - Unmonumental - Bozniak - Meat and Cheese Collective - Rylee Bapst and more. ($8 cover gets you in both venues!)

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.

A picture of text noting the lineup for the 2022 Athens Community Arts and Music Festival. The line up is: 12 p.m. - Another Language All Together, 12:30 p.m. - Laughing Chimes, 1 p.m. - Arts West Selections from Fun Home, 1:30 p.m. Laura Nadeau, 1:45 p.m. - Brad Swavarinski, 2 p.m. OVST Selections from various musicals, 2:30 p.m. Adam Remnant, 3 p.m. Alicja Pop, 4 p.m. Lincoln and Heather, 5 p.m. Darrin Hacquard, 6 p.m. Hill Spirits, 7 p.m. The D-Rays, 8 p.m. DANA, 9 p.m. Ernie Johnson From Detriot
The lineup for the 2022 Athens Community Arts and Music Festival. [ I WOUB]
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.