News Column

New music, green options sweeten this year's Sugar Creek fest

July 10, 2014

By Dan Craft, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.



July 10--NORMAL -- What goes around comes around, especially this weekend's annual Sugar Creek Arts Festival, celebrating its third anniversary on the Uptown Normal Roundabout and environs.

Now in its 31st summer, the popular fine arts extravaganza also has several firsts in the offing, two tied to environmental concerns and one to aural interests.

Regarding the latter: Past comments on volume levels from the fest's music main stage have inspired a new presentation format, partly patterned after last month's Make Music Normal celebration.

For that day-long fest, music was performed simultaneously at several Uptown locales, including the Roundabout and the corner of Broadway and North.

To that end, the old festival main stage at the latter location is being brought down to street level, literally, with performances presented under a canopy.

In addition, a second street-level performance location has been added on the Roundabout, says Douglas Johnson, director of the McLean County Arts Center, which presents the event with the Town of Normal.

"We're using Make Music Normal as an example, in which the music was more accessible by being spread around," he says. "And to keep it in line with the flavor of the festival, the music will be kept at lower levels, emphasizing jazz and folk."

"We've had terrific performers" in the past, says Johnson. "But they were amplified to the point that some people felt they were out of character with the festival."

As for the environmentally friendly twists, the festival will play camel to the 129 artists on exhibit, as well as the thousands of patrons in attendance.

Partnering with the Ecology Action Center, the artists will be supplied with refillable water containers I.D.'d with their names and filled/refilled by the festival "camels," two water trolleys that will circulate throughout the festival both days (Saturday and Sunday).

"Our job will be to keep the artists hydrated on what is traditionally one of the hottest weekends of the summer," says Johnson (although the forecast for this weekend is relatively mild, with temperatures expected in the low- to mid-80s).

In addition, refillable bottles, stamped with the festival logo, will be offered for sale at a small fee at both the McLean County Arts Center's booth and the Ecology Action Center booth.

"This may be a small thing to the public, but it's a huge thing for us," says Johnson, who estimates the refillable bottles will spare local landfills as many as 3,000 plastic containers.

Also new this year is an added enticement for festival-goers to bike in instead of motor in.

For anyone who travels to the event by bicycle and purchases a piece of art, the festival will make a free home delivery, with the delivery made via Town of Normal electric vehicles.

When the purchase is made, the buyer will fill out a form describing artwork and providing delivery information. The form will be left with the Art Delivery Team, located at the festival's bike corral.

Deliveries will be made the same day as the purchase after the festival closes. The free delivery for bicyclists is restricted to residents of Bloomington and Normal.

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(c)2014 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

Visit The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) at www.pantagraph.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)


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