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Panoply Arts Festival means spring has arrived

HUNTSVILLE – There is something much more accurate than groundhogs and extreme weather to mark spring in the Rocket City.

It’s called the Panoply Arts Festival.

At the formal announcement last week at the Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mayor Tommy Battle and Allison Dillon-Jauken, executive director of festival host Arts Huntsville, assured the audience they have a mole within the National Weather Service that promises three days of beautiful, storm-free weather/ The annual festival is April 28-30 in Huntsville’s Big Spring Park.

This year’s commissioned artwork is by Denise Onwere. Her vibrant 2023 Panoply poster captures the spirit of the festival and the community by colorfully integrating the four pillars of Panoply each year: art, music, food & beverage, and interactive activities.

Mayor Tommy Battle speaks at 2023 Panoply Arts Festival announcement (256 Today)

Onwere is the daughter of Grammy-nominated jazz artist Jeff Clayton of The Clayton Brothers and, as a child, watched her father perform with Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Madonna.

As a self-taught visual artist, Onwere is an arts educator with a studio at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment. Festivalgoers can purchase her artwork and a limited number of signed Panoply posters at Lowe Mill and Panoply.

“We knew when we asked Denise to create our Panoply 2023 poster artwork that she would capture the energy and excitement of Huntsville’s arts, entertainment, and music scene,” said Dillon-Jauken. “Denise’s celebration of Panoply showcases iconic highlights of the festival’s setting in Big Spring Park. It celebrates the art, music, and fun that festivalgoers of all ages have experienced at Panoply for over four decades in a dynamic way.”

Allison Dillon-Jauken, executive director of Arts Huntsville (256 Today)

Celebrating 41 years, the Panoply Arts Festival presented by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing has evolved into a premiere arts weekend showcasing Huntsville’s innovative spark.

The Panoply tradition of Military Salute Night continues April 28 with all active-duty military and Armed Forces reserves and their dependents are welcomed to the park for a free evening of entertainment with current military ID.

Panoply 2023 will feature more than 30 bands and musicians representing jazz, rock, R&B, indie rock, blues, pop, country and the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild’s “Discover Music” that introduces young people to musical instruments.

Two stages, the Indie Stage and the Showcase Stage, will feature homegrown favorite, The Wanda Band.

The April 29 lineup features a medley of music with eight regional powerhouse musicians including the Trick Zipper Trio, singer-songwriter Karmessa, and Huntsville’s Rob Aldridge and the Proponents whom NPR said is “an Alabama rock & roll band you need to know.”

On April 30, the Showcase Stage will kick off with The Silver Silos with Alan Little and up-and-coming 17-year-old country music singer/songwriter Jackson Chase intertwined with Pat Jamar, Luna Koi, Remy Neal and Moontown Music.

While the Showcase stage features local and regional bands, Panoply’s Indie Stage will host Huntsville singer/songwriters, duos, and instrumentalists such as Josh Taylor, Winslow Davis, Chelsea Who, WD Flow, Christie and Alli, and, one of Huntsville’s favorite husband and wife duos, Common Man.

On the visual arts agenda is the fan-favorite juried Art Marketplace welcoming more than 100 visual artists from 23 states, art and STEAM interactives, and a large-scale interactive public art project called “UNITY.”

The student art tent features artwork from Madison County students and Arts in Action provides local artists with opportunities to demonstrate their craft ranging from street art creations to paper flower making.

On the interactive program is the Face Painting Tent. Also are spoken word performances from local literary figures and poets including, but not limited to CeCe the Poet, author Betty Bolte, the A&M Bulldog Players, and Andrew Gonzales, all performing on the Art OutLoud Stage.

Other hands-on activities include the STEAM exhibit featuring recent images from Marshall Space Flight Center missions; STEAM Street activities from Huntsville City Schools Magnet programs ‘Kinetic Kaleidoscopes!’; Huntsville Ballet’s ‘Science of Soaring Sauté’; Creative Launchpad’s “Circuit Board Dance Challenge”; and the National Space Club’s “The Art of the Universe.”

Furthermore, Creativity Corner will offer ‘Block Printing’ using foam, paper, and paint; ‘Mixed Media Monsters’; ‘Pointillism’; and Japanese ‘Haiku Art’.

What did we forget? Oh!

Panoply craft beer from Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale, wine and a convoy of food trucks.

Panoply is known for its open-air seating where patrons can bring chairs and blankets.

The Friday and Saturday night sessions end with fireworks presented by Delta Research.

Click here to buy tickets or a three-day weekend pass.

Panoply pricing is as follows:

  • Panoply weekend pass (good for all three days) in advance – $18. They are only available until 4 p.m. April 28
  • Day passes in advance – $10 available until 4 p.m. April 28 and $15 at the festival ticket booths.
  • Children 12 and under are free of charge.

The Panoply Arts Festival hours are:

  • April 28: 5 to 9 p.m.
  • April 29: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • April 30: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Click here to volunteer.

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