The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Fern Greenbank
LOG Editor 

Music, arts festival expected to be bigger, bolder, better

 

Photo courtesy seward music and arts festival

Seward based Elite 9 is scheduled to perform this weekend at the Seward Music and Arts Festival.

It may not be as big as the Mt. Marathon Race but it's big. It has just as much talent, though a different kind. Like Mt. Marathon, there will be daring moves and probably some sweating and there is a finish line. The one thing the Mt. Marathon Race doesn't have is a fantasy theme.

The Annual Seward Music and Arts Festival is set to begin its 11th year this Friday with more music, art, dancing and food than ever before. Festival Director Gail Burnard and her crew of volunteer staff are exhausted.

"It's going to be amazing," said Burnard. "It will all be worth the work."

Burnard hasn't suffered alone. She has a staff that has taken care of booking bands and vendors, decorating the venue and arranging for transportation and housing.

"Abby is out there decorating like crazy," said Burnard. "It won't look like a warehouse when she's done with it."

Burnard said the details are a secret but, she would say there is a rainbow garden involved and a mirrored cave.

"The planning so far has been great and we're ready to get the party started," said Burnard.

Vendors ranging from henna artists to skin care to jewelry will be setting up along with half a dozen interesting and innovative food vendors ranging from cupcakes to spinach bread. This year, cider has been added to the menu along with the beer garden and wine selection.

The "arts" in Seward Music and Arts Festival takes a variety of forms from an art installation to mural painting by the Seward Mural Society, fresh off the heels of a giant mural project with Seward's city sister Obihiro, Japan.

There will also be kids activities organized by Dana Paperman, executive director of the senior center.

"The SMAF kids korral has been created with kids in mind," said Paperman. "It's a place to play and be creative. Every year we attempt to follow the theme, so this year will be full of fantasy face painting, creating crowns, playing like a knight and dancing like a princess."

The Seward Dancing Kids will also be representing the young folks on the performance line-up.

Although people look forward to the ambiance, food, vendors and art projects, music is at the heart of the Seward Music and Arts Festival. This year, the list of artists lined up to perform cover a giant music spectrum. Some artists are representing Seward like the Elite 9 . There are indie artists from Seattle and an African music group from Homer. Only in Alaska could a crew this diverse find their way to a single venue.

Charged with the task of booking bands this year is Melissa Mitchell.

"Each band's willingness to take part in such a community event always makes me smile and the Arts Council's willingness to provide the bands with as much as they can while still keeping it as fundraiser has just been great," said Mitchell. "I always enjoy the festival and am looking forward to another wonderfully weekend full of great music and art for a great cause."

For the first time, the Seward Music and Arts Festival organizing committee applied for a grant from the Seward Community Foundation to help pay for some of the almost full time support staff it takes to pull off a complex event like this.

"We are really grateful for that help," said Burnard. "Some people have to take time off work to pull this together and they sacrifice a lot."

The hard work will pay off when the crowd arrives, expected to top 3,000 if last year's numbers are an indication. It's officially a Seward treasure as it goes into its 11th year.

See the back page of the LOG for information about the festival schedule.

 

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