Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

DCAF’s sophomore year sees changes

A year ago the Creative Campus Initiative held the first Druid City Arts Festival in downtown Tuscaloosa. Thousands of members of the community and the University celebrated a day’s worth of music and art from local and regional artists and musicians.

One year later, the same festival will take place, but with a few significant changes.

“While it will still be the Druid City Arts Festival, it will be an unrecognizable event,” said John Michael Murray, a senior majoring in English and an intern for Creative Campus.

Despite these changes, the idea behind the Druid City Arts Festival remains the same idea as its inaugural year.

The formation of the festival began last year, with Creative Campus intern Beth Hadaway. After realizing there was no music festival in Tuscaloosa, Hadaway took the initiative to find a solution.

Murray and other Creative Campus members tackled the idea of a festival with Hadaway, eventually creating the Druid City Arts Festival.

“We have the chance to literally go out and do something for the art and music scene here,” said Ryan Davis, a senior in New College who has been involved with the festival both years. “It not only brings positive attention to Tuscaloosa, but it affects the community in so many other ways.”

This year, the interns at Creative Campus aimed to make significant changes to the festival.

“We focused particularly on three things to change: location, vending and production,” Murray said.

Geographically, the festival has moved from the City Fest parking lot location last year to Government Plaza at 6th and 21st Avenues. Murray and other interns hope that resting on grass and lawn chairs rather than pavement will help create more of the atmosphere of a music festival.

The amount of vendors has increased, offering more food and drinks for attendees.

Production, however, ranked most important, and received the attention of the festival team. The stage, sound equipment and technology have vastly improved, Murray said.

“Stuff that went wrong last year will not happen again,” he said.

Along with logistical changes, the Druid City Arts Festival will combine with the talents of the Black Warrior Storytelling Festival. Throughout the day of the Druid City Arts Festival, storytellers such as Kim Weitkamp will be practicing their craft in different areas of the park.

“Families going to Druid City Arts Festival were also going to the Black Warrior Storytelling, so we combined them,” said Kelly Watts, a senior majoring in restaurant and hotel management and a Creative Campus intern. “I think we are making it, as a whole, bigger and better.”

Murray said that while some may be skeptical to the idea of storytelling, they might be proved wrong.

“I went to the storytelling festival last year, and I really didn’t think I would like it; but I was surprised,” Murray said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Davis said the festival is trying to branch out.

“This year it’s a true ‘arts festival,’” he said. “We have very good musicians, very good artists, and now we can offer storytelling.”

This goal to expand the mediums offered at the art festival has also led to what Creative Campus intern James Harb describes as an “eclectic” feel.

“We had a tremendous pool of applicants,” said Harb, a senior majoring in electrical engineering. “The range of performers has completely expanded from last year.”

“It’s more eclectic, more representative of other cultures,” Davis said.

And while significant changes have been made to the face of the Druid City Arts Festival, the heart has remained the same.

“The festival is free,” Murray said. “It always has been, and it always will be. It’s not about making money; it’s about bring the arts to Tuscaloosa.”

And it’s this gratification that many of the interns and volunteers said they feel makes the work of putting together the festival worth it, ultimately.

“At the end of the day, we brought together thousands of people, and it’s everyone, all different kinds of people,” Davis said.


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