Weekend Arts Festival Details Emerging

As the third annual Newtown Arts Festival Weekend approaches, organizers continue to unveil highlights that will add to the enjoyment of this year’s event.

Newtown Arts Festival events will begin Friday, September 5, with the opening night performance of The Artificial Jungle by Town Players of Newtown. Standalone and series events will continue almost daily until September 21.

The centerpiece — The 2014 Newtown Arts Festival — will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 13-14, from 10 am until 6 pm both days at Fairfield Hills. The event will again offer guests of all ages two days of non-stop performances, workshops, exhibitions, music and over 85 artists and craftspeople offering their works for sale.

In addition, there will be 15 food booths operating and, new this year, a Wine and Beer Garden will be open from noon to 6 pm.

The event also features several specialized demonstration tents including the Arts Oasis, Dance Pavilion, Fiber Arts, Poetry Salon, Literary Tent, among others.

Announced this week is the addition of David Brooker and a public art project. Festival attendees will be invited to help Mr Brooker decorate a ten foot wood sculpted flower created for the weekend using the same form the artist uses for his own works.

“I paint,” he said, “but I never touch the canvas. I throw the paint, sometimes I hurl it, and sometimes I lob it.  There is no right or wrong.”

Jennifer Cebry, a coordinator of the event and vice chair of Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, which is presenting the festival, says it will be a messy project.

Visitors will be given two ounces of paint, and invited get the paint onto the flower without touching the sculpture.

“I want to create public art,” said Mr Brooker,  who added, “but it will be created by the public. We’ll be creating art in many pieces and then putting it together.”

Mr Brooker creates does Outside art.

“My painting doesn’t say anything, but the creation of it is so important.  I don’t do art that looks like a bowl of fruit.”

Funded by an anonymous donor, the community art project, in its final form, will then be displayed as public art in Newtown.

Mr Brooker will be at the festival both days, set up in the middle of the field.

Local Musicians At Festival

Newtown residents who visit the arts festival may notice some familiar faces this year among those taking the stage for music performances this year, especially on Sunday.

The Mad Hatters Chorus, including Newtowner Dick Zang, will be performing at 11 am September 14. A traditional barbershop chorus, they are 34 members strong and led by Joe Hudson.

The group sings a capella music and includes standards as well as current music and American folk songs in their repertoire.

Renowned  musician and Resident Roger Spring & The Trunk  Band  will be performing early Sunday afternoon. A 90-minute set to include bluegrass classics and popular tunes interpreted in the bluegrass style will begin at 12:30.

“After the performance, from 3 to 3:50 pm, Mr Sprung will be offering a workshop in the performance tent. The event will include a question and answer session as well as an open jam for musicians of all levels.

Whiskey & Rye Productions LLC is a theatrical production company based in Sandy Hook, specializing in live country music and related dance/crowd participation, entertainment for corporate galas, country stylized nightclubs, outdoor festivals and larger social gatherings. Whiskey & Rye, the band, will be performing a 90-minute set Sunday afternoon.  

Members are David Robushi of Easton, who has been a performer for most of his adult life; Sandy Hook resident Mark Barden, also a full-time musician, playing guitar and singing; Rob Accomando, also of Sandy Hook, co-founder of Whiskey & Rye Productions LLC and one of the band’s two guitarists, a performer for over 30 years with various bands including Portobello Mushroom and more recently The Moving Targets.

Randy Gromley of Trumbull, on bass and vocals, is also a co-founder of Whiskey & Rye Productions LLC;  Boston native and Westport resident David Robicheau, who plays guitar, mandolin, harmonica, banjo and pedal steel; singer and drummer Kevin Templeton of Woodbury, who has been performing for more than 35 years; and Paul Lindquist of Newtown, who has also been performing and drumming for over 35 years.

In addition, members of the Premier Entertainment Dance Team -- who have experience ranges from the NFL to the Rockettes -- will also be on stage for part of the performance. 

"All in all, we will probably have 16 people on stage at some point," Mr Robushi said this week.

Following that performance, guitarist and vocalist Mark Barden will be bringing Alternate Universe to the festival stage. The band of seasoned, professional musicians play an eclectic mix of music they love, “which shows in every performance,” says Mr Barden.

In addition to Mr Barden, the band includes vocalist Rosie Burgos, bassist and vocalist Jim Keneally, and drummer and vocalist Stuart Stahr.

Alternate Universe will be offering the closing act of the festival, at 4:30 Sunday afternoon.

Arts Festival tickets will be available at the gate and are $5 per person. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted for free.

For full festival details including a growing schedule of events, visit NewtownArtsFestival.com.


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