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Arts and Entertainment

Plaza Midwood spring arts festival brings BOOM of diversity
Showcase grows in venues, artists
Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 11:18 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The annual BOOM festival is a community gathering of diverse artistry and performance. The festival returns to the Plaza Midwood  neighborhood April 26-26.

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Spring signals BOOM.

With the addition of new venues, more shows and a larger lineup of artists, the annual springtime fringe festival returns to Plaza Midwood April 26-28. It kicks off with a free preview party at 7:30 p.m. on April 25 at NoDa Brewing Co., which will include pop-up performances. An opening night afterparty will take place at Snug Harbor on April 26 at 9:30 p.m.  Quentin Talley and The Soul Providers + DJ SPK will be featured at the Saturday night afterparty at 9:30 p.m. at Snug Harbor.

On the final day of the festival, Open Streets 704—a series of events designed to create a car free space for an afternoon—will take place from 1-5 p.m., covering approximately 4 miles between Plaza Midwood and NoDa.

“There are two major components of BOOM,” said festival director Manoj Kesavan. “BOOM Fringe, which are the ticketed shows at Snug Harbor, Petra’s, Rabbit Hole, and we added the upstairs space at Coltrane’s [Char Grill], and we’ll have some smaller, more intimate one-person shows there. Normally we have 10 or 11 shows, three times each. This time we are expanding it to 18, but because of the expanded number, not all of them are three times. Some of them are twice over the weekend. We have really expanded the Fringe portion.”

BOOM’s second component is the Intersection, a stage that sits at the corner of Pecan and Commonwealth avenues. Performances on the Intersection stage are free. For instance, there’s Opera Carolina’s “Opera Recycles” fashion show on April 28 at 2:15 p.m., which features 36,000 pieces of outdated paper from landfills which have been transformed into couture fashion.

“All aspects of it are growing every year,” Kesavan said.  “We are close to 120 shows or programs.”

Diversity has not been a problem for BOOM. Artists like Boris “Bluz” Rogers, Carlos Robson and Talley have been with the festival since its inception.

“Last year, over half of shows were artists of color,” Kesavan said. “This year, we haven’t done the exact count yet, but close to 50 percent will be black artists. When you count all of the artists of color, it interestingly reflects Charlotte’s overall demographics. It just happens very organically. We don’t sell it based on race or age. Our only criterion is providing the broadest variety of mediums and themes.”


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