Tonawanda News — From a small gathering in an Allentown parking lot to one of the largest all-local arts and music festivals in the country, Music is Art has come a long way in 10 years.
The festival makes all types of music and art available to the people of Buffalo and its surrounding communities by donating tens of thousands of dollars worth of instruments to local schools, creating music education programs and exposing local artists.
Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac founded the organization after an impromptu show in 2002 during the Allentown Art Festival. Takac says his friends got together and decided to have a party in the parking lot of his old recording studio.
“The festival itself has obviously gotten much bigger and (many) more people know about it,” He said. “I think the thing that blows my mind the most is all the things that came off of this over the years. The instrument drives, the Music in Action program, the Music is Art summer camp we just ran, the Battle of the Bands and so many other things that have come about as we move forward with this.
“So to me I think that’s the most mind-blowing thing, everything that spiraled off this one party that we had ten years ago.”
This year there will be more than 100 bands and 300 dancers performing on 12 stages throughout the festival grounds behind the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. There will be more than 70 artists and 12 “art installations” or live artists. Music is Art director Sarah Ruszczyk said last year around 23,000 people attended.
“With the amount it grows each year, I would say we could have close to 30,000 people,” She said. “We also have a much bigger space this year than in prior years. This year (Lincoln Parkway) is going to be closed from Rumsey Road to Iroquois Drive.
“There are going to be three stages right at the bottom of the Albright Knox steps by the fountain, those will be the big main stages. There will be artists and vendors all along the streets and it’s going to go down in front of Marcy Casino.”
It doesn’t stop there she said. The festival will continue on the Shakespeare Hill and there will also be a kids area set up at the playground.
As in previous years, the winners from the Music is Art High School Battle of the Bands competition will be featured at the festival. Victory for Poland, from Sweet Home High School, won first place, Landslide from Bishop Timon High School took second place and Wild Card from West Seneca came in third.
“The second and third bands will play on a smaller stage but all three of those bands are absolutely amazing, you don’t want to miss that,” Ruszczyk said.
According to Takac there will also be a striaghtjacket escape, with the escape artist being suspended by a crane over Hoyt Lake as well as a series of performances that are to take place on boats floating on the lake.
Another highlight this year is the presence of internationally known, Buffalo-born artist Charles Clough who will be doing an installation painting on Lincoln Parkway.
“There’s something for everybody, the young and the old,” said Ruszczyk. “There’s something that you already like, and there’s also something that you’ve never seen before. It’s a time to discover something new, see something you already like, bring your whole family and just experience a gigantic diversity of art, music and dance.”
The festival is free to all and will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday in Delaware Park behind the Albright Knox Art Gallery. For more information, www.visit musicisart.org.
“We encourage anyone who would like to, to come down with a guitar and sit on the grass or dance around, that’s what this whole weekend is about,” said Takac. “Just be creative, and share in that creativity. Ten years going strong and we can’t wait to see what we do next year.”IF YOU GO • WHAT: Music is Art festival • WHERE: Behind the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Delaware Park, Buffalo • WHEN: 10 a.m to 10 p.m. Saturday • COST: Free • MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.musicisart.org