Funk legends George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, hip-hop fusion group Michael Franti & Spearhead, New Orleans jazz group Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and country blues three-piece the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band will headline this year's Artscape, taking place July 17-19, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced in a press conference this afternoon.
The theme of this year's festival is "water," a nod to its importance both in the geography of the city and as a global resource. A giant 30-foot tall-art installation of a water molecule built by students at Morgan State University, dance performances, an interactive exhibit designed to resemble a lazy river, and a performance by the Baltimore Rock Opera Society, titled "Brocean City"—opening line in the press packet: "Are you YOLO enough for BROCEAN CITY?"—are just some of the elements touching on the theme.
Rawlings-Blake also made sure to note that 95 percent of the food at this year's Artscape will come from local restaurants and vendors, including Dooby's, Jimmy's Famous Seafood, Clementine's, Otterbein's, and Ryleigh's Oyster, just to name a few.
Though it was not mentioned at the press conference, a schedule for the Station North stage, which boasts local bands, was announced; it includes headlining sets from garage-rock group Lazlo Lee & The Motherless Children, psych rockers Flying Eyes, and hip-hop group Femi The Drifish & Out of Water Experience.
The recent unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray will be touched upon in a panel discussion with the cast of "The Wire," called "Wired Up!" Hosted by Sonja Sohn, one of the lead actors on the show who has also founded the activist group ReWired For Change, the goal of the discussion "is to engage attendees with a unique and meaningful interactive town hall session designed to unpack and dissect what ails our beloved city, but more importantly, offer real insight, tools and resources to all attendees who wish to get involved in various mechanisms for positive change in Baltimore," according to a press packet given to reporters.
Rawlings-Blake referenced the uprising as well, though indirectly. After recalling running into classmates at Artscapes as a young girl and talking about the important role of the arts community, she said, "Art and artists must play an important part in our recovery."