Funk mainstay Sheila E., along with gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello and soul staples Robert Randolph & the Family Band, will provide the headline entertainment at this year's 36th annual Artscape, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced Wednesday.
Billed as the nation's largest free arts festival, Artscape is set for July 21-23 in the area surrounding the intersection of North Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue.
Sheila E., whose career goes back to the mid-'70s, first came to prominence performing alongside Prince, and appears on his "Purple Rain" album. She released her debut album and single, "The Glamorous Life," in 1984. She has continued as a solo act, while also performing and/or recording with Prince, Beyonce, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Pharrell Williams and others.
Sheila E.'s concert is set for 7:30 p.m. July 21, Artscape's opening night. Gogol Bordello is slated to perform at 7:30 p.m. July 22, with Robert Randolph and his band closing the festival with a 6:30 p.m. performance on July 23.
Among the offerings at Artscape 2017 are several popular features that were missing from last year's festival. They include the show of art cars, highlighted by a parade from the American Visionary Art Museum to Artscape beginning at 11 a.m. July 22; and shorts and a feature film, courtesy of the Maryland Film Festival and shown at its new home, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway (schedule to come). There will also be a dance presence, with July 22 and July 23 performances (1 p.m. and 6 p.m. both days) by the Argentine dance company Che Malambo at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric.
In keeping with this year's theme of "Camp Artscape: Adventure Awaits," the festival will include five camp-themed art installations. "Let's Build a Big Campfire," at Pearlstone Park, corner of Cathedral and Preston streets, will depict a 20-foot-tall campfire, made of steel and wood; "Camp Ready" (Charles Street, between Mount Royal Avenue and Preston Street), will offer preparedness and survival tips; "Barter Street Trading Post" (Charles Street, by Penn Station) will offer opportunities to trade and barter for postcards, trinkets and souvenirs; "Who's Watching" (also Charles Street, by Penn Station) will explore various aspects of surveillance, and offer festivalgoers the chance to surveil one another; and "Dance Camp" (1704 N. Charles St.) will offer dance performances, instruction and social interaction.
Also returning this year is "Artscape After Hours," offering live music, film inside the Parkway, street theater, comedy performances and other entertainment from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. July 21 and 22.
Hours for Artscape are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. July 21 and 22, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. July 23. Information: artscape.org.