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Artscape 2019: The English Beat, SWV and the James Brown Dance Party set to headline Baltimore summer festival

Artscape 2019 is set for July 19-21 along Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street
Artscape 2019 is set for July 19-21 along Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Ska band The English Beat, R&B trio SWV and The James Brown Dance Party featuring Fred Thomas of James Brown’s Band will be the headliners at this summer’s Artscape free arts festival, set for July 19-21 along Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street.

In addition, Pittsburgh-based Squonk Opera will present a new production, “Hand to Hand,” featuring “the largest puppet hands in the world,” according to festival producers the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, accompanied by original music, design and staging.

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The English Beat will perform at Artscape 2019 on July 21.
The English Beat will perform at Artscape 2019 on July 21.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which takes place on Artscape Saturday, this year’s festival will present a theme of “Discovery,” BOPA announced Thursday morning.

Although taking place in the same general area as in previous years, the festival’s footprint is being altered slightly, in response to construction in the area. The Artists’ Market, spotlighting the work of artists from all over the U.S., will be moved to Charles Street. Mount Royal Avenue north of the light rail lines will remain open to traffic.

Headlining musical arts performing on the Main Stage, Cathedral Street near Mount Royal Avenue, will include SWV (aka Sisters With Voices) at 7:30 p.m. July 19; the James Brown Dance Party featuring Fred Thomas of James Brown’s Band with special guests at 7:30 p.m. July 20; and The English Beat at 5:30 p.m. July 21.

Squonk Opera’s “Hand to Hand” will be performed throughout the weekend.

Artscape has been a Baltimore summer tradition since 1982. This year’s hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. July 19-20, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. July 21, with additional Artscape After Hours programming set for 9 p.m.-11 p.m. July 19-20. More information, including a complete schedule, may be found at artscape.org.

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