Columbia Festival of the Arts offers music, theater and more

Columbia’s 14th Festival of the Arts opens June 14 offering a variety of free and ticketed events from acrobatics to story-telling, crafts shows to live music and film screenings, over 16 days.

“We have a lot of cool things going on,” said Dave Simmons, programming manager. “We really recreate the festival every year.”

New acts this year include a duo from Italy, eVenti Verticali, who will present “Wanted,” an aerial production that involves the two performers in harnesses, suspended in front of a screen, on June 15 and 16.

“We are the first stop on their United States tour,” Simmons said. “It is a goofy comedy show with video-game graphics, zip lines. It is very exciting.”

Simmons is also excited about the play, “The Other Mozart.” The story of Amadeus Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, it will be shown on June 22, at 8 p.m., at the Smith Theater.

“She [the actress] has all these props hidden in her dress,” Simmons said. “It is history meets the performing arts.”

Returning acts include Stoop Storytelling, which opens the festival on June 14, at 7 p.m., in the Smith Theatre. Dee Dee Bridgewater is a Grammy and Tony award-winner who first performed at the festival in 2012. The jazz vocalist will close the festival on June 29, at 8 p.m., in the Jim Rouse Theatre.

Charles Ross will present “One Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody” on June 23, at 8 p.m. Ross has performed parodies of “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” in past years to sell out crowds.

The festival also offers two film shows — the Sundance Shorts on Tour, featuring short films by independent filmmakers, and Sprout Films. Done in conjunction with the Arc of Howard County and Autism Howard County, Sprout Films are created for and by individuals with disabilities.

Other events include musical acts on opening weekend, a Jedi Academy for kids and a juried craft and arts show.

“We can’t do it without the support of our 150 volunteers,” Simmons said. “We are very much a community arts organization. It totally would not be possible without our dedicated long-serving volunteers.”

For a complete listing of the Columbia Festival of the Arts events, go to

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