Showcasing creative culture

27th annual Doylestown Arts Festival is expected to draw thousands

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Local treasures: The 27th annual Doylestown Arts Festival will feature 160 artists showcasing their creative works, with selections including paintings, photography, jewelry, wood and metal work, furniture, pottery and more. Source: Doylestown Arts Festival

In June 2017, Philadelphia magazine gave Doylestown the title of “best fun suburban town.” When taking into consideration its vast array of cultural offerings at local landmarks such as the Michener Art Museum, not to mention its bustling population of more than 8,000 residents, it’s pretty easy to see why the town was gifted with that gleaming title.

Now, more than one year later, Doylestown is continuing to uphold its “fun” reputation. On Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, tens of thousands are expected to gather on its quaint downtown streets for the 27th annual Doylestown Arts Festival, which is free to the public.

Hosted by Discover Doylestown and presented by the Thompson Organization, this event is the largest outdoor juried arts festival in Bucks County. The two-day festival will feature 160 artists showcasing their creative works, with selections including paintings, photography, jewelry, wood and metal work, furniture, pottery and more.

A new initiative to celebrate Doylestown’s distinctive identify as a year-round destination for arts and culture is Art Week, which precedes the festival and runs through Friday, Sept. 7.

“We are immensely proud of how the Doylestown Arts Festival has expanded so dramatically in recent years, and has introduced so many new visitors to our small, very special town,” said festival director Paul Boger. “We are equally thrilled to introduce Art Week, which emphasizes Doylestown’s permanent arts and culture attractions, including two significant museums, many art galleries, several historical societies, and dozens of retail enterprises, restaurants, and inns showcasing work by local artists.”

In addition to art displays and live demonstrations, festival-goers can enjoy a weekend chock full of entertainment. Doylestown’s streets will be transformed into a pedestrian-only music venue spanning five stages that will host 32 performances from local, regional and nationally recognized bands.

“I’m often asked why music is so important to the festival,” Boger said. “It’s simple, really. Music is art. Music unites people from all walks of life, it builds community. It builds excitement and draws in a crowd. From my perspective, I can’t imagine a Doylestown Arts Festival that doesn’t celebrate the diversity and quality of music that we’re so lucky to have in and around Bucks County.”

Local artists featured in this year’s impressive lineup include Levee Drivers (previously featured in The Times), Adam Travis and The Soul, Alex and the Kaleidoscope, Andrea Carlson and the Love Police, Larry Tamanini Duo, The Mysteries, Panic Moon, Dirk Quinn, Tubey Frank, Tim Farrell, Randy Lippincott, Lolly and Yo Yo, StringSongs, and the Bucks County Folk Society.

The festival will also highlight the talents of Philadelphia’s Elle Gyandoh and the John Doe Band, and Hot Club of Philadelphia, as well as other regional performers, including Diversity, Vin Downes, Essie & The Big Chill, Hillbillies of Cohesion, Ryan Killough, Kitty City, Mike Lorenz and Friendz, Minas, Pepperwine, and Pete Hill & The Mountains.

“The styles presented at the festival range from music for kids of all ages, bluegrass to blues, classic rock to alternative rock, folk to Americana, fingerstyle guitar to jazz guitar, jam bands to R&B,” said festival music director Tim Farrell. “It is a wonderful feature of the festival that we present a mix of local talent and national talent. Many attendees come to see performers who they have enjoyed at previous festivals and also to seek out acts that they may enjoy and experience for the very first time.”

The Doylestown Arts Festival will also feature a variety of dining options, and, on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Thompson Bucks County Classic. Now in its seventh year, with Lexus as the official vehicle, the Thompson Classic is a professional international race and cycling event that packs six races involving professionals, amateurs and children into one day. More details can be found at BucksCountyClassic.com.

Though Boger is anticipating large crowds for this jam-packed weekend, he stressed the care organizers take to ensure there is plenty of parking, access, space and amenities so each attendee feels welcome and comfortable.

“Our mission is to communicate to festival visitors the ever-present hospitality and warmth of Doylestown, while at the same time celebrating the region’s artists and artistic heritage,” he said. “We encourage everyone from near and far who has any interest in the arts, music, community or sightseeing to attend Art Week and this remarkable festival, and to experience the energizing ambiance of Doylestown.” ••

If you go…

The 27th annual Doylestown Arts Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and a full schedule of music performances, call 267–454–2680, email info@doylestownartsfestival.com or visit dtownartsfestival.com. Follow the event on Facebook at facebook.com/doylestownartsfestival, Instagram @doylestownartsfestival and Twitter @dtownartsfest.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com