Arts take center stage
The Druid City Arts Festival engaged the Tuscaloosa community on Saturday, drawing students, families and community members downtown to enjoy the art, the music and the weather at the third installment of the festival.
DCAF offered vendors the opportunity to expose their work and get their names out in the community. The artists present at DCAF represented a variety of artistic media, including jewelry, pottery, photography and visual art.
Photographer and vendor Sumerlin Brandon attended the festival last year and said the increased attendance, due in part to better weather, gave artists a good chance to make themselves known.
“It’s been really great for exposure,” she said. “There was an awesome turnout. It seems there are more vendors this year, too.”
Despite the rain, last year’s attendance reached around 4,000. This year’s far surpassed that, with more than 5300 at Saturday’s event.,
UA sophomores and twin sisters Gabrielle and Taylor Smith of Reflections Jewelry Company displayed and sold their designs at the festival and received a positive response from the community.
“It’s been awesome,” Gabrielle Smith said. “[DCAF] is a great opportunity for students to sell their art and express themselves.”
“There was a great turnout, and we’ve gotten a great response from locals and students,” Taylor Smith added.
For many DCAF attendees, the bands were the main attraction. The musical performances on the main stage and the pavilion stage, which also included comedy acts, spoken word and a performance by the African Drumming Ensemble, were well attended throughout the day.
“I really like the music,” said Susannah Robichaux, a sophomore majoring in international studies. “I also really liked the vintage clothes booths and the weather.”
Jamie Howard, a manager of The Dome arts website, was impressed by the atmosphere created by The Revivalists, who led the audience on a brief chase through the plaza during their high-energy performance.
“They were incredibly fun and funky,” she said. “I liked their upbeat, positive, ‘We’re here to party’ attitude. There was a lot of audience interaction, and you could tell they put 100 percent effort into their music.”
Working at the Alabama Art Kitchen booth, Katherine Kosich, a sophomore majoring in English, was present throughout the entire festival. Kosich said her favorite parts of the festival were seeing Gun Party perform and working at the booth.
“I absolutely adored [DCAF],” she said. “I’ve been here since 9 a.m., I’m sunburnt and probably dehydrated, but I’m having a great time, so it’s worth it.”
Creative Campus was pleased with the attendance, the atmosphere and the weather. Several interns agreed that this year’s festival was the best it has ever been.
“I think this was our best year. I don’t think we could have asked for a better year,” said Seema Kumar, a Creative Campus intern.
For vendors, the best part of DCAF seemed to be the atmosphere and the fact that it engaged the entire Tuscaloosa community rather than just the campus. For Anthony Tavis, a UA graduate and folk art vendor, the turnout was great for exposure and sales.
“[This year], there have been phenomenal sales … There are more people than last year,” he said. “Overall, this year is a lot better.”
With the improvements to the festival, as well as the expansion of the event to engage more of the campus and community, DCAF is setting itself up to continue to flourish and attract crowds in the coming years.
“I think it turned out great,” said Jessica Bailey, another DCAF intern. “All our effort paid off. We got the communal festival feel we wanted. There’s a good mix of families, students and members of the community.”