Jailbreak, that multidiscipline arts extravaganza organized by Andrew Walker and mounted at the old city jail downtown for five years running, didn’t actually die last year after the last big blow-out. Rather, it went into its cocoon.
Now the metamorphosis is nearly complete.
Walker says he’s taking the Jailbreak concept, always a bit unwieldy and unhinged, and expanding its wings. Rather than a single night of community frivolity, he’s breaking free of the old jail building, stretching the event over four days and various venues, and calling the reimagined creative explosion the “Charleston Arts Festival.”
The festival will run Oct. 5-8. Though a lot of the details still must be determined, Walker knows that the first day will include a music-centric community presentation, the second day will feature an innovative culinary collaboration, the third day will showcase singer Lindsay Holler and Entropy Ensemble and others at the Charleston Music Hall for a show called “Women and Radiohead,” and the last day will be a grand finale party at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue.
“This is not the resurrection of Jailbreak,” Walker is quick to say. “This is the continuation and development of that grassroots (event).”
Walker says he hopes the festival inspires artists of all kinds — musicians, dancers, comedians, visual artists, poets — to create original work especially for the event. He is playing the role of Charleston’s artsy kingmaker.
To do all this, Walker enlisted Terry Fox as assistant director of the festival. Fox is nearly ubiquitous in arts circles. He serves on the boards of the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art and Pure Theatre. He’s a founding member of Parliament, which organizes the PechaKucha lecture series.
The Charleston Arts Festival ultimately could become comprehensive, adding theater and lectures to the mix.
“I’ve always been a supporter of Andrew,” Fox says. “He’s so creative and does off-the-wall, edgy things. He’s a great collaborator, has lots of vision. He’s wonderfully all over the place. We tend to complement each other.”
So far so good, Fox says. The community is supportive of the concept, though there are lots of moving parts.
“Of course, we’re taking advantage of all our friends, which is what you do in Charleston,” he says.
One of those friends is Jenny Broe, who runs Dance Lab. Broe is directing the dance component of the festival.
She says she expects to present different genres and a variety of dancers drawn from Dance Lab. Nothing’s nailed down yet; she’s still in the conceptual phase. Broe says things are evolving organically.
“(It will be) a beautiful showcase of everyone in the community. The more participants you have under one roof, the better.”
Walker says the culinary event on Thursday will feature chef Jason Stanhope of FIG restaurant. Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker will present a prose narrative. The event will be enhanced by live music and dance led by Sara Sumner. It’s meant to be an immersive experience, Walker says.
And, generally, he’s hoping for out-of-the-ordinary collaborations, the pairing of people from different disciplines.
More information will be announced over the coming months online at www.charlestonartsfestival.com.
Reach Adam Parker at 843-937-5902. Follow him at facebook.com/aparkerwriter.