The 34th annual North Charleston Arts Fest, which runs for eight days through May 7, kicks off Saturday with a Premiere Weekend at the Charleston Area Convention Center featuring four performance stages, judged art and photography shows, a gem and mineral show, a juried fine craft exhibit, an antique show, food vendors and many more attractions for all ages.
Cultural dances and musical performances will be held at Exhibit Hall C, concerts by local bands will be on the Courtyard Stage, and entertainment for kids can be seen at the Exhibit Hall Lobby Stage.
The festival, produced by the city of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department since 1982, continues through the week with more than 60 events and exhibitions around town to highlight artists and performers of dance, music, theater, visual arts, crafts, photography, media arts and literature. Some participants arrive from across the country, while many live in the Charleston area.
More than 30,000 attendees will descend on North Charleston for activities that will include: a street dance, concerts, theater presentations, film screenings, an art walk, children’s programs, workshops and demonstrations, and a National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition.
The festival concludes with a Grand Finale at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park featuring performances by professional groups and tricounty schools, children’s activities and fireworks over the Cooper River.
For a full schedule of events and specific locations, go to northcharlestonartsfest.com.
The Lowcountry will get its fill of froth on Saturday with several beer-centric events around town. Grab a designated driver and you might just be able to make all three.
Mount Pleasant: Blue Point Brewery, a Long Island-based microbrewery, is bringing its nationwide Toasted Tour to the Grove at Patriots Point from 2 to 7 p.m. There will be live music by Marcus King Band and Vacationer; cooking demos by chef Paula DaSilva, the runner-up from season 5 of “Hell’s Kitchen”; and hands-on activities with brewers. General admission is $5 and VIP tickets are $25, which includes three beer tokens and food. For more information, visit http://bluepointtoastedtour.com/charleston
James island: Tradesman Brewing Co. is hosting the Pint of Hope event from noon to 8 p.m. to benefit Lowcountry Aids Services. For every pint of beer sold, $1 will be donated to the nonprofit organization.
Daniel Island: The Charleston Battery is hosting Punts & Pints at 7 p.m. to coincide with the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the MUSC Health Stadium. Several local breweries and food trucks will be on-site, and a special $15 ticket includes admission to the game and one craft beer. For more information, visit www.CharlestonBattery.com.
A machine indeed
With Gillian Welch’s ethereal voice alongside Dave Rawlings’ masterfully intricate guitar playing, the musical partners have been a singular treasure in Americana music for more than 15 years. Most of their collaborations have been released as Welch’s critically acclaimed solo work, where Rawlings primarily harmonizes. In the lesser-known Dave Rawlings Machine, the two essentially flip the perspective, sending Rawlings up front, with Welch on harmony duty. Their complementary voices intertwine in unexpected ways, often adding another shade of darkness to their Gothic brand of old-time folk. In all, the Machine version of the two comes across as slightly more experimental than Welch-branded material, and in no rush at all. On the latest album, “Nashville Obsolete,” the follow-up to the 2009 debut “A Friend of a Friend,” they stretch out what begins as a simple song for more than five minutes, allowing the listener to sop up all the intricacies of their lyrics, vocal layers and strings work as the complexity builds. The band is beefed up by Punch Brothers bassist Paul Kowert, former Old Crow guitarist Willie Watson, violinist Brittany Haas and mandolinist Jordan Tice. In support of the new work, they will make their way to the Charleston Music Hall on a rare spring tour to the Southeast. The local show also offers the tour’s only co-headlining slot with the Punch Brothers, an acoustic quintet led by mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile.
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: 37 John St.
More info: www.charlestonmusichall.com
Moms in the spotlight
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Mother’s Day a little bit early, here’s a special idea. The nationwide “Listen To Your Mother” program is hosting one of its events at the Sottile Theater, where several locals from all walks of life will share stories related to motherhood. “Listen To Your Mother” started in 2010 and is now in 41 cities, including Charleston. In each community, writers submit personal essays about motherhood, and several are selected to be read aloud at a live-staged event sometime around Mother’s Day. It’s like “TED Talks,” only the stories are shorter and center on people’s personal experiences with being a mother or being mothered. Each event will be recorded and broadcast on the “Listen To Your Mother” YouTube channel.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: 44 George St.
Price: $18, plus fees
More info: http://listentoyourmothershow.com/charleston
On air, on stage
Comedian Paula Poundstone, best known as a regular panelist on National Public Radio’s No. 1 show “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell me” is bringing her stand-up tour to the Lowcountry this weekend. The comedian has been on the road for more than 30 years, establishing herself as an act with a wry, intelligent sense of humor. She can interact with an audience without laughing at anybody’s expense, and can even delve into political humor without riling up the crowd. Also a regular writer, Poundstone has a column in “Mother Jones” magazine and she penned the book, “There is Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say” in 2005.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.
More info: www.charlestonmusichall.com