Artscape, the largest free outdoor arts festival in America, came back to Baltimore this weekend after a three-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 shutdown and disagreements between city officials and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts over the direction of the festival.
Artscape used to be held in July but this year moved to the fall. While the heat didn’t come into play this year, weather still did thanks to Tropical Storm Ophelia. The storm caused the cancellation of Saturday events, leaving festival-goers with just Friday and Sunday to attend. And the crowds came, although BOPA doesn’t track of how many people attend.
This after much controversy over who would perform and rescheduling of the festival over the past few months — Ja Rule declined to perform, then Kelly Rowland dropped off the lineup — festival organizers finally scheduled DJ Pee Wee, the alter ego of Grammy Award-winning artist Anderson .Paak, to headline Friday night. .Paakperformed with other notable artists such as Nile Rodgers and Chic, Muni Long and Mighty Mark and Friends.
Spread out each year across the Bolton Hill and Mount Royal neighborhoods and Station North Arts & Entertainment District, the festival also featured an artist marketplace, a film festival, a music and beer garden and a kidscape and teenscape.