Mother Nature was kind to the roughly five thousand attendees of the 10th annual Art Outside in Rockdale, TX. With highs in the mid-eighties, lows in the mid-sixties and plenty of shade the backdrop was set for festival goers to enjoy a perfect weekend of camping with friends, listening to amazingly talented artists, participating in workshops and admiring art and the artistic process.
It was hard to miss the art. Upon arriving to the festival grounds, you were greeted with Christian Ristow’s Face Forward sculpture. A 20 foot tall face made from metal connected to an array of servo controllers that controlled a number of facial “muscles” to make a complete expression. It was fun to watch the faces made as people came and went from the controllers. Christian also brought his Fledgeling kinetic installation where you could climb a staircase on the back of a giant bird and hop in the chest of where you sit and pedal to make the wings articulate in a flapping motion. Another favorite. At night, when it got cold, Charlie Smith’s sculptures kept everyone warm and Arc Attack, two giant tesla coils, kept the crowd entertained. In addition to the big installations, just about every tree saw a number of canvases where artists built up their works throughout the weekend.
Of course, in addition to all of the art festival goers had an amazing weekend of music. Tauk opened the main stage on Friday and a late night set by the Motet shut the stage down on night one. Friday night also saw great sets by Seat At Last and Attic Ted on the Folk It Up Stage and Henry + The Invisibles shredded up the Midway Stage. Between the four stages at the festival, the music played almost 24 hours a day; 21 to be exact!
With the music in the dome coming to an end just a few hours earlier, Saturday started with a great set by Zach Deputy on the main stage. For those with kids, Nikki kept them entertained while clowning around in the kids corner. The day went on with great sets by Mountain Standard Time and Cornmeal on the main stage, Jordan Franz on the Folk it Up Stage and Sea Stars on the Midway. The main stage was the place to be when Nahko and Medicine for the People took the stage Saturday night. The energy was palpable. Conspirator closed down the main stage Saturday night but the party moved to dome culminating with a special sunrise set, Sunday morning, with the Desert Dwellers. The crowd gathered to watch erupted in cheers as the sun pierced over the tree line.
It barely seemed that the Desert Dwellers set was over before a drum circle seemed to start Sunday morning. Following the sound landed one at the Kids Corner. For those of us that needed more caffeine to deal with drums at that point in the day, Erika Maassen gave us refuge over at the Folk It Up Stage and Grace Park & The Deer followed right after and then Sea At Last treated everyone by with a second set on the Midway stage. Sunday was a great day for music indeed but the main stage was the place to be Sunday night. The Nth Power took the stage around 5 the music didn’t stop until midnight with follow on sets by Blue Sky Black Death, Emancipator and Papadosio.
Those in it for the long haul packed up camp Monday morning and did their part to leave no trace. Art Outside 2014 was in the books. If you are looking for a new festival to add to the list you can’t go wrong with Art Outside. Family friendly, great neighbors, plenty to do and you can’t really go wrong with the hot showers!