Burning Maples

The All Arts Council opens the Bakersfield & East Fairfield Caravansary Art Festival with a reception at the new East Fairfield Arts Center today at 5 p.m. The show will run through Sunday.

For centuries, travelers on the Silk Road stopped in “caravansaries,” the bustling caravan stops that were the center of cultural as well as commercial exchange. Caravansaries brought together adventurers, artists, entertainers, monks, nomads, pilgrims, and traders from around the known world to share their art, their music, and their stories around a bonfire.

Burning Man.

70,000 “Burners” will come together on August 25 in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to create a community of art, music, self-expression, and self-reliance. They will disappear September 1, having left no trace whatsoever.

That week will see sculpture, installations, performance, theme camps, art cars, and costumes all with the caravansary theme.

We can preview some of the traveling art and music at the Bakersfield & East Fairfield Caravansary Art Festival as well as a quartet of art cars plus the All Arts Council’s own burning art exhibit.

The AAC burning art exhibit includes a pyrosculpture by Vermonter Kate Pond, a dish flambee from Kitten Ellison, and the Burning Bush, a new image by Highgate photographer David J. Griggs.

Rattlesnake BikeIt’s all about the camel. Or the wheel. Caravans require one or the other (it’s a law) so the event will feature the Austin Bike Zoo fresh from Spark! Mesa, Arizona’s, Festival of Creativity. Bike-builders, puppet-makers, and performers have created a nine- or ten-seat bicycle with a frame as thick as my thigh, eight-foot tall wheels, an old-fashioned bike bell, and training skis, just in case. They will bring butterfly bikes that range from 10-18 feet in height plus animated bat and owl bikes. The centerpiece is the giant rattlesnake bike that measures 80 feet in length and will offer rides for all attendees. There is no truth to the rumor it will be pulled by a camel.

“We have to have music!” Maple Festival main stage organizer Andre Maquera said.

Bassnectar, the Mutaytor, and the March 4th Marching Band will share the stage with a one-night only reunion of 8084 plus a special solo performance on the big screen by jazzman Will Patton,” he said.

“I’ve spent the winter working on dub-step,” Mr. Patton said from Paris, France. He has also been exploring house, witch house, dub, hardstep, dancehall, dance-floor, punk, post-punk, “Noise,” new wave, nu wave, No Wave, emo, post-emo, hip-hop, conscious hip-hop, alternative hip- hop, jazz hip-hop, hardcore hip-hop, nerd-core hip-hop, Christian hip-hop, crunk, crunkcore, metal, doom metal, black metal, speed metal, thrash metal, death metal, Christian death metal, and, of course, shoe-gazing, among others on the mandolin. He expects to have several other local musicians back him for this set.

Joni Mitchell and Grace Slick are scheduled to appear later in the week in a series of acoustic music and other performances at the new East Fairfield Arts Center Camp Café.

The Arts Center is a multi purpose organization and building that includes prime performance space for music and art exhibits.

According to the rule of desert hospitality, the Festival will provide free entry and water for travelers who stop at our tents. The Bakersfield & East Fairfield Caravansary Art Festival is open to all and admission is free but you need a free ticket to get in the gate. Tickets, schedules, and other background materials are available at ticketmaster.allarts.org. Admission is FREE but you must have an advance reservation to participate. Proceeds will benefit local art projects in Franklin County.

This event is not sanctioned by the 334 Green Mountain Burners (find them on Facebook) or the Bruleurs de Montreal.

Visit my site at dickharper.com for more events in April.