For the 10th consecutive year, Howard Bank is supporting the Columbia Festival of the Arts, which for the first time will be held at the Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.
In addition to the move, the Festival will explore India’s transformation into the modern world and feature author Nadia Hashimi. It will also formally launch the new Columbia Film Festival.
“The Festival of the Arts is excited to move to Symphony Woods this year given all of the development in Town Center,” said Todd Olson, Columbia Festival of the Arts Executive Director. “The renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion, the soon-to-be finished Chrysalis Amphitheatre, and the proposed Arts Center…all within a stone’s throw of each other will surely create a cultural epicenter in Howard County and all of Central Maryland.”
The June 10th – 26th event marks the Festival’s 29th year, and one of the biggest occasions in its history. Traditionally, the Festival has been held at the Lakefront.The Festival’s inaugural free “Weekend In The Woods” runs Saturday June 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 19th from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Photo: 2006 CFA - Andrea Martinez, Mary Ann Scully, Steve Sachs & Chris Marasco
“It’s about giving back to the community,” said Robert Marshall, Marketing and Communications Director for the Columbia Festival of the Arts. “It’s not unlike Wine in the Woods. It’s part of the larger Festival of the Arts at Columbia.”
The festival also ushers in the start of summer, said Mary Ann Scully-President and CEO of Howard Bank. “The CFA means three
things to me - a legacy of community celebrations, bringing the arts to everyone, and the kickoff to summer in Columbia,” she said.
“Being a part of the CFA is a reminder of what makes Columbia such a spirited community,” added Chris Marasco, Senior Vice President of Howard Bank. “The festival entertains all elements of our community: races, ages, incomes, and genders.”
This year’s event highlights the community and its artists. The Festival is providing a remarkably larger space for local artisans to showcase their wares to the public, and for Maryland residents to experience some of the area’s best musicians.
Weekend In The Woods headliners include Black Masala, a fast paced brass group from Washington, D.C., and the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble, a crowd favorite. The Glenelg Ensemble has not just been recognized locally, but on the national level, too.The high school performers have received more than 60 awards and first place finishes in the last 10 years alone. Other musicians performing during the free weekend are: Anthony “SwampDog” Clark, The Shrapnels, Elikeh, Samuel James, and La Unica.
The main theme of the event is “The Silk Road Stories.” On June 18, the Festival is hosting Mystic India: The World Tour Bollywood Spectacular! which is based on the concept of ancient India’s transition into modern India. Another highlight of the Festival is the June 26 event: Refugees on the Silk Road. Novelist Nadia Hashimi will read an excerpt from her new book, which places a spotlight on the recent refugee crisis.
The Columbia Festival of the Arts sponsors events and shows like this year round, and is using this year’s Weekend In The Woods to launch the new Columbia Film Festival. The inaugural event will produce and show films four times a year in a variety of genres, such as features, shorts, and documentaries. The Film Festival will also host student made films. The purpose of the Film Festival, according to the Columbia Festival of the Arts, is to, “Introduce Howard County audiences to the best in the world, national, and local cinema, and is dedicated to inspiring and reflecting the diverse community it serves.”
For many, the festival is a place to connect with people and help the broader community.
“The Columbia Festival of the Arts is where I started my volunteer career,” said Andrea Martinez, a Junior Loan Processor at Howard Bank. “Meeting new people, giving my time and energy to something bigger than myself has helped me grow as a human being and a person by leaps and bounds.”
The change of location means next year’s Festival will showcase musicians in the Chrysalis stage, a brand new amphitheater currently under construction. The Chrysalis will offer a permanent stage for performers and will seat more than 400 people. Despite the fact the Chrysalis stage is not complete, this year’s Weekend In The Woods is poised to be the best, most exciting one in the Festival’s history. The Symphony Woods location is a sprawling 16.5 acres of beautiful landscape. With an incredible new space and remarkably talented musical guests, the event is not one to miss.
For more information and/or to purchase tickets visit www.ColumbiaFestival.org.