Now in their 7th year, on Detroit’s westside, The Sidewalk Festival, produced by Sidewalk Detroit, is one of the best events in the city— one we should all be talking about.
Spread out over two days the Fest brings together creatives and the curious to hear and see what I’d call very real stories. Artists apply to take part in the Fest, which markedly is attended by well over 1000 people, creating and sharing art and stories through differing mediums. There is music, installation, graffiti, varying forms of dance, interactive art, sometimes puppets, sometimes experimental theater. And an essential component I’ve noticed over the years, besides it being boldly a dynamic platform, is the commitment to amplifying the voice of its annual artists.
One song in particular that really emanates the Sidewalk Fest street vibe is the 1979 summer hit Margherita by Pino Massara. The song is nearly 8 minutes, and brings listeners through a funky, electronic, soulful and somewhat disco ecstasy. In several parts when translated from Italian it says:
“Love in the sun
Won’t you ride on the wings of my fantasy
And this summersong
Will last a whole life long”
Perhaps a tad risqué, this song really does personify the multi-faceted, summer heat dance and celebratory aurae one feels when walking along the colorful corridors of the Sidewalk Festival. The song’s length also reflects all the special, warm (sometimes tearful) moments we’d all like to capture and hold onto, perhaps ‘a whole life long.’
Wearing my netted sunshine shirt— feeling the breeze swarm up the street, and watching spoken word by One Single Rose, or theater by The Hinterlands, or vivid dance by Annette and the Bohemian Dancers of Paint all rise up from the concrete in strength and joy— makes me feel. Makes me feel a tinge of that Margherita ecstasy.
This year the 7th Annual Sidewalk Festival, which takes places in Old Redford, at The Artist Village Detroit, is set for August 1 – 3. It premieres with an evening panel discussion, a party, and then a full day of ART on that Saturday. And none of it is to be missed.
Detroit, come dance in the streets this summer!