Start Howling: A Guide To AS220’s Foo Fest

This weekend Providence’s long standing non-profit community arts organization, AS220 will host their 22nd installment of Foo Fest, a 12 hour summer block party with a formidable line up highlighted by Providence noise rock goliaths, Lightning Bolt and Minibeast featuring post-punk legend Peter Prescott (Mission of Burma/Volcano Suns/Kustomized) in tow. The day will also feature family friendly activities, interactive art, technology, food and refreshment. To get a grasp on this years event, and Foo Fest’s rich history we caught up with AS220’s, Live Arts Director and Foo Fest Organizer Jacob Nathan.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Can you tell me a little about the history of the event and how it’s evolved since it’s inception ?

Jacob Nathan: Foo Fest is AS220’s largest annual event and is the non-profit’s primary fundraiser. The event’s history goes back to 1995, when it was called The Fool’s Ball, and held around April Fools’ Day. At the time it was mostly indoors, although there was always a parade. Starting in 2009, the event was transformed into an outdoor street festival and moved to August. The festival now features 12 hours of music, performance, kid and family-friendly activities, handson interactive art experiences from local artists, makers, and like-minded arts and cultural organizations, DIY technology, delectable food and drink, and much more, all highlighting culture, and creativity in Providence and the Ocean State! The day starts off as family friendly but we can make no guarantees about what happens once the moon rises and people start howling.

The AGP: What can you tell us about this years line-up?

Jacob: This year’s lineup of performers runs the gamut of genre and features many local performers who have been involved at AS220 throughout the year including Community Curators such as The Daily Note and D. Valor. The fest’s featured artists this year are Cakes Da Killa and Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt played at the 2009 Foo Fest, and they’ve been involved with AS220 and Providence for a very long time. Their set at Foo Fest will likely be completely insane, it’s at the end of a long day. Cakes is coming up from NYC, and is perfect fun for the Foo atmosphere.

The AGP: For those looking to dig a little deeper into the arts can you tell us what we can expect in addition to this year musical performances?

Jacob: Other things that will happen: GNOMES DANCING JIGS, A Parade with artists in residence Greg Cook and Kari Percival featuring The Blackout Drum Squad, glassblowing demonstrations, a Latin American artisan market, and a variety of participatory events: origami, paper marbling, puppet and mask making, screen printing, and poetry on demand from Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tina Cane and Laura Marie Marciano

The AGP: How does the event come together from an organizational standpoint?

Jacob: The event is put together by a whole team of people at AS220 who work year round getting the fundraiser together. Gallery Director Neal Walsh coordinates vendors, booths, artist installations and I program the performers on the two stages.

AS220’s Foo Fest
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12th, 2017 /// 1 PM – 1 AM
$10 in advance / $15 day of / Kids 10 and under FREE