Events + Festivals
Just because the school year is over, don't expect college towns to turn into ghost towns. Here's how five cities are living it up in the summertime.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
A boutique music and arts festival, the three-week spectacle offers over 100 varied activities and events. The Ann Arbor Summer Festival produces two concurrent programs— one indoor and one outdoor—at different venues and spaces across the University of Michigan campus and in downtown Ann Arbor. The indoor Mainstage series includes ticketed performances of world-class music, dance, theater, spoken word and comedy. This year's line-up: Circa, an Australian circus troupe, This American Life co-creator and host, Ira Glass and Grammy-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding. The outdoor program, Top of the Park, is held on the campus green and offers free concerts, movies under the stars, open-air spectacles, and fun family attractions.
Those of you traveling to Madrid this summer are doubly lucky because until July 22nd you will find PHotoEspaña in full swing. The photography festival, a long-standing highlight on the city's summer cultural calendar, brings more than 70 exhibits to town displaying work by history’s and today’s greatest lensmen.
There's only one place in the Windy City where you'll find spiked snow cones, astrology readings, leather boat shoes, and a mini-barbershop all under one roof—and that's Dose, the monthly pop-up market showcasing food and fashion finds from throughout the Midwest.
The brainchild of a foursome of local tastemakers that includes editors from Time Out Chicago and the Chicago edition of Daily Candy, the event launched in June 2011, offering displaced shop owners and online artisans a physical space to peddle chiffon scarves, specialty cocktail bitters, and other funky items you never knew you needed. Chicago has been falling hard for Dose's carefully-curated (and ever-rotating) collection of 50 or so vendors, transforming the previously underutilized River East Arts Center—a massive, early 20th-century brick warehouse a few blocks from the fanny-packers at Navy Pier—into a cool place to shop, snack, and discover the next big thing.
If you're looking for a quick family outing from Boston or New York between now and June 30th, hop a train to New Haven, Connecticut, and visit the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
The two-week festival, which brought in $20 million, and more than 100,000 visitors last year, has a diverse program of concerts, dance performances, plays, art installations and culinary tours this year, taking place at more than two dozen venues around the city. Eighty percent of the festival events are free.
At last count, there were 189 international art fairs, enough to keep the affluent and avant-garde in champagne and envy 365 days a year. But on the heels of Documenta and at the apex of the spring fairathon that started with Frieze NY back in early May, Swiss mothership Art Basel—which had its 43rd outing last week—is still the biggest, the brightest, the only fair the art crowd literally can’t afford to miss: last year, Gagosian sold $45 million-worth in the first 45 minutes alone, and, at last Wednesday's VIP preview, someone with a good eye and an even better balance-sheet snagged a Gerhard Richter for north of $20 million—a price-point generally reserved for auction houses.
That's because Art Basel is special: where its Miami Beach iteration has a “Woodstock for the Wealthy” vibe and Documenta is cloaked in anti-commercial intellectualism, Basel distinguishes itself as a serious forum for the exchange of ideas and cash. Which is why, over the weekend, 65,000 art-lovers rendez-vous'ed on the banks of the Rhine.
There may be few places as exciting as London this summer. First, there is that small, international sports event known as the Olympics, starting in late July. Second, the London 2012 Festival, an olympiad of arts and culture of unprecedented scale—more than 25,000 artists from all 204 competing Olympic nations participating in 12,000 events and performances throughout the UK—spans the period June 21 to September 9 and involves the widest range of music, theater, dance, art, film, and then some.
And while the Queen's jubilee year hovers over all these proceedings like a benevolent as well as royal presence, perhaps the most spectacular show in town is at the Goldsmith's Hall, a magnificent, neoclassical palazzo, northeast of St. Paul's Cathedral, where "Gold: Power and Allure, 4,500 Years of Gold Treasures from Across Britain" (through July 28) offers visitors a dazzling opportunity to consider the beauty and this most fabled, precious metal.
David Lamb, the managing director of the World Gold Council, gives T+L an overview of the splendid display:
After the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was so moved by the American victory over the British that he rewrote the words to a hearty English drinking song and came up with "The Star-Spangled Banner" to honor the fact that Americans thenceforth would have the guaranteed right to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as if they had been drinking heartily (see videos, below).
Baltimore itself is commemorating the War of 1812 bicentennial in a big way, well beyond a mere salute to the National Anthem, with the Star-Spangled Sailabration, a week's worth of free patriotic events, June 13-19. Among the activities: An international flotilla of more than two dozen warships and tall ships; a Blue Angels air show; fireworks recalling the Fort McHenry battle; an aircraft display (and a chance to get the autographs of the Blue Angels pilots); and a newly written patriotic symphony at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
If the Alan Lomax collection had a time travel section, that’s where you’d find the 78 Project. Rather than just observing and preserving present-day culture, the project combines technology and traditions from the past with modern musicians—an active exploration of antiquity that’s more mad scientist than history professor.
Filmmaker Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright (with the support of executive producer Erik Nelson) created the project, and serve as its field recording team, but the PRESTO recorder—a later model of the device that Lomax used for his Library of Congress recordings in the ‘30s—is the one who’s really in charge.
This week and through May 12, six North American orchestras arrive in New York to participate in Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall, a festival that celebrates the individuality of musical enterprise, from Alabama to Edmonton, Houston to Milwaukee, and inventiveness and adventurousness in programming. Audiences get the chance to hear these orchestras, some in Carnegie debuts, at which new music or music, familiar or rare, in new contexts is key. And the price of these musical adventures: $25 for all seats, regardless of the location in the hall—front row to top balcony. Carnegie’s celebrated acoustics ensure every ensemble will be heard at its best.
I spoke with Jacques Lacombe, music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra(NJSO), one of the participants who is traveling the least but which brings one of the widest-ranging programs.
Can't get a reservation at Noma until 2020? This summer, you have two other ways to work up an appetite for chef Rene Redzepi's wildly inventive New Nordic cooking, which just topped the Restaurant magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year. On July 1-2, the second annual MAD Symposium (Copenhagen, $350) addresses "Appetite" as its theme; along with Redzepi, expect tasteful thinking from other culinary wild men like Wylie Dufresne, Fergus Henderson and Ferran Adria. Then Redzepi moves his team to London for "A Taste of Noma" pop-up at Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair. (Five courses, $320, July 28-Aug. 6). To pre-register for reservations, click here now. First come, first serve!
Shane Mitchell is Travel + Leisure's special correspondent.
Photo (top) by Ditte Isager