Newburyport’s Spring Fest returns for a reimagined showcase for local artists on May 14 and 15, with a lineup of free performances by dancers, singers, actors, and musicians, culminating in a Sunday-night concert by soulful vocalist Joan Osborne.
Organized by the Newburyport Arts Collective, the event will include a Broadway cabaret featuring award-winning singers The Performing Project, top teen dancers from Joppa Dance Company, a set from the Zach Field Drums and Music high school rock ensemble, and theater from Acting Out, the Firehouse Center for the Arts, Anna Smulowitz Productions, and the Actor’s Studio of Newburyport.
“It’s going to be an exciting explosion of support for arts in the community,” says John Budzyna, co-owner of Acting Out and founding member of the Newburyport Arts Collective. “Coming out of the pandemic and being able to see people live and in person, it’s going to be a wonderful celebration.”
The event, sponsored by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will take place in Waterfront Park.
In addition to performances on the main stage in Waterfront Park, plein air artists from the Newburyport Arts Association will set up easels along the waterfront and on Inn Street, creating paintings in real time. Local cultural organizations, including Tinkerhaus Maker Space and Newburyport Youth Services, will host tables with free crafts for kids, and dozens of master craftspeople will sell their wares.
Local restaurants will be offering to-go picnics to enjoy during the performances. The Paddle Inn, for example will be selling its poplar hummus plate, two chicken Bahn mi sandwiches, mai tai popcorn for dessert, and two house sangrias in a tote bag for $85.
“Can’t wait to see all the people out enjoying spring,” says chef and owner Suzi Maitland.
The current scheduled, subject to updating is:
Saturday, May 14
10-11 a.m. Anna Smulowitz Productions
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Zach Field Drums and Music High School Rock Band
12-1 p.m. EJ Ouelette band
1-2 p.m. Joppa Dance Company
Sunday, May 15
10-11 a.m. Acting Out Productions
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Performing Project Broadway Cabaret
12-1 p.m. Actors Studio of Newburyport
1-2 p.m.Greater Newburyport Children’s Chorus
2-3 p.m. Firehouse Center for the Arts
4:30 p.m. – Joan Osborne
“It is thrilling to gather so many talented artists – ranging in age from 5 years old to 80 – for live performances again,” Budzyna says. “We are so grateful for the support of the City and the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce for creating this showcase for local artists.”
The Newburyport Arts Collective was founded as a response to the way COVID-19 pandemic threatened local arts and cultural organizations. It’s work includes creating a website listing theater, music, dance, visual arts, and other cultural events in Newburyport, collective members promote support for the arts with city leaders and share resources to amplify their own creativity and reach.
All events are free. Parking is available for $1 per hour at the Newburyport Intermodal Parking Garage, 2 Titcomb St. For more information, visit newburyportartscollective.org.