When the Saint Louis Art Fair opens Friday night in , it will feature artists who create music in addition to those who specialize in painting, jewelry and sculpture.
Entertainment will be offered each day of the Art Fair on three different stages. This year's acts include music styles such as blues, rock, classical, a capella, reggae and funk.
Oh: And it's all free. Here's a look at three of the groups performing
WHO: Jeremiah Johnson Band
WHEN: The Jeremiah Johnson Band with the Sliders performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Main Stage.
ABOUT THE BAND: One of the headliners this year is the Jeremiah Johnson Band with the Sliders, an anchor of the St. Louis blues scene. The band features solid vocals and original songs by Johnson, who is backed up by crack musicians known for uncanny tightness and musicianship.
“Everybody is a real seasoned player,” said Johnson, who resides in Soulard.
The Jeremiah Johnson Band was named the 2010 St Louis "King of the Roots" winners, and a first-place finalist in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Houston, TX Regional Blues Challenges sponsored by The Houston Blues Society.
The Jeremiah Johnson Band has played festivals before, but its first appearance at the Art Fair is special. “I think one of the things that's interesting is reaching people who aren't used to going to Soulard—a lot of people who aren't used to seeing us play,” Johnson said.
The band is working on a new album, Brand Spankin Blue, which it plans to release before Christmas.
WHO: Kevin Lucas Orchestra
WHEN: The group will perform at 1:45 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage.
ABOUT THE BAND: The Kevin Lucas Orchestra started out in 1997 as a group of students at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has developed a unique sound that combines modern adult contemporary rock with a world-music flavor.
“It's not easy to break into the music industry,” Kevin Lucas said. “The longer you stay together as a band, the better you get your sound matured.”
The band's efforts have borne fruit. The orchestra was named “Adult Contemporary Group of the Year" through New Music Weekly Magazine in 2009, “Best Pop Act” at the People's Music Awards in London in 2009, and “College Radio Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the New Music Awards in Hollywood in 2008. They also were named in this year's elite Billboard Magazine Songwriting Contest for their song, "I'm Not Ready."
This year marks the group's fourth appearance in the Art Fair. “It's the best art fair we've played in—and we've played in a lot,” Lucas said. “There's so many world-class artists there. Whether artists or music, it doesn't matter.”
The group is working on its sixth album, titled "Green on Blue". Lucas said he feels it is above and beyond the group's previous work.
WHO: Swing Deville
WHEN: Swing Deville kicks off Saturday's music at 11 a.m. on the Main Stage.
ABOUT THE BAND: Blending stringed instruments and a myriad of musical styles, Swing Deville creates a unique and unplugged listening experience. The group, heavily influenced by western swing, also draws from bluegrass, big band, gypsy jazz, New Orleans jazz and pop music of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. It also produces original songs.
The band began almost by accident.
“About six years ago, we started getting together to play and have fun and drink some beer, said Gary Hunt, a singer and guitarist for the group. “Then we figured no one was playing that kind of music, and so we started doing it seriously.”
Swing Deville is not without awards. Its fiddle players have won numerous accolades at festivals across the U.S. and are considered the top fiddle players in the St. Louis area.
The Saint Louis Art Fair holds a particular interest for them.
“The audience is more open—more refined—and we play a more refined music,” Hunt said. “There's a lot of complex harmonies. We should do good there.”
Pamphlets with complete entertainment schedules and much more information about other activities will be available throughout the Art Fair.
It happens in the Clayton business district and is bordered by Maryland and Carondelet avenues on the north and south, and Central Avenue and Brentwood Boulevard on the east and west.
The Saint Louis Art Fair begins Friday and continues through Sunday. It runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.