Cabarrus artists and performers are preparing for the eighth Kannapolis Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival on Oct. 25.
The festival launched in April 2013 and has been held four times each year.
Co-founder of Kannapolis Arts and the Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival series Michael Knox, 40, had the idea for a festival as a result of his work writing for a Cabarrus publication.
“I started interviewing different people with arts and culture backgrounds and quickly became aware that even though Cabarrus County has a ton of talented artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers and creative individuals, many of the people were unaware of the other people. So I looked for a venue that would allow us to create an environment to hold our festivals so that artists and poets and creative individuals in the area could meet up and start networking with one another,” Knox said.
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The key is holding the festival downtown, which happens thanks to Phyllis Beaver with the North Carolina Research Campus and Ryan Dayvault, a city of Kannapolis councilman, he said.
The Oct. 25 festival, to be held noon-4 p.m. on West Avenue, has filled all its available spaces for artists and performers. Knox said the past festivals have averaged about 90 artists and performers, with mediums ranging from painting to Celtic and Polynesian dance.
The demand is so high for spaces that organizers have decided to add a fifth Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival to next year’s schedule. The 2015 dates will be the last Saturday of April, May, June and September, Knox said. The fifth date for 2015 will be on a Saturday in October, still to be determined.
Artists are not charged to participate in the festival.
“Talking to the artists who have never attended a festival before because they couldn’t afford it. When you are a struggling artist, even a $10 entry fee can be a huge burden,” said Knox, a Kannapolis resident. “When I was directing a feature length documentary on the circus I traveled with…I was living off of $700 a month in Asheville…So I know what it’s like to have to choose between eating or having a space at an event.”
Those wishing to reserve spots have to register in advance and be approved.
“As a result of free participation, so many artists are thankful because it is often the first time the public gets to see their work and they get validation when people tell them how much they enjoy their work,” Knox said. “Several artists doubted their skills until they came out and saw the reaction the public had to their work.”
The event will also have food truck and live entertainment.
Knox said Kannapolis Arts and its volunteers also are at work planning other future cultural events, such as a craft beer festival, a Shakespeare-in-the-Park style event and a photo competition.