Culture » Festivals

13 Reasons to Hit IMAF

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The 13th-annual Independent Music and Art Festival will take place this Saturday, June 14, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Harrison Center for the Arts (1505 N. Delaware St.). If you haven't experienced the festival and need a reason (or maybe 13) to check it out, read on. Apologies in advance to any triskaidekaphobes.

1. It's free. You'll probably want to bring money for lunch and/or dinner from the food trucks and to snag cool handmade wares from participating vendors, but there's no admission cost just to get through the proverbial gate.

2. The forecast calls for a high of 76 degrees, making for some great weather for browsing outdoors, getting your grub on and listening to a full day of music.

3. IMAF caters to your schedule. You can sleep in after partying (or binge watching Orange Is The New Black) on Friday night and still be at the festival as soon as it begins on Saturday at noon. You can also arrive later, stay until the end of the event, and still have time to go out and party on Saturday night. (Or be back home and in bed by 9 o'clock.)

Longtime IMAF performer Rusty Redenbacher will serve as the emcee at the music stage for the first time this year. - MICHAEL BLADES
  • Michael Blades
  • Longtime IMAF performer Rusty Redenbacher will serve as the emcee at the music stage for the first time this year.

4. Well-known musician and deejay Rusty Redenbacher will make his debut as emcee of the festival this year. Additionally, he and other members of the band Mr. Kinetik will perform in the early evening.

5. The Harrison is conveniently located and offers free street parking on Delaware and nearby side streets. The center is about 15 minutes south of Broad Ripple, 10 minutes north of Fountain Square, and a few blocks north of I-65, making it easy to get to from just about anywhere in the city -- even if you're outside the I-465 loop.

6. Attending IMAF is your chance to hear lots of independent musicians and bands, including Coolidge, Paul Smallman & Friends, Liz Janes, Elsinore and the Blue Moon Revue. Click through to read more about the bands and hear samples of their work. See the full lineup here.

7. You'll be party to a variety of food and beverage options, including:

  • Duos Indy (à la carte sandwiches, farmers' market veggies, sweets)

  • Spicebox (Indian)

  • Scratch Truck (past menu offerings have included a polenta-and-black bean burger, a barbecue chicken cone, and basil lemonade)

  • Cutie Pies Pizza (the eponymous "pie" is made with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, green pepper, onion, black olives, and mushrooms)

  • Sun King Brewery (specialties include Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, and Osiris Pale Ale)

  • New Day Meadery (locally produced beer and mead)

Designer Amy McAdams’ poster plays with the idea of “lucky 13,” including a special line of text suggesting: “This will be your luckiest of days.” - AMY MCADAMS DESIGN
  • Amy McAdams Design
  • Designer Amy McAdams’ poster plays with the idea of “lucky 13,” including a special line of text suggesting: “This will be your luckiest of days.”

8. The Indy Food Swappers will be ready to trade homemade items and demo everything from cheese-making to food dehydration. Find them in The Underground, also known as the basement of the Harrison Center.

9. VSA Arts will present its "Here's the Scoop" fundraiser. Stop by its booth, purchase a ceramic bowl made by a VSA artist, and get a free scoop of ice cream! Proceeds will support VSA programs, including community art classes.

10. IMAF will feature numerous local artists, including Ahnjayla Beal, Jerome Neal, Quincy Owens, William Denton Ray, and Justin Vining. Participating artists either have studio space at the center or have been coming to IMAF since its inception. Some will have their work at booths and some will be in their open studios inside the center. Keep an eye out as well for folks who find a nice, grassy spot and display their work on a blanket.

11. You might see Amy McAdams-Gonzales, the artist who designed the IMAF poster and has created designs for businesses such as Just Pop In, Homespun: Modern Handmade and Lucky Louie's. This year's poster flips unlucky 13 on its head by featuring a cat with a raised paw, known in Japanese culture as maneki-neko or, simply, a lucky cat.

IMAF's intern-planners Leila Vanest and Evelyn Allee attend Herron High School. - COURTESY IMAF
  • Courtesy IMAF
  • IMAF's intern-planners Leila Vanest and Evelyn Allee attend Herron High School.

12. IMAF will feature the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, which will be set up outside, in the gym and in Gallery #2. Arrive at the festival early for a chance at snagging a swag bag (limited to the first 100 people). And you can pick up Father's Day gifts to give to the papas in your life on Sunday.

13. This year's festival is being coordinated by Herron High School junior Leila Vane and sophomore Evelyn Allee as part of the Harrison Center's Cultural Entrepreneur Initiative. The venture was created so high school and college students could learn to recognize and respond to Indy's cultural needs. Sponsors include Apparatus, Inc., ArtPlace America, Kuhl & Grant, LLP, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the City of Indianapolis, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Sun King, and Amy McAdams Design.

So there you have it. Attend IMAF for its history, the variety of art you're going to see, a delicious selection of foods and beers, independent music, to support a good cause, or simply to take a break from watching Netflix and breathe some fresh air. For more information, visit the Harrison Center's website, Facebook page, or call 317-396-3886.

Throughout the day, live performances take place in the courtyard of the Harrison Center for the Arts, alongside a variety of art exhibits and craft vendors inside and outside of the building, including Indianapolis artist Justin Vining. - LUCY GREEN / JUSTIN VINING
  • Lucy Green / Justin Vining
  • Throughout the day, live performances take place in the courtyard of the Harrison Center for the Arts, alongside a variety of art exhibits and craft vendors inside and outside of the building, including Indianapolis artist Justin Vining.

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