Plans underway for music fest

Plans are underway for the 2014 Tiffin Music and Art Festival June 20-22 at Hedges-Boyer Park in Tiffin. The founders of the event, Chelsea Bickelhaupt and Nathan Mullins, recently reported on new additions to the festival.

“We’ve got 75 acres to fill,” Mullins said.

Food vendors from last year are returning, including Rick Frederick’s homemade ice cream. A number of bands, vocalists and musicians already have signed up to participate. Volunteer coordinator Nathan Morton is lining up volunteers. Vendors are invited to sell artistic items and demonstrate their work. Bickelhaupt has sent out letters to artists inviting them to participate and to list the kinds of work they can show. No vendor’s license is needed.

“We’ve added an area for the artists, called ‘Artists’ Row.’ We just want people of any skill level to set up in that area. If they want to set up for display only, it’s free,” Bickelhaupt said. “I want a lot of handmade crafts, but its open to others.”

Those who want to sell their work are asked for a $40 fee that covers all three days. Bickelhaupt also is looking for people to give informative or demonstrative workshops – “anything that’s going to get people involved hands-on.” She would like to feature yoga, radio controlled aircraft, a poi demonstration, hula hoop workshop, reflexology, guitar workshop, drumming and other offerings. Live painting and visual art demos and performances are welcome. A community mural is to offer the public an opportunity to add their own art work.

Mullins is hoping to get people excited now and make plans to take part or attend the festival.

“We’ve added a parade. The route for the parade … starts at the Hidden Valley field, next to the YMCA. It will come next to the shelter, around the ring and disperse into the community area,” Mullins said.

Matt Reino, a local musician, is in charge of the Saturday morning parade, which is to include floats, classic cars, music and performers.

“We’re trying to get as many people involved as we can,” Reino said.

The community area is a newly designated section of the festival that is to include the Kids Zone. Community non-profits, such as hospice, Red Cross, CARSA, Habitat, Relay for Life, MADD and SALSA, are to be set up there Saturday and Sunday.

“We have the Tiffin Washboard Band confirmed again this year,” Mullins said. “They’re really good at getting the crowd involved. They’ll be on the community stage.”

The community stage is to feature family-friendly performers such as magicians, DJs, karaoke, comedians, marching bands, dance groups, show choirs, a cappella vocal groups, poetry performers, jazz ensembles, barbershop quartets and baton corps. Mullins’ hope is that the performers will march in the parade and then take their skills to the stage.

“We are going to do the Level-Up Game Zone again this year. That will be in the community area. They’ll have their own tent doing competitions throughout the day, beginner-level stuff, to keep everybody interested,” Mullins said.

Music by local and regional musicians is to be a focal point, beginning on the main stage at 6 p.m. June 20. Groups slated to perform Friday night include Last Rite, MARS, Oktane and Allie and the Rockers. A special feature is to be Sirkus Daze Fire Performers, who are to move to the music at the pavilion 8 p.m.-1 a.m. The schedule still has open slots Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re doing five stages this year. We’re having over 100 performances over the three days.” Mullins said.

A complete band line-up reveal is to take place once most of the times are filled. A compilation CD from 2013 is available online and at Level-Up and Bailiwicks. The CD has 13 songs by artists who played at last year’s TMAF. Many of them are returning for 2014. The CD cost of $5 is to be donated to offset TMAF expenses. T-shirts from the first two festivals also are to be for sale.

“We’re also looking for interested car show participants. Classic cars, bikes, trucks, anything.” Mullins said.

“We will be shutting down the Coe Street entrance to the park. The entire top ring will be shut off to traffic except for traffic that is related to the festival – car show people, vendors, performers, EMS.”

The main entry will be from Summit Street. The parking lot next to the pool will be used for handicapped parking. Premium parking closer to the festival grounds will be available for a donation to the group helping to park cars. Groups and organizations who would like to help with parking, trash, set-up and staffing the two information booths are needed.

Mullins said the committee board has two leadership positions open. He also is forming a “street team” to promote, publicize and market the festival during the two weeks before the event. They would hanging fliers and spread the word for this community event that is becoming a “destination event” for artists and musicians in NW Ohio. Mullins senses that Tiffin seems to be taking on an artistic direction.

“This is our third year, so we’re starting to take steps toward sustainability, toward legitimacy. With this being a free event, we really want the community to embrace the idea of bringing everyone together for a common good, to promote culture and bring awareness of the power of the arts,” Mullins said. “It’s not about us … It’s about giving back to the community.”

Proceeds from the festival are to be donated to the Tiffin Parks and Recreation Department for park improvements.

“In putting together the event, we noticed last year some restrictions as far as electricity and water supply at the park that we would like to improve for future events – not just ours, but Fourth of July and any other events at the park,” Mullins said.