In its third year, Light City has expanded to cover three weekends: Neighborhood Lights from April 6-8, Light City art and music festival from April 14-21, and Labs@LightCity from April 18-21. Expect to see 21 illuminated art installations along the Inner Harbor, more than 50 performances, dozens of speakers at panel discussions at Labs@LightCity, fireworks, and a whole lot of light bulbs.
Opening Night Parade
The kickoff to the main festival comes by way of parade. Community groups, school marching bands, stilt-walkers, and arts groups will take to the streets in a celebratory walk that starts at 7:30 p.m. April 14. You can stop by 621 E. Pratt St. at noon that day for a workshop to make artwork for the parade, then take part in it. After all, this is about celebrating our city and the people and art who make it light up.
Grand Master Flash and G. Love
Headlining music acts are always a draw, and this year is no exception. Headlining music acts: Grand Master Flash will perform at 10 p.m. April 14, G. Love & Special Sauce at 10:30 p.m. April 20, and Kimbra at 10:30 p.m. April 21 on the Light Up the Night! Concert Stage at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater. For a complete list of musical acts, see https://lightcity.org.
A New Stage
A second Club Light City stage, presented by Morgan State University, has been added to the event in 2018 to showcase local, national, and international DJs playing house, dance, and hip-hop in Kaufman Pavilion by Rash Field.
New this year, you can grab your phone, dial 410-934-7821, enter the number of your Art Walk stop, and listen in* for a self-guided audio tour of the art installations—both at the BGE Light Art Walk and Neighborhood Lights. Learn about the stories behind these wondrous pieces. (*Works best on speaker phone and shared with friends.)
Crankies have gained widespread appeal throughout the city, perhaps in part to performances at Black Cherry Puppet Theater and the popular Crankie Fest at the Creative Alliance. Lantern Studios will roll a cart through the festival that will bring shadow puppet crankies shows to the streets. As the story scroll is lit from behind to reveal silhouetted characters and settings, crankies are a perfect addition to a festival of lights.
A drone race—the only of its kind in the world—will bring league competitors from across the country to the festival’s light installation/sculpture garden/obstacle course, created by Baltimore-based artist collaborative McCormack and Figg. During any race downtime, you can wander through the installation to see it up close.
Billed as an “ecosystem of ideas,” Labs@LightCity brings together leading thinkers for conversations focusing on education, the environment, the arts, social issues, health, the makers movement, and food. Registration is required, but tickets are “pay what you can.” There are so many speakers to get excited about, it’s hard to choose—arts activist Aaron Maybin, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus, beloved artist Joyce Scott, radio host Marion Winik, to name a few.
Whether you ride on one of artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies, or watch them go by, these whimsical pedicabs will be a sight to behold. The artist designed 27 illuminated kinetic sculptures that will be attached to pedicabs, for a more festive way to travel during the event.
This artist-in-residence program pairs local visual artists with community organizers in 14 Baltimore neighborhoods. For a full weekend, you can see site-specific art installations made specifically with each neighborhood personality in mind. Take photos because they won’t last long. That’s part of their beauty.
"The Eighth Art"
Much like Labs@LightCity, it’s impossible to pick just one art installation at the Inner Harbor when each of the 21 pieces will be mind blowing. For instance, “The Eighth Art,” by Erinn E. Hagerty and Adam P. Savje of Unfolding of the Wave Ltd., is a 24-foot geodesic dome that you can actually get inside of, to watch the light displays around you.