A new festival series is coming to Baltimore, one organizers hope will paint an authentic picture of the city.
Baltimore by Baltimore will feature local talent from musicians to makers in the heart of Charm City at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater.
The series will run the first Saturday of the month from May 7 through Oct. 1 (Edit: The May 7 kickoff date is postponed to June 4 due to a high chance of rain, flooding alert, and wind advisory.)
“Our goal for this festival series is to revive the heartbeat of the Harbor and create experiences for Baltimore, by Baltimore,” said Laurie Schwartz, president of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, in a news release.
The Waterfront Partnership initiative was inspired by a December report drawing on input from Baltimore residents that detailed what they hoped to see at the Inner Harbor.
“Reimagining the Harbor as a Hub,” by Sally J. Scott and Joby Taylor—residents and University of Maryland Baltimore County community program directors—presents ideas gathered from Baltimore Sun readers and other Baltimore residents for connecting with and representing the city’s diversity.
It followed a Baltimore Sun Op-Ed the duo released earlier in the year.
“We are inviting many more voices to the decision-making table and thinking collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders on how we can best support each other’s work,” says Leanna Wetmore, director of events and programs at the Waterfront Partnership, when reached via email on Monday, April 25.
Schwartz expects the series to bring new energy to the Inner Harbor and highlight these voices, which include local, minority and women-owned talent.
Visitors to the First Saturday festivals can expect local makers, artists, street performers, event producers, food trucks, pop-up shops and Baltimore musicians.
A different emerging Baltimore producer will curate each month’s lineup, which will run from noon to 8 p.m. The Made in Baltimore and BASE networks will prioritize drawing in women- and minority-owned vendors.
The festival will also feature family-friendly acts and producer-selected vendors.
Terrell Brown, the producer of the May 7 festival, is a Baltimore artist, activist and organizer of The Artist Navigator—a new site and service presented by Baltimore Corps which bridges creatives and local resources to foster a thriving creative community.
“For me, it’s all about leveraging our creative economy to show how abundant these spaces can be while representing all of Baltimore,” Brown shares in the news release.
He says the festivals will bring awareness to internationally known artists who are from
Baltimore that many people might not know. The May 7 lineup includes John Tyler, Kish the Lioness, founder of the Poetry Party, Eat the Cake Band, Blaqstarr, 1500 Radio + DJ Twisted.
Makers include apparel company Girl in Space Club, Tree House Project, The African Diaspora Alliance and Accessmatized Makeup Artistry.
Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Councilman Eric Costello and leaders from tourism organizations Visit Baltimore and Downtown Partnership of Baltimore joined the Waterfront Partnership for the official launch on Friday, April 22.
“Baltimore by Baltimore is destined to become a fixture for residents from across our city to enjoy this year and many more years to come,” Scott said in a news release.
He lauded the lineup as supporting a shared vision for the Inner Harbor in showcasing a diversity and locality that residents and visitors won’t find anywhere else.
Baltimore by Baltimore is among several recent efforts to revitalize the Inner Harbor’s tourism, including a reopened Baltimore Visitor Center, the first phase of Rash Field Park with hands-on learning and play for kids and kayak tours running every Saturday from May 1 through October.
Despite struggles compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Waterfront Partnership reports the Harbor Harvest Children’s Festival drew in more than 3,500 people to Rash Field Park and the Inner Harbor Ice Rink and Christmas Village saw record attendance.
For updates on the Baltimore by Baltimore festival series, visit waterfrontpartnership.org/BXB.