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Downtown Art + Sound Festival

Downtown Medford will be transformed into a music and art festival this weekend as 80 bands and 12 artists spread out to more than a dozen locations for Downtown Art + Sound.

"It's about creating an experience that's not just a music festival. Art is happening all around you as you go to listen to these cool bands," says Downtown Art + Sound co-producer Evan Wilson.

VIP-ticket holders can attend a pre-festival party with complimentary food and wine, music by Ben Ken Obi and Brian Risling and an exhibit of art by Cammy Davis and Jon Vait from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the Sparta Building, 12 N. Riverside Ave.

The festival launches with a range of free music and art events beginning at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the amphitheater in Pear Blossom Park at the Commons, across from Lithia Motors headquarters, 150 N. Bartlett St.

Bands In Transit, The Seaons, Eight Dollar Mountain and Frankie Hernandez and the Old Soul Parade will play a mix of high-energy bluegrass, rock, soul and funk from 3:15 to 9:15 p.m. Bands Chapter II, Redwood Son, Worth and Shook Twins will perform from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

Look for a beer and wine garden and the Rogue Flavor Food Truck from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Commons.

Festival-goers can join in an art flash mob at 5:45 p.m. Friday on The Commons. The first 50 people will receive charcoal, erasers and sketch paper to sketch alongside painters and photographers for a half hour.

"Anyone can take part in the sketching experience. Anyone can bring paints or their cameras and join in the flash mob," says Cammy Davis, art director for the festival. "I love the interactive piece. I think people will love that."

The festival is about bringing art out into public plazas, bars and coffee shops in downtown Medford, she says.

"It will make art more accessible to everyone in the community so people are not afraid of art," Davis says.

People can view and vote for their favorite art during the boundary-pushing Edgy Art Contest from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19-20, and Friday and Saturday, Oct. 17-18, in the historic Woolworth building, 29 N. Central Ave. The People's Choice award will be announced Oct. 17.

Those with VIP or two-day festival passes can view a "Lumina Falls" light show by artist Gregg Stephens, a "Bodies as Instruments" photography exhibit and more at the historic Holly Theatre, 226 W. Sixth St. The art will be accompanied by acoustic music performances by violinist Dennis Lufkin and The Ancient Wild from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday; Martin Ball and Third Seven from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Still in the midst of a restoration begun in 2010, the 1930 movie palace will open its doors for the first time in 28 years during the festival.

"The Holly Theatre is magnificent in its construction-zone glory," Davis says. "There will be an analog art piece where the light dances to music. We're actually going to have live musicians at the same time. It's going to be quite magical."

The quality of the art experience will be matched by the high caliber of musicians performing during the festival, Wilson says.

"We booked bands that are really good. They are up-and-comers in the music scene. It's music that in a few years we might not be able to see here because the bands are so big — or we'll only be able to see them at the Britt," Wilson says.

Portland folk-pop band Shook Twins is ready to rattle the world; banjo and slide guitar player Tony Furtado also is here from Portland; local band BROTHER will perform at Howiee's on Front, along with Ashland rock band 100 Watt Mind; Craig Wright's Horse Feathers will play at the Imperial Events Center; and blues-inspired rock band Cody Beebe & The Crooks will play The Rocky-Tonk Saloon. See a complete schedule at www.mailtribune.com/tempo.

Many events are free, while others cost $5 to $10 for cover charges. Friday-only passes cost $25 in advance or $30 during the festival. Saturday-only passes cost $35 in advance or $40 during the festival. Two-day passes cost $50 in advance or $60 during the festival, while all-access festival passes cost $125.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.downtownartandsound.com or Limestone Coffee at 217 E. Main St. in Medford, Listen Here at 234 S.W. Sixth St. in Grants Pass or the Music Coop at 268 E. Main St. in Ashland.

For more information and to view video-clip previews of the musicians, see downtownartandsound.com.

Left to right: Drew Reid, aka DidgeriDrew, guitarist and bagpiper Angus Richardson and drummer Michael Saint John will perform as BROTHER at 8 p.m. Saturday at Howiee's on Front during the Downtown Art + Sound Festival. Photo by Bob Pennell