Courtesy FireFish, Steve Wagner
For the third year, James Levin’s FireFish Festival will transform downtown Lorain into an engaging venue for art installations, performances, live music. Last year’s event drew more than 10,000 visitor, and this year’s festival expands to two days: from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, October 6, and 2 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.
"We are excited to expand the festival this year to two days, offering more opportunity for Northeastern Ohioans of all ages to experience this unforgettable one-of-a-kind festival,” says FireFish Festival executive director James Levin. “We are thrilled to be attracting high profile artists wanting to be a part of the creative FireFish experience and hope to continue to draw thousands of new visitors to this hidden gem on the water that is becoming known as an art mecca.”
The festival has become known for its unique performances in unexpected places, as well as its fiery finale. Lorain’s storefronts and vacant buildings are transformed into art installations and pop-up art galleries showcasing local and regional artists. Music and performances take place on the main stage, as well as balconies, alleys, empty storefronts, fire escapes and more. Organizers promise to transform Broadway Avenue itself into an interactive, live artwork, featuring a video installation on Lorain’s old post office by Kevin Jackson.
“With FireFish Festival, we dared to reimagine what downtown Lorain could be, and after three years the fruits of our labor are evident with stores, dance and yoga studios, recording studios and bars springing up along Broadway Avenue,” says Levin. “Similar to what Cleveland Public Theatre brought to Gordon Square and what the Ingenuity Festival brought to East 4th Street, this Festival is the impetus for the reinvention of Lorain as a dynamic, artistic mecca. By bringing together local and regional visual, performing and installation artists, some experimenting with the forms of fire in their art and presented in places that you may not expect, we have created an unforgettable one-of-a-kind arts festival. And we are happy this year to offer Northeastern Ohio two days to visit this gem on the water.”
Each day will feature a unique experience. Friday night kicks off the festivities with a concert from an eclectic variety of regionally acclaimed musical groups. As always, FireFish culminates with a percussion parade and the burning of the ceremonial fish, created by teen art apprentices from the FireFish Arts Summer STEAM Academy.
“Art is about transformation,” Levin says. “One unique aspect of FireFish is that the public, simply by showing up, through the discovery of a transformed city, enters into the transformation. It has also been ‘transformative’ for the FireFish staff to discover and feature so many emerging artists, visual and performing, and provide the canvass for their emergence: Ms Mission, Kevin jackson, Magdalena Cruz, Doug John, all amazing artists now have a sustained time to blaze!”
(FireFish Festival) Downtown Lorain, 617 Broadway Ave., Lorain, firefishfestival.com