By Mark Johnson
As the summer season begins to wind down, many people will undoubtedly look to make the most of the remaining days of sunshine, warm weather and outdoor activities. Many view the summer months as bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day, with the latter serving as a kind of last hurrah for the summer months.
For this upcoming Labor Day weekend, Broad Ripple Park will help to close out summer on a high and festive note. On that weekend, the park will host the inaugural White River Arts & Music Festival, or WARMfest, a three-day music and arts festival that will feature local, regional and national acts as well as the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace.
WARMfest, though, has more than just an entertainment agenda. Part of the proceeds from the festival will go to help the Carl G. Fisher Society a non-profit organization that seeks to restore the White River to its original greatness as a site for entertainment and education.
“WARMfest is actually a vision in progress,” WARMfest Executive Director Dan Ripley said. “Our goal is to cultivate a stewardship of the White River. We wanted to create an event that would raise awareness first in Broad Ripple, then in the city of Indianapolis. Our goal is to revitalize and restore the area, to bring it back to the great resource that it once was. Our festival is about much more than just music.”
The impetus for the event began as a collaborative endeavor between Indy Parks & Recreation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, and CGFS. That effort sought to clean up Broad Ripple Park’s shoreline, thus giving patrons of the park an unobstructed view of the White River.
“That was definitely one of the goals,” Ripley said. “To clean up the shoreline and restore views to the park that haven’t been visible for years. This is nothing original. There is a rich history of Broad Ripple Park and White River. These were vacation and resort areas with amusement parks and what was, for many years, the largest outdoor pool in the state.”
Yet, those who attend WARMfest will be treated to a wide array of food, art, games and activities. A diverse group of musical acts will perform across five stages throughout the three days of the festival. Veteran performers such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Michael Franti & Spearhead will share the stage with up and coming artists such as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, while local legend Jennie Devoe also will perform.
Ripley is very pleased with the musical lineup, a variety of styles and genres that truly offers something for everyone.
“We’ve partnered with promoters MOKB and that has been very beneficial to me. They did a great job with the talent. Booking agent Josh Baker put together a really great lineup. We are creating a festival that moves people and also provides funding and resources,” he said.
WARMfest is presented by Howard Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Sam Ash Music, and Neat-o Art Shop.
For more information, visit warmfest.org.