Back Door Coffeehouse will celebrate “Tripod 2016 Arts Festival” this weekend in the Fellowship Hall of University Baptist Church, beginning at 7 p.m on Nov. 11.
The second year of this arts festival is an amalgamation of concerts, songwriting and poetry writing workshops and a “fantastic temporary arts challenge” inspired by Black Rock City’s annual Burning Man festival, according to Tripod facilitator David Walker.
“This is a once-a-year opportunity for students to enjoy something really unique and virtually free,” Walker said, emphasizing that Tripod is a “true arts festival.”
“[It] not only features amazing performers for two evenings’ concerts but also a day of songwriting workshops and poetry [and] writing workshops mentored by acclaimed [artists] in those disciplines.”
Walker said Tripod itself began under the direction of Kat Spangler, associate minister at UBC and chief barista, and inspired him to write a new chapter of Back Door Coffeehouse.
Spangler said Back Door Coffeehouse became one of her favorite things while working at UBC.
“With all the local talent and interest in the arts in our community, it seemed to me an arts festival could be an inspiring and exciting event for our church to be a part of,” Spangler said. “Not only that, it was a natural extension of what Back Door was already doing and a way to build stronger relationships with our neighbors.”
Cary Hudson, Thomas Jackson, Sarah Bryan Lewis and Scott Chism and The Better Half will perform in the first concert with a special appearance from Grammy-winning songwriter Tricia Walker and Sharon Gerald, author of “Thin is the Kingdom.”
Registration for workshops begins at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, and workshops begin at 9:30 a.m. The songwriting workshop will be led by Tricia Walker, and the poets and writers workshop will be led by Sharon Gerald. Both are limited to 15 participants each and will cost $15. Workshop participants will receive a complimentary lunch break at 11:30 a.m. and will finish at 2 p.m.
Students interested in participating in the workshops can register online at ubchm.org. If room permits, organizers will take late entries on Saturday morning until workshops begin.
The Cardboard Creation Challenge, a sculpture contest, will take place concurrent with the writers’ workshops. Participating artists can pick up their cardboard and fastener supplies at 9 a.m. and spend the day working on their structures or sculptures.
“The sculptures will remain in place through the day and evening with a [laser] light projection running across them during the evening’s festivities,” Walker said. “Artists who participate are invited to set up samples of their more serious work for display or sale inside the fellowship hall.”
Saturday evening at 7 p.m., doors will open for another concert featuring the Mulligan Brothers.
“Along with the band, festival favorite works from the workshops will be performed from the stage,” Walker said. “Both concerts are donation only events.”
Java Works coffees, Coca-Colas and treats will be provided at no cost, and a free nursery with two workers will be available on site.
Walker said the monthly Back Door Coffeehouse was founded in 1992 by a few artists.
“A few writers and musicians who were members or friends of University Baptist Church thought the fellowship hall would be perfect for a coffeehouse venue,” Walker said. “The church agreed that a no-hidden-agenda arts event that showcased the honest efforts of writers and musicians was a worthy use of such a wonderful room.”
Walker said the Back Door Coffeehouse continues to be a place “where the entire community can interact with artists in a most personal way” and that it runs entirely on donations and sponsors.
“It has been a decision from the beginning that no ticket would ever be sold for a concert or performance at the Back Door,” Walker said.
According to Walker, the Back Door Coffeehouse is a “win-win” for USM.
“Faculty of the Mass Communications Department saw a golden opportunity to provide great field experience for their student interns to participate in production of a true monthly arts venue,” Walker said. “We love it when we have USM musicians on stage, with USM technicians recording them, filming them and USM students enjoying the fun of a real coffeehouse evening in our audience.”