Fall is in the air, and everyone knows what fall brings. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, and I would like to destroy that thought by saying, no, fall doesn’t only bring the return of everything pumpkin spice. Fall also signals the start of festival season. Downtown Spartanburg kicked of its own festival season on Saturday September 30th, 2017 with the 2nd annual Melting Pot Festival. This festival showcased a glorious combination of many different types arts, and unsurprisingly, it attracted a crowd of people as diverse as the exhibits. There were many things to do and see at this festival. A few of the many things to do and see included; listening to 3 stages worth of great local bands, eating a lot of good food from local vendors and restaurants in the Downtown area, watching live art demonstrations from local artists, visiting Guitar Center’s ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’, and shopping for something vintage or new to fit your personal style. With this list and much more to do and see, this arts festival had a very fun and friendly atmosphere, which proved to provide a great time for people of all ages. I walked around and discovered some of the lesser know artists who helped contribute to this festival. In this article, I will be shedding light on not just the festival, but also some of these amazing people who were so kind and spared some of their time to answer some questions.
The first person I interviewed was an interesting street performer and clown who goes by the name of Dickens. Dickens was personally, by far, one of my favorite acts at the festival. Dickens performed a wide assortment of acts. He juggled fire, told jokes, spun the Diablo (pictured to the left), and much more. Dickens’ inspiration came when he was going to mime school in the 70s. He had met some jugglers who then introduced him to the art of juggling. He discovered that he was much better at juggling than he was at being a mime. He then quit mime school and became a member of the IJA (International Jugglers’ Association). In 1989, Dickens began a touring street performance act. During this time, he visited 14 different cities in Europe, including Germany, France, and Italy. What he said helped him while in these 3 cities in particular was the fact that he knew a little bit of each of their native language. When Dickens would perform on the streets, he would talk to the people in their native
language. He gained the people’s respect by just knowing the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of these languages.
Dickens has had a life filled with performing and traveling all over the world, but for the past 2 years, he has been performing in the upstate. He really loves the people of Spartanburg and this festival. His favorite thing about performing at festivals is getting to see the wonder on the children’s faces as he juggles fire, or hear their laughter when he clowns around. He hopes to be able to do this for many more years. He would like to personally thank everyone who has taken the time to watch him perform.
I stopped to interview one more person at this festival, and her name is Paige Ramsey. As we talked for a bit, I found out that Paige is a traveling artist and photographer originally from Asheville, North Carolina. She said that she knew from a young age that she wanted to travel and that travel would become a very important part of her life. Paige originally went to college for photography, but she ended up changing her major. She graduated from UNCC with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a focus in Time Arts, in addition to that, she also has a minor in Art History.
Paige just recently came back from Germany, and some of her recent art reflects her time spent in Germany. She is currently living in Anderson, but she says she will be moving again in the next few years. She doesn’t like to stay in one place for too long at a time. Her current method of making her art is truly interesting. First, she takes a photograph from NASA, and then she paints her design over it. She has been working on a series of paintings to represent all of the Zodiac Signs
(pictured to the left). She was actually working on a piece in her Zodiac Sign series while I was interviewing her (pictured to the right).
She was very down to earth, and we talked about art for a while. She talked about how when she was younger, she was always pressured to find her ‘style’. She would try to force herself to like something she didn’t like. This is when she gave me some of the best art advice I have ever received. “Don’t force your style, let it find you. Experiment with different mediums and techniques while you’re young. Your style will change over time, so let it.”, these are words that will stick with me. She was a very inspirational artist. You can find her on her website, paigeramsey.com, her Instagram, or her Facebook. Using these sites, she is able to showcase her work and give updates on where she is at the time.
Attending this festival was truly an amazing experience. Not only did I buy a ton of vintage goods and art, but I also met a lot of genuine people who love what they do. Whether it be creating music, painting and drawing, crafting, juggling, making pottery, cooking delicious food, or just being there in general, people were the most laidback, happy, and unified that I’ve witnessed in a while, and I really enjoyed that. All of the people I met were different in most ways, but they had one thing in common, they loved art. This is why I personally love festivals. Festivals bring people together and unify them using one common interest. Even if the festival was just for a few hours, it brought the people of Spartanburg closer through a similar interest in the arts. I’m looking forward to going again next year, and I hope to see you all there!
High school student with a passion for the arts. Her hobbies include; drawing, painting, playing piano or guitar, and listening to music. She can normally be found either hanging out at a local coffee shop drinking overpriced lattes, or climbing to new heights to get an aesthetically pleasing photo.