Grab a megaphone and “Shout” the news! Charlotte Shout Festival is back for its second year with an agenda of events to knock your socks off.
From Sept. 5 to Oct. 5, 2003, Charlotte will experience an explosion of arts, culture and entertainment designed to pique your senses and capture your soul as over 200 performances and events occur in more than 40 venues throughout the Charlotte region.
Shout is produced by Charlotte ArtsFest, Inc., a not-for-profit affiliate of Charlotte Center City Partners, which manages the event. It provides a showcase for local and regional artists as well as an expanded marketing approach for Charlotte-based arts and cultural groups which help strengthen their programs and raise their profile in the regional and national community. Artists from all over the world complement the local talent.
The month long festival kicks off on the first Friday in September at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center when The Opera Babes, Karen England and Rebecca Knight, join the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra for an evening of glorious music. The “Babes” bring beauty, personality and grace to some of the world’s most beautiful classical music.
“Shout events cover a broad array ranging from free performances to community arts festivals to ticketed events featuring national and international artists,” says Robert Krumbine, vice president of events for Charlotte Center City Partners and executive director of ArtsFest. “Shout creates an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents bringing them all together in one community celebration that markets them through an extensive advertising package. By agreeing to incorporate the Charlotte Shout Festival logo at their events and cross-promoting Shout, they are included in all of Shout’s marketing materials, which includes a Web site with a master calendar of all events, an events guide book distributed to over 300,000 homes, an advertising campaign which includes print, radio, and TV, and a regional marketing campaign supported by Visit Charlotte.”
“Charlotte Shout Festival presents a series of distinct events in Center City where people have easy access to a menu of activities involving local talents as well as national artists,” says Mary McMillan, volunteer chair of ArtsFest. “It has the potential to bring people outside the area to Charlotte, thus creating a favorable economic impact on the city as local concerns such as hotels, restaurants, performance venues and retail benefit from the event. In addition, a variety of local ancillary and supporting businesses from event planners to providers of tents, chairs and portajohns jump on the bandwagon as the Festival stimulates community business.”
“Charlotte Shout Festival is truly an inspirational idea,” says Judith Allen, president of the Performing Arts Center. “Instead of a single event, it’s a community celebration. By bringing together under one umbrella the full spectrum of artistic expression – visual arts, dance, theatre, music, science, history, and culinary arts – the Festival comes alive, uniting the soul of Charlotte’s community.
“Celebrations such as Charlotte Shout Festival enhance the business community as they seek to recruit and retain employees on all levels. It’s a quality of life issue in which Charlotte Shout is a contributor. When you put all the festivals together – Speed Street, October Fest, First Night – the impact on the perception of business and the community is extraordinary. The city is vibrant, exciting, social and educational. It’s the place to be!”
How it all began
Krumbine arrived in Charlotte 16 years ago eager to plan events which would enhance the Charlotte community. It was Krumbine who planned the opening events for the Coliseum in 1988, created Speed Street and planned the ceremonies for the opening of Ericsson Stadium.
But the Charlotte Shout Festival is truly his ‘baby’. “We wanted to create a highly cultural arts community event in a way never done before,” says Krumbine. “We researched festivals throughout the country to come up with the ideal model. Our goal was to find a way to showcase the arts and cultural opportunities in Charlotte, making them the highlight. We looked at other festivals from Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, S.C., to those in Virginia and as far away as Nevada, and discovered that some were geared primarily for visitors and featured talents from other parts of the country and world and some were geared for the local people and highlighted the talents of local artists. In reality, we looked at model festivals and turned them upside down.
“Charlotte Shout Festival was born as an opportunity to showcase arts in the Charlotte region accented by talents from all over the world. We offer the arts community an enticing package to which they eagerly respond. Shout enables groups such as the 28 major affiliates of the Arts and Science Council, which is funded by monies raised by the Council, to receive an extra punch as they present their talents and are marketed through Shout.
“I take great delight in seeing Shout come together and making it a truly inspirational event,” says Krumbine. “We’re promoting the cultural arts community – the community that has made Charlotte a great place to live, work and play.”
Amazingly, Krumbine has only three staff members, who receive a boost during the summer months from three interns, as they diligently place all the pieces of the event in order. Eighty to 100 volunteers complement the staff.
Shout impacts the business community
Shout images Charlotte as a destination – a place where great things happen. “From a business angle, it’s an opportunity for branding, a great way for businesses to show community support,” says Krumbine. “Charlotte’s corporate community is very strong. Our business sponsors generate monies that continue the pattern of growth throughout the community. Special events such as Shout show our employees, customers, and business partners the great quality of life in Charlotte.”
“Charlotte Shout is a good example of the ideal client relationship,” says Patrick Hollowell, president of Paradigm Communications Group. “It creates a win-win situation for Paradigm. By virtue of being a high profile and prestigious event, Shout exposes us in a beneficial fashion to a diverse new potential market share and generates positive cash flow for the company.”
“Shout allows us to do business and network with caterers and hospitality folks at the same time,” says Dan Hooks, president of Party Reflections Inc., whose tables, chairs and tents fill the streets of Center City. “We enjoy a good working relationship with Charlotte Center City Partners.”
Sample Shout’s Diverse Menu of Events
Charlotte Shout Festival’s Culinary Arts Experience is a three-day festival – Thursday, Sept. 25th, through Saturday, Sept. 27th, at Gateway Village. For visitors, it’s a celebration of food, beer, wine, music and the culinary arts. Presented by Johnson & Wales University, Compass Group, and Piedmont Natural Gas, it is dedicated to the art of cooking and the preparation of food, giving chefs a chance to share and show people what cooking is all about.
Celebrity chefs Alton Brown and Sara Moulton will be on hand to demonstrate their skills. Brown is the star and producer of “Good Eats,” now in its fifth season on the Food Network. Moulton is the Food Network star of “Sara’s Secrets,” focusing on recipes that fit into the modern family’s busy lifestyle. They each will demonstrate their skills on a high tech, double kitchen stage with a gigantic video screen and seven live cameras.
Visitors can sample some of Charlotte’s best food and wine and see a nationally sanctioned BBQ competition. Held in conjunction with the Culinary Arts Experience, the competition features national and local teams, along with live blues music, BBQ demonstrations, a Tar Heel BBQ debate, beer school, and more. The 20-plus national teams will go head-to-head for the title of Grand Champion, with the winner taking home $5,000, a trophy and a slot at the World Championship Cook-Off at Memphis in May 2004. Local teams can “wow” the judges with their skills in the Pro-Am division where prizes range from $75 to $500.
Gospel Shout, presented by the Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte Center City Partners, takes center stage at the United House of Prayer – First Ward on Tuesday, Sept. 9th, with Labor-Aires, featuring gospel soul music from Charlotte’s Greater Providence Baptist Church, and Clouds of Heaven, a shout band from United House of Prayer for all People. Gifted singers and instrumentalists share the African-American traditions and the Carolina tradition of brass shout bands.
Shout echoes into the future
Charlotte Shout Festival operates as a business with a three to five year business plan. “The first year was devoted to branding – getting the word “Shout” out to the community and potential visitors,” says Krumbine. “Last year, Charlotte Shout Festival created a buzz. People wanted to know what it was all about. They began looking into it; a spark was ignited. This year, the focus is on branding and entertainment, adding more events. Next year, we’ll place less emphasis on branding.
“The ultimate goal of the celebration is not financial success,” says Krumbine. “We want to pay the bills and have monies to sustain ourselves for the next year. Last year was tough due to rainy days. But we learned from our experience and this year have more business partners involved, reducing the number of events produced solely by Charlotte ArtsFest, Inc. Partners range from art groups to non-affiliate art groups. ArtsFest promotes the event but the participant assumes the costs of the event. They, in turn, reap the rewards.
“As to the future, it’s a wait-and-see philosophy,” comments Krumbine. “I see it growing to where we bring in larger and more diverse events. It comes down to how the community supports it. How much they care. Do they want to celebrate arts, culture and community? Each year, we’ll reevaluate. The door is wide open but it takes money and support. In the end, it’s the people who will dictate the future of Charlotte Shout Festival.”