With the warm weather making a comeback and beautiful flowers in bloom, BlackRock Center for the Arts invites Germantown residents and the UpCounty community to start a new tradition on Sunday, May 5, and welcome Spring at BlackRock SpringFest. This free celebration from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on BlackRock’s front lawn and Outdoor Stage is planned to be an annual event, and will be filled with traditional music, dance and more featuring local musicians and entertainers, craft vendors, food trucks, and 100 performers from Washington Revels. BlackRock SpringFest is presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation.
The highlight of SpringFest will be May Revels, Washington Revels’ long-running family-friendly performance that revives old spring traditions from the United Kingdom. Festival-goers can look forward to a boisterous, colorful parade and the crowning of two “Monarchs of the May” to preside over the spring frivolity, including traditional music, dances, and a silly “Mummers’ Play” filled with slapstick humor and bad puns galore. As with all Washington
Revels activities, May Revels will include several opportunities for audience participation. Attendees will be invited to sing along on the timeless spring song “Wild Mountain Thyme” and to try their hand at reciting all the rapid-fire lyrics to the musical memory challenge “Rattlin’ Bog.” After the performance, children from the audience can join the Revels cast in a Maypole dance.
“We’ll kick off May Revels with a fun, colorful procession as our 100-person cast dances and sings through the BlackRock lawn,” said the Washington Revels website, “with a bright array of banners, puppets and props, to the exuberant sounds of our “Noisy Band.” Once we’ve reached the outdoor stage, our merry Revelers will sing, dance, and greet this year’s “Monarchs of the May” — and at their command, the festivities will really begin”
“We are thrilled to be starting a new tradition and offering a wonderful free festival to residents and visitors alike, said Alyona Ushe, BlackRock’s Executive Director. “Washington Revels teaming with our other creative partners is a perfect way to wave goodbye to a long, cold winter and throw our doors our open with the first SpringFest.”
"For several years we've been looking for a way to share the joy of May Revels with our neighbors up-county and beyond," said Washington Revels Executive Director Greg Lewis. "We're delighted to have found a terrific partner in BlackRock Center for the Arts and we hope this festival will be the start of more collaborations together."
Washington Revels’ appearance at BlackRock SpringFest is the culminating event of the Germantown performing arts center’s inaugural Spring festival, which will also feature performances by BlackRock Creative Consortium partners Kuchipudi Dance Academy, celebrating in dance the colorful ancient disciplines of a traditional Indian art form and Story Tapestries, weaving the power of dance, storytelling, theatre, and music together. Other local performers include Culkin School of Dance, whose spirited step-dance performances preserve Irish traditional music and culture, and The Maryland MacMillan United Pipe Bands bringing the bagpiping at its finest.
“MacMillan is excited to return to BlackRock to celebrate the very first SpringFest in Germantown,” said MacMillan Pipe Major Andrew Donlon. “BlackRock has been a stalwart in supporting our organization and is the bedrock of Northern Montgomery County’s arts and entertainment culture. Each year, BlackRock brings world class musicians to perform in Germantown, putting our community on the map for artists from all backgrounds and cultures and highlighting the diversity in our own back yard. We couldn’t be happier to share in the SpringFest celebrations and are looking forward to working with the team at BlackRock for years to come.”
Top: Washington Revels Maypole dancing. Photo by Fritz Meyer. Courtesy Washington Revels.
Next: Dancers from the Culkin School of Dance performing at BlackRock’s outdoor stage during the last summer’s Concertn Series. The Culkin School dancers will be back for SpringFest on May 5.
Next: Members of the MacMillian United Pipe Band performing at BlackRock during the last summer’s Concert Series. They will return to Germantown participate in SpringFest on May 5.
Photos by Germantown Pulse