BALTIMORE (WJZ) – It is the largest free arts festival in the country, and it has taken over the Mount Royal area of the city. Artscape 2015 brings music, performances, food, drink and the work of over 100 local artists. The city’s expecting big crowds and big revenue.
Rick Ritter was in the thick of it.
Those crowds grew by the hour—thousands coming out to see George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic.
More than 300,000 people are expected to make it out this weekend—a chance for the entire city to come together.
From the visuals to center stage to the grill, it’s all packed into one weekend. American’s largest free arts festival expects to draw in 300,000 visitors to the city.
For this artist, it’s a chance to showcase his talents.
“I think it’s everybody’s job to participate,” he said.
Others are there to enjoy the main act, as George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic pack it in.
“My brother, he wanted to come here specifically for George Clinton,” said Brooke White.
This year’s theme focuses on water as a natural resource—an effort to educate the youth.
“It’s a great way to educate people about the importance of water as a resource,” said Megan Bosse, Baltimore Office of Promotion.
By the end of the weekend, Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and Arts estimates an economic impact of close to $26 million.
Angelo Micklos and his Greek on the Street truck wait all year for the event.
“I was doing back-flips when they told me to come back. It’s the greatest weekend of the summer for us,” said Angelo Micklos, Greek on the Street owner.
After a shaky few months throughout Baltimore, many view the weekend as an opportunity for peace.
“It’s healing. This is what this is—healing,” said Romey Stokes.
One they hope can get Charm City back on track.
“Everybody says Baltimore is an awful place, but it really isn’t. The times we do come together, it’s really beautiful,” said White.
For the first time ever at this event, 95 percent of food and drink vendors are from Baltimore.
Artscape runs all weekend long – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.