By J.M. Giordano

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It’s the East Coast’s largest and loudest free arts fest. Since 1982, Artscape has taken up a sizable chunk of the Station North arts district with top acts like Ray Charles, Blues Traveler and features art from across the country. Taking in the fest can be daunting to both outsider and local a like. This guide will help you enjoy the festival and not get too lost in the three-day sea of creativity.

80’s Karaoke

The theme for this year’s fest is 1982. Opening day kicks off with 80s Karaoke starting at noon! Festival goers will be able to sing their favorite 80s tune with this flashback style Karaoke in a tent on the Charles St. Bridge.

3 p.m.: DJ Robert Fearless, a well-known local DJ who specializes in mod music and spinning vinyl, will play early-Brit Pop and 80s rap on the bridge.

7 p.m: is a toss-up between Fearless, an original ballet inspired by the 80s music of punk legend Nina Hagen, by the outlandish Nicolette LeFaye and Synergy Movement Theatre and DC Go Go, a Punk-Funk meets Class of 82 Underground prom music act.

9 p.m.: Head over to the The University of Baltimore Student Center, 5th Floor (Mt. Royal Avenue and Maryland Avenue) for a trippy performance by Andy Hayleck and Dan Conrad Hypnotic, who combine light performance with experimental music.

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5 p.m.: Nikka Costa will perform her blues/funk fusion on the Main Stage at 1400 Cathedral Street at Mount Royal Avenue. She has an incredible voice and is not to be missed.

5 p.m.: E Major, local hip-hop superstar, performs on the Festival Stage, Mt. Royal Avenue – near Mosher Street, and is not to be missed if you’re a fan of old and new school rap.

8 p.m.: Also on the Festival stage is an act that has to be seen to be believed. Telesma Psychedelic Grooves is a super trippy, florescent, hula-hoop, tribal stage show. Hope you like colors!

8 p.m.: On the main stage is college darlings, G Love & Special Sauce whose roots music is huge with the college crowd. They will MAKE you move around.

Sunday: Matisyahu
In my opinion, there’s only one must see act on Sunday. The Main Stage will close out the fest with Hisidic Reggae/Hip-Hop, phenom Matisyahu. He goes on at 6:30.

J.M. Giordano is a freelance photographer and co-founder of, a guide to the underground scene in Baltimore, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris.