Summer is festival season in Somerville and this week brings one of my favorites to the city: ArtBeat. An annual two-day family-friendly fest that essentially takes over Davis Square, it’s a rollicking good time with music, craft and food vendors, dance performances, public art and much more. ArtBeat is put on by the Somerville Arts Council with a different theme each year and this time, participants will be exploring the idea of Loops.
ArtBeat starts on Friday, July 17 with music from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. in Seven Hills Park behind the Holland Street T stop in Davis Square. On Saturday, July 18, Davis Square gets shut down to cars and opened up to pedestrians from noon-6 p.m. for music, craft and food vendors, performances, public art and other activities. Get the full schedule.
The festival is free, but I encourage you to buy one of the decorative dog tags that the Arts Council sells for $3 to support this important organization so we can keep having fun festivals like ArtBeat in Somerville.
In the event that rain postpones ArtBeat, Friday’s programming will take place on Saturday evening and Saturday’s festivities will move to Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned to the Arts Council’s website and social media for weather-related updates.
How to do ArtBeat Like a Pro
Dive in on Friday night. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of Saturday’s ArtBeat festivities, but I really love the Friday night music at Seven Hills Park. Grab dinner from one of the food vendors or another spot in Davis (use our restaurant reviews for guidance) and dine al fresco while listening to live music. Summer doesn’t get much better than that.
Make a plan for getting to and from ArtBeat. As I mentioned, cars are not welcome in Davis during ArtBeat, so I recommend walking, biking or taking the T if possible. You’ll thank me when you’re not wasting the afternoon sitting in traffic or looking for parking on overcrowded side roads.
Come prepared. Wear sunscreen, drink a lot of water and wear comfortable shoes. Check the forecast and bring whatever you think you’ll need for a fun day. It’s usually one of the hottest weekends of the year during ArtBeat, so take steps to ensure you have fun without burning out.
Meet up with (and make new) friends. ArtBeat is a true community day, making it perfect for meeting up with friends or making new ones. Don’t forget to chat with other people listening to the music/looking at the art with you–they’re probably really nice and also love Somerville!
Keep an open mind. In my experience, Somerville is a really welcoming and accepting place, so channel that energy as you take in the unique art, crafts and music during the festival. One of the best things about art is the way it can challenge us in a variety of ways.
Come hungry (but don’t get hangry). ArtBeat has loads of food vendors, plus Davis is full of fantastic restaurants. Patronize them during the weekend to refuel and support local, independent businesses, and to stave off the dangerous combination of hunger + anger commonly known as hanger.
Be prepared to shop. ArtBeat features lots of amazing arts and crafts vendors selling their wares. I’ve purchased several unique items at ArtBeat over the years, from jewelry to a beautiful hand-crafted butter dish. So be prepared to shop by bringing money and bags to tote your goods home in.
A Look at Past ArtBeat Events
Photos from ArtBeat 2014.
Run away with OPENAIR Circus at ArtBeat.