The Daily Gamecock

Nickelodeon Theatre unveils new plans for April's Indie Grits Festival

On Sunday night, Nickelodeon Theatre gave Columbia a taste of what to expect from April’s Indie Grits Festival.

With a slew of new partnerships, a new logo, an expanded schedule and a new mobile-friendly website, the Indie Grits Festival is primed to go to another level.

A whopping 10-day schedule, April 20–29, the Indie Grits Festival will double in length. According to Director of Special Programs of the Nickelodeon, Larry Hembree, every night will feature films — submissions are now being accepted as of Sunday — and music, with various other events throughout the day that will come as a result of the festival’s new partnerships.

As in past years, the festival will host its Main Street craft fair, Crafty Feast, that will be run by Flock and Rally, who have taken a larger role in the Indie Grits Festival this year. Some of the vendors, like Nana by Sally, were present at the launch, featuring Crafty Feast shirts as well as their own wares. Crafty Feast will be on the second-to-the-last day of the festival, April 28.

Slow Food Columbia was also present at the launch and will have a hand in the festival. The Columbia chapter of Slow Food USA decided to take part in the national $5 Challenge campaign at the launch, and did a potluck of meals that were less than $5 per person.

“Everyone says that fancy food is too expensive or takes a lot of time to make,” Events Manager Tracie Broom said, explaining the reason for the campaign, which was aimed at fighting those types of preconceived notions.

The spread included coq au cin, rice and peas and a freshly picked basil and walnut pesto pasta. Pumpkin cupcakes and various types of brownies added a sweet touch to the offerings, with all dishes containing one major, locally sourced ingredient.

The collaborations didn’t stop there, with Lyon Hill doing a puppet show to preview the Puppet Slam that will be a part of the festival. It was not a Columbia Marionette performance; this show involved kidnapping, needles and blood.

“I don’t quite know what it means,” Hill said. “My wife had this nightmare like six years ago, and she wrote it down for me. It was so coherent to be a dream, but I don’t know what it’s about.”

Hill will be bringing puppeteers from around the nation, including some from Atlanta and Orlando, courtesy of a grant from the Puppet Slam Network, to show pieces that focus on subjects and ideas the shows normally don’t explore like dark humor, death and nudity.

Roger Beebe also “performed” at the launch, operating anywhere from two to six projectors at the same time onto one screen. With pieces that ranged from the letter “A” to the growing pains of Vegas to what can only be described as an audio cacophony streaming through the alphabet via various words, the performance was a unique one.

In addition, the festival has expanded to contain a partnership with ConvergeSE for a technology conference, and will also coincide with the 701 CCA Columbia Open Studios event.