For three nights during Westobou Festival, the Augusta Common will light up with all sorts of activities for the whole family. Westobou Central will take over the area at 8th and Reynolds streets at no charge for three nights, from Thursday, Oct. 5, through Saturday, Oct. 7.
The skyline of downtown Augusta will change with people taking rides on the free Ferris wheel that will be set up there.
On Thursday, live music will be provided by local bands Funk You, Bethany and the Southside Boys, and The Mason Jars.
“We knew we wanted Funk You right off the bat, because they had performed at previous festivals, and of course they’re a local band on the rise, and the first time they performed at Westobou was when we had Janelle Monae here in 2012,” said Kristi Jilson, executive director for the nonprofit Westobou. “So we just felt like they’ve garnered some pretty great success since then, and then we just thought it would be great to highlight them again since it’s our 10-year anniversary. And then we worked with Bethany from Bethany and the Southside Boys; she’s one of many people that we touched base with about who’s doing great things in music locally, so of course we go to her because she has some great success, and she was also great friends with Sharon Jones, who was also featured at the festival in the past.”
Jilson said Westobou Central is meant to be an open-air playground for the community.
“It’s family-friendly; we try and have an array of activities, everything from outdoor movies and concerts to a pop-up skate plaza that Sweet Sticks does for us,” Jilson said. “Some live art, children’s activities that are sponsored by other organizations. We try to feature sort of a hand-picked selection of things that are available in the community and diversify each day by having a new organization offer some activity. Each year, we do the skate park and invite a different artist to participate.”
This would have been the third year for Westobou Central, but when festival organizers tried to implement it in 2015, heavy downpours canceled it, but that led to Springboard by Westobou to be created in May the following year. The vendors that would have been part of Westobou Central allowed the nonprofit to use them that May, and Springboard is planned to be back on the Common in the spring of 2018.
Other activities at Westobou Central include live music by DJ Durrty Martinez on Friday and by DJ KUT DAILY on Saturday night; movie screenings of “Beetlejuice” and “Coraline” on Friday and Saturday; the Sweet Sticks Pop-up Skate Plaza (painted by local artist Jacob Vaz) all three nights; live art from Augusta University all three nights, as well as activities for kids.
For the movie screenings on the lawn, Jilson said people are welcome to bring their own seating and snacks, and even a picnic if they want to. There also will be some food trucks at the Common.
“I always encourage people to make an experience out of it, and bring a table or bring their folding, camping chairs or beach chairs. Bring popcorn, bring snacks, get stuff from the food trucks. We’ll also have popcorn and cotton candy on LED sticks that are fun — we call it “glowing cotton candy,” but some people get scared that we add a chemical to it or something. But we don’t; it’s just an LED stick,” Jilson said with a laugh.
5-10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 – Saturday, Oct. 7