Art and music abound at the 14th annual Saluda Arts Festival

Published 10:26 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amidst historic downtown Saluda, more than 76 visual artists will participate in the 14th annual spring Saluda Arts Festival on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Music from six bands will perform throughout the day from venues that stretch from one end of the three blocks of historic Main Street to the other. Download the 2017 Arts Festival Map.

“Artists have been coming to Saluda since the end of the 19th century when the first passenger trains came through Saluda. This annual festival celebrates Saluda’s art colony that continues to thrive in this historic town,” said Cathy Jackson, festival organizer. This is a perfect small festival where you can easily walk the entire festival area among historic buildings, along the railroad track, and Saluda’s unique shops and restaurants.”

This year’s artists and craftspeople will delight visitors and art lovers with fine art and crafts representing a diversity of media including paintings, pottery, woodworking, sculpting, fiber, jewelry, metal, and much more. There is plenty of free public parking, shuttle carts, and public restrooms. Festival goers will see demonstrations of several of the artists at work painting, blacksmithing, and jewelry making. Delicious food from local restaurants will be on site.

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In addition to the artists, the festival is pleased to announce its headliners performing on the Ella Grace Mintz Stage in Top of the Grade Park of McCreery Park, Saluda and other venues along Main Street.

Sculpture by Marie Christine Maitre de Tarragon

Mercury Rising Band
Beverly-Hanks Porch, 10 a.m. – noon
Soulful and warm, Americana and Blues style original songs that spark the heart with Saluda’s own lead singer and song/writer Debbie Camacho on keys and guitar, Irving Camacho on percussion and harmonies, and Orion Faruque from Red Music Productions on bass and harmonies.

Bill and Tads Excellent Duo
Saluda Historic Depot Porch, 10 a.m. – noon
Stringed duo with great harmonics, a 12-string guitar and hand drum performing awesome covers from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Simon and Garfunkel as well as some original tunes.

Hogtown Squealers
All Around Town, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Brevard’s Hogtown Squealers have delighted audiences and dancers for more than 20 years. Currently the band consists of Tom Anderson (fiddle, vocals), Susan Brown (fiddle), Matt Gardner (bass), John von Stein (accordion, vocals), Keith Ward (guitar), and Gary Wells (banjolyn, vocals).

Life Like Water
Don Mintz Builders Porch, noon – 2 p.m.
Life Like Water is an acoustic trio from Asheville, N.C. composed of singer/songwriter and guitarist David Matters, Megan Drollinger on violin/vocals and Isabel Castellvi on cello/vocals/tabla.

Little Bradley Falls, Saluda, by Mike Hayes

Performing on Ella Grace Mintz Stage in Top of the Grade at McCreery Park (moved to Pavilion if rain) are:

Fayssoux McLean and Brandon Turner,  12 – 1:30 p.m.
Fayssoux has emerged as a lead vocalist of merit and consequence, winning raves from collaborators including Country Music Hall of Famers Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, and other contemporary greats.

Casual Zealots, 2-4 p.m.
The Casual Zealots is a four person band from the Tryon area. These friends collaborate in various musical projects, and specialize in playing classic R&B, blues, jazz and rock and roll.
The name is not an accident. These four approach music and its many charms and mysteries with divine intensity.

Balloon Artist and Stilt Walker
For the enjoyment of the children and amazement of all, talented balloon artist, Stephanie Miles, will create art out of balloons from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in McCreery Park Playground, and stilt walker, Ananda (Heather Springsteen) will keep eyes skyward all along Main Street from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Dancer’s Extension Spring Concert at Saluda School
The Spring Concert is planned for 11 a.m. at Saluda Elementary School’s auditorium on the day of the festival. Approximately 50 students will perform with numbers in the genres of ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Admission is free. This is the seventh year these talented students have participated in the Saluda Arts Festival. Please park in back parking lot behind Saluda School. Parking in front of the school on Main Street or along the road sides on Main Street will be prohibited and cars may be towed from that area.

Enjoy a variety of delicious choices from local restaurants at festival site.

Free Parking
Parking is available along Main Street, at the Saluda School back parking lot, the Saluda Presbyterian Church on Carolina St., Saluda Methodist Church on Greenville St., the West Main Public Parking Lot, and the Saluda Fire Department on Greenville St. Shuttle transportation will be available.

The Saluda Arts Festival is sponsored by the Saluda Business Association with the CORE members spearheading and organizing the festival each year. CORE is an acronym for C-Creative, O-Organized, R-Responsible, and E-Energetic and Enthusiastic. It is also supported through sponsors who graciously invest in Saluda’s arts community.

Saluda’s historic Main Street, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to the steepest mainline railroad grade in the country, and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Festival is our tribute to the heritage of Saluda and the celebration of its long-standing art community.

For more information about the Saluda Arts Festival, visit and click on the Saluda Arts Festival link or contact or contact Mary Meyland at 817-946-1284.

Article submitted by Catherine Jackson