Insider's guide to iFest's second weekend
The first weekend of the Houston International Festival 2010 is in the history books, and plenty of you journeyed downtown (and braved some Sunday showers) to see high-energy sets by Ozomatli, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, Mighty Diamonds, Eddie Palmieri, and the dozens of other performances and attractions.
Weekend Two is here, and the rest of iFest promises to be just as magical. Here are five things you won’t want to miss:
1).George Clinton – The ultimate funk master returns to Houston
Do you want the funk? If so, show up at the Bud Light World Stage Saturday night when the architect of funk, George Clinton, returns to iFest by popular demand. Expect a groove-filled evening of hits like “Flashlight”, “Do Fries Go With That Shake” and “Atomic Dog”. If there were a roof on Sam Houston Park, rest assured that Clinton would tear it off.
Sadly, King Sunny Ade, who was slotted immediately before Clinton, has canceled his entire North American tour following the deaths of two members of his band in a car accident late last week. As a show of support and sympathy, Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will play a special extended set beginning at 7:30 p.m. (instead of 8 p.m. as originally planned).
The revised World Stage line-up begins at 1:30 p.m. with a set by pan-African dance band Emman LeGrand and the African Rythmix.
2. Guilty as Charged: Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women
On any given day, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Dave Alvin combines a blazing rock-and-roll show with moving acoustic storytelling. “There are two kinds of folk music,” Alvin likes to say. “Loud folk music and quiet folk music. I play both.” A founding member of the seminal roots rock band The Blasters, Alvin has also played with both revered punk band X and the rockabilly group the Knitters. Alvin’s current touring ensemble features an all-star, all-female cast, the Guilty Women.
They’ll appear at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Louisiana Stage, but Clinton’s newly-expanded set means you have plenty of time to check out both stages.
3.)Shop 'til you drop
Featuring the works of dozens of artists from around the world, the markets of the Houston International Festival are a shopaholic’s dream. A few highlights:
- Stroll down Fine Arts Avenue and check out the bold, colorful works of Cuban painter Alberto Godoy, juried arts winner for the first iFest weekend.
- Over in the Gypsy Market, the best seats in the house might be at Marcus Kenter's booth of Cypress wood chairs, swings, and rockers.
- Laura Delzer's "Fairy Godmother" Bayou Market booth, with handmade children's accessories, bows, tutus and more, can help you get in touch with your inner princess.
- The African Caribbean Market on Bagby features a host of reggae vendors, direct from the Bob Marley festivals.
4.) Destinations for libations
Sure, there are plenty of places around iFest to grab a beverage. But for some added punch, escape to the Bacardi Rum Hut, where you can kick back and enjoy mojitos and more.
Next door, sample an international wine selection and appetizers from Guayaba Latin Grill in the iFest Wine Café, located in a shaded location with seating near the Sister Cities Wine Café Stage.
On the steps of City Hall, the House of Blues has set up an outpost featuring cooling drinks, Caribbean fare and great tunes. And who knows when you might encounter a Blues Brothers sighting?
5.) Steel Pulse finale
One of Britain’s greatest reggae bands will bring iFest to a close. The members of Steel Pulse, who got their start opening for the Clash and the Stranglers more than 30 years ago, draw inspiration from the spiritual and political roots-reggae of Bob Marley and Burning Spear. See this Grammy Award-winning band, featuring founding members David Hinds and Selwyn Brown, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the Bud Light World Stage.
Darrow works with the Houston International Festival staff and freely admits she is not exactly impartial. Currently in her 12th year (give or take) of working with the iFest team in some capacity or other, Darrow figures she’s been attending the Houston International Festival for at least 20 of the 40 years the festival has been around, which makes her feel pretty old.