Three Festivals Durham


Durham, the Clarion Content tweeted the other day that in the next six weeks we have three major festivals coming to town!

First up is the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.


Currently, the most internationally renown of Durham’s annual festivals, it generated over $2 million for the city’s economy last year. On opening night, Thursday April 3rd, they will host the world premier of, “112 Weddings” an HBO Documentary Film, examining of the struggles and joys that come with lifelong partnership.

Perhaps the best part of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the conversations about town as world class filmmakers and audiences descend on Durham. So post up at the bar at Whiskey, Dos Perros, or Mateo and be prepared to have your mind expanded. (Read our coverage of last year’s festival here.)


Next up will be the first annual Art of Cool Festival. We have been following this journey since the first focus group meetings were being held in American Tobacco’s American Underground incubator. It is no stretch to say that it has been a labor of love.

Now we are only five weeks away from six indoor music venues and over twenty world-class performers, headlined by the likes of Grammy winners Maceo Parker and Bilal. The Art of Cool’s co-founder, Cicely Mitchell, has done an amazing jobs collecting local and national talent, so that Durham gets to host super fly national acts and people from across the country get to see how we have, “Found our cool,” from established Durham superstars like, Nnenna Freelon, to stars shooting into the firmament like, The Beast.

The third festival is the Bull City Sculpture Show which begins Wednesday and Thursday April 30th and May 1st with installation of twelve colossal (eight ton and larger) statues across downtown Durham locations. Yes, for those of you wondering, they will need a crane to install. (Not quite as massive as those cranes jutting up all over the landscape daily.) Friday there will be an opening gala in Durham Central Park with live music. Tours all weekend will bring Durhamanians and visitors alike around to the installations.

This is not part of the exhibit but a prequel from Liberty Arts' Mike Waller currently installed in Durham Central Parl

This is not a part of the exhibit, but a prequel, from Liberty Arts’ Mike Waller currently installed in Durham Central Parl

In a bit of two degrees of separation irony, Phil Freelon, was the juror who selected the winning sculptures. The City of Durham has committed to purchase one statue to add the city’s collection of public art in perpetuity. A second statue voted the winner of the People’s Choice Award by our citizenry between installation and August will be loaned to Durham for a year.

Yes, this is all happening between now and Mother’s Day/Graduation Week. So take heart on this dreary day, fun times are ahead…and after all these festivals blow through town, it will be the languid, joyous Summer, Bull’s baseball, food truck rodeos, and more.

Clarion Content

Clarion Content is a Durham-based online magazine that curates and creates the thriving culture that gives our city its identity. Our community building is only as strong as our collective contributions. Our team of curators welcomes your comments, suggestions, and concerns. We are open to all points of view, especially those that challenge and therefore stimulate our own. We also encourage reader submitted material as well as guest columnists. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, or important? Have a great cause? Send us a note or stop by our offices at the Mothership, 401 West Geer Street inside the MotorCo complex.

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