The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is Open

The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is April 3 - 5 and is free!
The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is April 3 – 5 and is free!

By Jacy Cox

The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is back again this year on Easter weekend. It’s a glorious time to leave the kids at home, come downtown, and soak in that deep fried goodness. It can seem like a blur, what with the hundreds of musicians, artists, and food vendors who come out to celebrate the Dallas arts. Did we mention the alcohol? Because there is a ton of it.

Normally, we’d tell you the best spots to stuff your face with delicious treats (like the crepes) or all of the craft beer companies that will be handing ale out like it’s the second coming of Christ. This time, we thought we’d take the high road and tell you about some seriously badass artists, both musical and visual, who will grace the streets of Deep Ellum this year.

You may not have heard of him, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work. This Dallasnative is the artistic master to thank for those awesome murals that frequent Deep Ellum, the ones that helped put Dallas on the map art-wise. Instead of some artists who come here for the money that’s in commissioned work, Campagna really does love this city. Some call him the “Grandfather of Deep Ellum” street art.  Stopping by his booth is a must and following it with a scenic trip through Deep Ellum to check out his many murals is key. His past works include murals at the Gypsy Tea Room, Black Forest Theater, the McKinney Avenue Company, and the Bronco Bowl Theater.

Greg Davis is nothing short of a phenomenal photographer. You know those people who up-and-quit their jobs to travel the world? That’s Greg Davis, except he didn’t come back to lecture you on enlightenment like your buddy Travis who went to Burning Man for three days. Davis is crushing it. His photography landed him a position as National Geographic’s Creative Photographer. He debuted his work in Cloth Paper Dreams, the short documentary shot at India’s Kumbh Mela that premiered at SXSW last year. The former technology graduate left his 9 to 5 life to travel the world, steal our bucket list, and now continues to receive accolades for his works that have been published around the world.

This Denton-based, seven-man band founded in 2011 has a legitimately undeniable stage presence. If you’re looking for a high-energy show, definitely stop by. This group, consisting of a drum set, bass guitar, guitar, two keyboards, trumpet, saxophone, flute, and vocals, makes some seriously good music that’s an amalgamation of hip-hip, jazz, rock, and soul. Reminiscent of The Roots and A Tribe Called  Quest with just a hint of Thievery Corporation, The BoomBachs create a truly unique blend of music. If you dig the band, visit its web site to help raise funds for the next album titled AlienNation.

Parallel Play is a unique kind of folksy rock that makes you want to chug a beer and get rowdy. This group played last year’s festival and was one of best shows of the weekend. Did we mention its members also graced the Good Morning Texas stage? Light-hearted, energetic, and a bit rock and roll, their bluegrass tunes bring a breath of fresh air to the genre. Their contagious energy and lyrical songwriting  make for a stellar show. Their latest album was produced by Salim Nourallah (The Old 97s) and  engineered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys) and they’re just good people.

Doskova has serious talent. She has won countless awards for her work, operated her own private art school in Bulgaria, and worked in U2 and Ridley Scott’s post-production house “The Mill,” along with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. She’s created special effects for Hollywood motion pictures and television series around the globe. We were immediately entranced with her figurative artwork. The pieces might seem whimsical and silly at first, but they’re never two-dimensional(puns!). Known for her socio-political satire, each of Doskova’s pieces has a deeper meaning and story underneath the whimsy.

You just have to love these guys. It’s hard to put your finger on the exact “type” of music they play. But when you see them live, you just can’t help but fall in love with their infectious sound. When asked what their greatest influences are, they’ll tell you it was 90s alternative rock and drugs. They hit the ground running in 2012 releasing two EPs a little more than six months apart. They’re buddies with the Parallel Play crew and are a must-see on the line-up.

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