Fifth Annual Indie Arts & Music Festival Takes Little Rock by Storm

Although counterintuitive, the craft movement and the Internet go hand in hand, and if you don’t believe me, you haven’t visited Etsy lately. Etsy offers a market space for those selling vintage or handmade items, but local Little Rockians have worked to extend this virtual market to a physical reality in this year’s Fifth Annual Indie Arts & Music Festival.

Family friendly, the event is an all-day shindig on April 25 in Hillcrest. On Kavanaugh from Spruce to Rose Streets from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rock City can join in all things local – from eating and drinking to listening and shopping.

Skip back to 2011, when Etsy Little Rock (ELR), a small group of Little Rock Etsy Shop owners, first began working together. Their simple goal, to lay the foundation for a thriving, local Etsy community, began. During this time Amber Estrada, Brandi Jennings, and Lindsey Powers met. Today the three are the group’s leaders, and ELR has even become a Kiva Zip trustee, making it easier for ELR to find and endorse local Etsy small business owners looking to take it to the next level.

Estrada laughs, “When we met we all talked about how cool it would be to have a crafts fair.” Fast forward to the present, as this year’s festival has nearly doubled in size from last year, and offers new features to those who might have attended in year’s past.

The first Etsy Fest took place at the Whitewater Tavern, but moved to Hillcrest the very next year, already answering a communal demand for growth. Powers said, “What’s been great is the community support. The community loves local artists, local music, and local food.”

A few of the attractions include live painting by Gabriel Solis, cirque-style entertainment by ReCreation Studios, pets for adoption, a photo booth, balloons and Glitterville Tattoos for kids. This list only skims the top of the glass.

Speaking of drinks, Jennings mentioned in addition to the food trucks present, there will be special options for adults. “We are really excited about having Rock Town Distillery, Moody Brews, and Diamond Bear out at the event. We also might have a signature shake from Loblolly.”

Don’t forget to catch performances by local musicians – this year there are twice as many shows on the bill. Powers said, “We are proud to have a second stage. One will be located at River Rock Realty, and one at Spruce and Kavanaugh.”

The leaders feel the outpouring of interest and support has been particularly phenomenal this year, which can only mean a bigger, better fest. Estrada said, “We are super excited. … We had to close our registration for vendors earlier than we anticipated, once we hit the 100 mark.”

This festival is made possible by the community, and those that work hard to celebrate the craft movement. “We’re a group of volunteers, we love our local handmade community, and its just so great that everyone comes out to support what they make,” said Estrada. To get your fill of all things local, don’t miss next Saturday’s event.

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