The musician lineup and featured artwork for the 20th annual Double Decker Arts Festival were revealed Friday at a press conference in the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.
Ole Miss graduate Frank Estrada formed the featured artwork celebrating the anniversary. Estrada graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in printmaking and sociology and is a current employee of the Ole Miss Athletics Department. For inspiration, Estrada said he “took aspects of what Double Decker is all about as far as where it takes place and what’s involved” to create his project.
The musician lineup for the 2015 festival includes names such as Mississippi-native “Water Liars,” and “St. Paul and the Broken Bones,” who were featured on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in January, among others.
Double Decker coordinator, Lee Ann Stubbs, said there are many commemorative items and giveaways celebrating the anniversary.
“We’ve got some special limited posters,” Stubbs said. “We don’t do them every year, and we’re going to have a limited quantity of those.”
Stubbs said the registration for artists closed with 156 registrants this year. The final list for vendors has not been released.
The Double Decker Arts Festival is under the umbrella of Visit Oxford and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
The Spring Run – held at 7:30 a.m. the Saturday of the festival – is giving away free running shirts with the Double Decker logo to the first 200 registrants as well as t-shirts to all participants.
“We expect to have in the neighborhood of 1,200-1,400 racers,” said Pam Swain, vice president of the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and director of the Spring Run. “Our racers usually come into town from anywhere from 22-24 states. We’re the biggest footrace in Oxford all year long, and we’re proud to hold that title.”
Among the estimated three-dozen men and women at the conference were Mayor Pat Patterson and his executive assistant Virginia Boyd Tyson.
“We are here to support Visit Oxford and Double Decker. They’re a city entity,” Boyd Tyson said. “It’s a huge tourism revenue, probably the biggest of the year besides football.”
Caterpillar Inc. took over the position as presenting sponsor for the event this year, though they have sponsored the stage for past two years. Caterpillar facility manager, Matt Gaw, said they began supporting the festival because it supported the core values of the company.
Susan Massey, human resource manager for Caterpillar, has lived in Oxford for 15 years.
“Over the years, (the festival) has grown so much, and I tend to support it more now than I had in the past, so I think it’s very positive for the community,” Massey said.
Cannon Motor Company also returned as one of the 20th anniversary sponsors, said Michael Joe Cannon, founder of the company.
“It brings a lot of people to Oxford,” Cannon said. “We love Oxford. We just feel like we want to be a part of the community and participate in things that are going on and you have to give back. This is an opportunity to support something that touches a lot of folks at one time.”
Torie Marion, community enhancement coordinator for Visit Oxford, said the planning for the festival has run remarkably smooth this year.
“Our new Double Decker coordinator has come in and handled everything – it’s essentially been a breeze for everyone else in our office,” Marion said. “The work will start the week of the festival.”
Mary Allyn Hedges, director of Visit Oxford and speaker at the conference, said it is hugely different from the first collaboration in 1996.
“The bed of a pickup truck served as the stage that year, and it’s amazing to see how this has grown in the last twenty years,” Hedges said. “You’ve heard this before, but the festival is truly a celebration of food, art and music – all that really embodies what Oxford is all about.”