IX & Freefall at 5 years: "We had a dream to create a space for creative community"

Returning for its fifth consecutive year, the FreeFall Music & Art Festival, co-hosted by WTJU 91.1 FM,  brings free outdoor concerts and family-friendly fun to the IX Art Park every Saturday from August 31 to October 5. Each week will feature live music, kid-friendly activities, local brews, food trucks, art, and celebrations of Charlottesville’s diverse cultural landscape.

This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the IX Art Park itself. The mural-festooned destination Charlottesville creatives know today was once the Frank Ix & Sons textile factory, which closed in 1999, in a part of town many area residents avoided.

“We had a dream five years ago, born out of the haze of Burning Man, to create a space for creative community,” says co-founder and Wizard of IX Brian Wimer. “Now we wake up every day to something unexpected and wonderful happening… It’s proof that everything is possible.”

Wimer, an award-winning filmmaker, established the IX Art Park with developer Ludwig Kuttner and attorney Susan Krischel. It quickly became populated with the works of local artists - including Beatrix Ost, Javier “Chicho” Lorenzo and Katarzyna Borek, and expanded from murals to also include outdoor sculptures, many of which are immersive and interactive. Soon, the art was followed by events featuring local musicians and other performers.

Originally the Levitt AMP Concert Series, funded by a national grant, the FreeFall Music & Art Festival with WTJU was one of the first major events hosted at the IX Art Park. Born out of a belief in the power of free live music to bring people together, the annual series has evolved over the years to a festival of festivals, each promoting community and inclusivity.

Along with some new programming, the 2019 series will see the return of many beloved FreeFall staples such as the Black Business Expo, showcasing local minority business owners, and the Cville Sabroso Festival, celebrating Latin American music and culture.

“I look at all the acts we’ve hosted at FreeFall and see the evidence of our mission in bringing great, accessible multicultural experiences of all genres to Charlottesville’s many communities,” Wimer says. “[FreeFall] shows how institutions can collaborate in Charlottesville and create unique opportunities for multiculturalism.”

For more information, contact the IX Art Park at 434.207.2355.

TEEJ Podcast