Free State Festival announces 2018 dates; programming to expand beyond 2017’s scaled-back event

Concert-goers funk out to the music during the Free State Festival Wednesday, June 24, 2016, outside the Lawrence Arts Center. Attendees of the free show were treated to a performance from legendary funk artist George Clinton and P-Funk as well as The Phantastics.

The Free State Festival will return next fall as a six-day celebration of film, music, art and ideas, the Lawrence Arts Center announced earlier this week.

The 2018 event, set for Sept. 25-30, follows an abbreviated version of the multidisciplinary festival staged this past summer called the Free State Film Festival. Faced with limited funds, organizers with the festival decided last year to return to the Free State Fest’s roots as a small film festival.

Now, through an Our Town grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts, organizers will “have the opportunity to” bring art installations back into the festival lineup, the Arts Center said in its news release. The grant will also allow organizers to offer film education programming to El Centro Hispano, a Lawrence nonprofit dedicated to serving local Latino families.

“With the move to the fall season, the Free State Festival hopes to further engage community partners,” the news release said.

Previous performers at the festival include singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy and comedian Maria Bamford. Free State Fest yearly programming has also included performances like comedian Hannibal Buress’ sold-out show last month at the Arts Center.

Film submissions open in January 2018 on Entry fees will be waived for all Kansas filmmakers.