The Block brings festival culture to downtown Logan

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The Block film & art festival will hit the streets of downtown Logan tonight. This weekend-long festival is expected to be the biggest and best one yet.

The festival, centered in the Historic Theatre District, will include 60 films, more than 50 musical acts, art installations and galleries, panel discussions and even a robotics competition.

Utah State University students can purchase a film and panel discussion pass for $5 with a student ID. Passes can be purchased at Island Market, Waffle Iron, Morty’s Cafe and Caffe Ibis.

All music and art exhibits are free. Events begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m on Saturday.

Festival producers Mason Wendell and Mary Urban Clarke hope this year’s festival will be a cultural destination for everyone who comes.

“A big mission for us is to bring people to downtown Logan,” Clarke said. “To show people that it’s really fun to be downtown here, and also to remind the citizens of Logan and Cache Valley that there are things to do down here.”

The festival’s theme this year is “Film. Art. Music. Learn.” The festival is centered around the films that are being showcased. Films will be shown in the Caine Lyric Theatre, Utah Theatre and Dansante Theatre.

“This will always be, first and foremost, a film festival. Everything else is built around that,” Wendell said.  

Half of the films that will be shown are Utah-based, with many contributions from Utah State faculty, students and alumni.

Some titles the producers were excited for are “Dying in Vein,” a film about the opioid crisis,  “Superpowerless,” a story about a superhero who loses his powers when he turns 40, and “Amped,” an action-comedy about an unemployed man trying to get his last paycheck.

This year will be the first year the festival will have panels in an effort to help people learn about social issues. Panels will discuss issues like the opioid crisis, the importance of community events and protests and freedom of speech through art. All panels will be held at Starrsteppers Dance Studio.

This will also be the first year the festival will be hosting Robotics@Theblock, a robotics competition encouraging “engineering art.” The event will be held at 30 S 100 W.

This year will also have the largest music presence the festival has ever seen, featuring several local and regional bands such as Panthermilk, Phat Jester, Young North, The Solarists and Mojave Nomads.

Clarke said the art aspect of festival is unlike the average art festivals people see. A requirement for artists is to “ensure that their presence is artistic and interactive.”

There will be a five art exhibits held throughout the festival, including a “Gallery Alley,” a downtown alley featuring art from local high school students.

Even with the growth of the festival over the past five years, Wendell said, only a small part of the producers’ vision is being accomplished. They hope to grow the festival to be larger and truly unlike anything anyone has ever experienced.

“This is a labor of love for all of us,” Clarke said. “Our event highlights Cache Valley’s ability to embrace and empower artists to celebrate the arts at unprecedented levels.”

For more information on the event, visit theblockfestival.org.

— @Dirtyghettopass
Dillanpassmore@aggiemail.usu.edu


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