JOPLIN, Mo. —
A new season of Third Thursday events is around the corner, and organizers are seeking performers to fill stages with music, stories, comedy, juggling, poetry or whatever they can do.
Those performers will be asked to undergo a new audition process, however. The new procedure set up by the Downtown Joplin Alliance asks musicians to audition, so that artists can be matched to the best locations, said Director Tricia Patton.
"Some of the feedback that we got was that we needed to have a more clear distribution of performers throughout the event," Patton said. "Sometimes things got loud and overwhelming, and people didn't want to stay."
Approaching its sixth year, Third Thursday features a collection of artists, businesses and organizations with an artistic flair. The event draws thousands to downtown Joplin every third Thursday of months between March and October.
As the event has grown, additional performance stages have been added. Patton said events in 2013 will feature different types of entertainment at the following locations:
- Music will be performed near the 100 block of South Main. Sets will last between an hour and 90 minutes, and will feature a variety of acoustic musicians from many different genres.
- The library lawn will host performances including dancers, singers, comedians and puppeteers. These sets will be 15 to 30 minutes long, and will include community groups, dance troupes, etc.
- Spiva Park will host an open mic platform for poetry, storytelling and other types of performances.
- Varying street performers will be given spots between the 400 and 600 blocks of Main.
The events have traditionally drawn all kinds of people, including street performers who park on a curb and play away. Patton said she doesn't want those performers to stop coming, but some organization is needed.
Performers who want to showcase their art are asked to audition either online or at an open mic night on Feb. 27 at the Kitchen Pass. The audition will help organizers figure out the best place for each performer, Patton said.
"We're not trying to turn away people who just want to play," Patton said. "It's just a matter of us making sure we are aware of what's going on, and trying to make the most effective event possible."
A processing fee of $20 is part of the audition process, which is similar to the process that visual artists go through, Patton said. Scholarships are available for those who do not have the funds available.
Musicians and performers who make arrangements with a downtown Joplin business will not need to audition, Patton said, as long as that business is a member of the Downtown Joplin Alliance.
Other changes to Third Thursday include:
- New stops for the shuttle, operated by Downstream Casino. Parking will be available at the Gryphon Building; from there a shuttle will go to Phoenix Fired Art, Spiva Center for the Arts or the heart of downtown.
- A marketplace area will be changed into a business showcase, meaning the traditional spots for vendors won't be open. However, businesses can participate in showcases, and more food vendors will be available. Those food vendors will have to abide by stricter regulations in order to keep downtown restaurants thriving, Patton said.
Want to go?
2013's first Third Thursday will be held on March 21. Other events will be held on the third Thursday of each month until October. Details: 417-310-3472.