Weekend Picks: Festivals, fiestas, Final Friday and freakouts

Buckle up, folks. This weekend is almost certainly the busiest cultural weekend of the summer, if not the entire year.

If you are out and about very much at all, you're likely to find yourself (intentionally or otherwise) in the midst of two festivals, a fiesta, Final Friday events, and some bike races.

Free State Festival, continuing through Sunday, Lawrence Arts Center and other downtown locations

We previewed the Free State Festival in last week's column, and the wide-ranging event continues through Sunday. Major events left at this point include Thursday's screening of a documentary about The Damned followed by a concert from Mike Watt; a Friday screening of a new documentary about comedian Barry Crimmins along with a Q&A with Crimmins and director Bobcat Goldthwait; Saturday's evening with renowned crime novelist Dennis Lehane; and a free street concert from Austin's Black Joe Lewis in front of the Arts Center on Saturday evening.

Don't overlook fascinating smaller events as well. Saturday afternoon offers Lightning Round presentations from a myriad of Lawrence luminaries. Also occurring Saturday afternoon is the Free State Frolic scavenger hunt, based on the Washington Post's very popular D.C. scavenger hunt. This event will lead participants searching for clues throughout LFK's "Cultural District." Hunts with different difficulty levels have been devised so that both adults and younger scavengers can participate.

Consult the Festival website for the full-slate of remaining events.

Lawrence Field Day Fest, June 25-27 at Bottleneck, Replay, Jackpot, Taproom

If the massive multiday Free State Festival is not enough for you, look no further than Lawrence Field Day Fest occurring simultaneously at different venues through Sunday at the four participating bars listed above (the Tap is new to LFDF this year).

This is the fourth year for LFDF, the brainchild of beloved Lawrence rocker Cameron Hawk, who is out of the country this year. Even so, the Fest still appears to be in good hands and offers a solid lineup of diverse (but mostly rock) bands from Lawrence and around the region. Even our Chicago pals from The Noise FM are dropping in to say hello at 11 p.m. Saturday at Bottleneck (see their traditional "very special message" at the very bottom of this column). And you can bet those bluegrass gals from Sugar Britches are getting in on the rock and roll action too. Catch them at 11 p.m. Thursday at Replay.

See Fally Afani's Lawrence.com interview with Jon Fitzgerald of up-and-coming indie-rockers Paper Buffalo, who are one of the Fest's headliners on Thursday, here.

Visit the Facebook event page here for a full schedule of all the bands, and get advance passes at the official website here for only $20.

Lawrence Community Photo Studio grand opening, 5-9 p.m. Friday, located along Delaware in East Lawrence Arts District (just north of 9 Del lofts)

Looking for a new spot to peruse along your Final Friday art walk? Stop by the brand-new Lawrence Community Photo Studio and check out the excellent photos of LFK's prolific John Clayton while listening to tunes from the (also prolific) Tyler Gregory. Alcohol will be available while you look and listen.

The studio (which we toured last week thanks to Clayton and Jay Keim!) is a nonprofit organization that offers a computer lab, studio space for Lawrence photographers and filmmakers, and a working darkroom with equipment donated by long-time Lawrence photographer Leo Lutz.

Visit the official website here for rates on using the space and give the studio a "like" on Facebook here.

Find more details on Friday's festivities via the Facebook event page here.

Tour of Lawrence bike races and street sprints, June 26-28 (see links for times and location)

In case the Free State Festival street parties aren't closing off enough blocks to suit you, prepare yourselves for the annual Tour of Lawrence bike races!

This popular event fills downtown on Friday night for the street sprints (followed by a free Split Lip Rayfield street show in partnership with the Free State Festival) and takes over again on Sunday for the downtown criterium race. Will it impede getting around downtown? Yes. Is it awesome to watch racers take the downtown corners at lightning speed? Also yes.

The official website is here and the Facebook page is here.

35th Annual St. John's Mexican Fiesta, 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at St. John's (1234 Kentucky St.)

Prefer fiestas to festivals? Lawrence has you covered there too as the 35th installment of one of LFK's most popular summer events takes to the asphalt on Friday and Saturday night with music, dancing, beer, and — most importantly — amazing homemade Mexican fare. Move fast to score those tamales, and check out more about this year's event in this LJ-World story.

The Facebook event page is here.

Comedy Freakout: Detox Edition, 10 p.m. Friday, Frank's North Star

We know there must be plenty of readers who are sick to death of all our recent "mainstream" coverage and just want to sit around swilling beer in a dank former cockfighting pit on the north side of the river. Well, you're in luck. Comedy Freakout returns Friday with a collection of Chicago comics and local yokels. You can pretend all the "squares" at the street concerts and fiestas don't even exist.

The Facebook event page is here.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife and follow our Free State Fest tweets throughout the weekend.

[A quick note from The Noise FM: "It's a double-reunion week for The Noise FM: We're back in Fort Scott, Kansas all week for our all-class high school reunion where we expect we'll be explaining why we don't have real jobs and that, yes, we're still doing the same band thing we've been doing since sophomore year. Then we'll get one day in Lawrence where we'll get to see lots of old friends and play a rad festival. You can probably guess which reunion we're most looking forward to."].


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