The crowds at Art All Night initially look like your average summer festival-goers. Families took the tour of the beautiful industrial space of the Roebling Wire Works in Trenton aligned with local art, enjoying Kettle corn and Caribbean food. 20-something year olds hung around the outdoor stage, holding their $4 donation Blue Moons, head-bobbing and chit-chatting with friends who strolled by. Some 40-somethings chose wine instead of beer and watched the jazz and singer-songwriter performances on the indoor stages. It was the blur of typical summer festival-goers, some of whom had a keen interest in art while others wanted to enjoy the sunshine at a cultural event.
Don’t be fooled, though. When you are stationed alongside the outdoor stage for nine hours, as WPRB staffers were, you have the liberty to people watch without shame, and this crowd was anything but typical. Highlights included:
Ridiculous person number one: giraffe girl. Stood in front of the stage with her phone, recording the entire set by the band. Looked like a giraffe, and WPRB staffers were unable to tell who she was shooting the show for. Perhaps the lead singer? The guitarist? That guy with the tambourine? We (or just me) finally determined that she was the band groupie and in love with each and every member.
Ridiculous person number two: drunk cowboy. Denim, hat, boots, and extremely drunk, this guy danced like a piece of spaghetti and threw his beer. Not in an aggressive way but in that I-am-so-far-gone-that-flat-surfaces-are-hard-to-navigate way. We eventually had to call over some AAN staff members to take him away as his beverage tosses were uncomfortably close to our DJ equipment.
Ridiculous person number three: crackhead in pink. Fortunately, she signed up on our mailing list so we can always find her if need be. She wore a pink tank top and pink booty-shorts without shame, hooted and hollered, almost mimicked the cowboy’s spaghetti dance, and looked like her mind had departed this earth many moons ago.
Ridiculous person/people number four: 2-person moshpit that then dissolved into a 10-person moshpit and a dinosaur. I think this occurred when Honah Lee was on stage at around 11:30pm. At first, I was like, who are those fools doing that 2 person moshpit? Then I became the fool not in the moshpit. But then a dude dressed in a green dinosaur outfit appeared and moshed, and I felt okay about my life choices outside the moshers.
So, as you can see, Art All Night Trenton was not just the haven for art-enthusiasts and summer festival-goers but also a haven for the crazies, which I think was almost more of a cultural experience than the art inside the Wire Works.
Like the crowd at AAN, the art itself was quite varied. One piece by a WPRB alumna featured a crucified dead mouse. Another piece involved Legos on cardboard and said that adults are still kids or something like that. There were some nice scenic photographs of the Jersey countryside, an awesomely decorated deer head, and a William Wegman-esque (think animals dressed up as people) painting.
These works were all located in the center of the industrial space while the edges were divided into rooms. One featured AAN’s first film festival and included one film with sound done by a WPRB DJ. Another room was filled with glow-in-the-dark paintings and black lights, and the other room had tires and turf on the ground with black-and-white images projected on the walls.
Outside, there was food food food. WPRB staffers particularly enjoyed the falafel and Root Beer float stand. As night descended, the fire blazed up and blacksmiths did iron pours. It looked a little hot.
When talking to organizers throughout the evening, they all seemed to be quite pleased with the event this year. Last year, a couple catastrophes stuck, but this time, everything was going well. For the trajectory of AAN, it looks like it’s only going to get better and better.
WPRB had success as well. We DJed between all the sets outside, with TM5 taking over around 8:30, and had many AANers wandered up to our booth, buying some awesome WPRB swag (because do we make anything else besides awesome swag? Okay fine, mega-awesome swag, whatever…) and discussing their fondest WPRB memories. My favorite was a bro whose car radio was broken and WPRB is the only station he can technologically listen to while driving. Further, he said that whenever he listens, he has no idea what artist or song is playing and appreciates a station that can do this. Go us!
Art All Night + WPRB = success once again. Thanks to all who came out and said hi!