It’s difficult not to get excited when hearing “through the grapevine” about the 2018 Double Decker Festival in Oxford slated for April 27-28. HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo talked recently with the festival’s coordinator, Lee Ann Stubbs, to learn the particulars.
Vassallo: Lee Ann, to begin with, congratulations on being named coordinator for this year’s event.
Stubbs: Thanks, Steve. This will be my fourth Double Decker as the coordinator, and I can’t tell you how much I love my job. It’s so much fun to see the festival evolve from start to finish. Each year, I learn something new and how I could do something differently to make each year better.
Vassallo: Time flies when discussing Double Decker. What number are we approaching this April?
Stubbs: This year marks the 23rd annual Double Decker Arts Festival.
Vassallo: Prior years have featured great bands, 5K runs and exceptional vendors showcasing unique merchandise and delicious meals. How will this one be different if at all?
Stubbs: We are very excited about our food vendors and our wonderful art vendors. This year, we have partnered with the Ole Miss Student Activities Association to fund our headliner for the festival, which is Cold War Kids. Because of this partnership we were able to take our music budget to the next level.
Vasallo: Are we still looking at a Friday-Saturday schedule?
Stubbs: We will still be a two-day event with music starting Friday night along with the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour and continuing on to Saturday with music, art and food starting at 10 a.m. Art and food vending will end Saturday at 5:30 p.m., but music will continue until 10 p.m. Saturday night.
Vassallo: Any words of wisdom or advice for our out-of-town guests?
Stubbs: Get there early and find a parking place or utilize our shuttle running from the Oxford High School for $5 roundtrip. You don’t want to miss this year’s 23rd annual Double Decker Arts Festival. It’s going to be a great year!
Vassallo: Through the years, what are some of the things we’ve learned to improve upon the following years’ festivals?
Stubbs: See below in question about political rally
Vassallo: Typically this late in April, it is quite warm if not hot. Have water features for the kids ever been considered as an attraction?
Stubbs: We have talked about adding water features in the past, but with the amount of room we have for the children’s area, we have decided to stay away from them. But not to say they won’t be added one day; we just, for the time being, have not added them.
Vassallo: Is it possible to comment on any of the bands at this juncture in the planning?
Stubbs: We are so excited about our 2018 Double Decker Arts Festival lineup. Get ready for a great weekend is all I can say because we have a great line-up starting Friday night and ending Saturday night.
Vassallo: Is there a specific theme planned for this year’s event?
Stubbs: We really don’t have a specific theme. We just want everyone to come out and celebrate the art, music and wonderful food.
Vassallo: Who are your primary sponsors for the 2018 Double Decker?
Stubbs: We could not put on such a successful festival without the help of our sponsors, so thank you to each and every one of you. This year, our presenting sponsor is the University of Mississippi Museum, which was gifted to them by Ole Miss Athletics. Our stage sponsor and headliner sponsor is the Ole Miss Student Activities Association and our Faulkner Sponsors are Specialty Orthopedic Group, C Spire and Winchester.
Vassallo: Double Decker has long been recognized as one of the larger, more successful events statewide. How do we stack up against other events and festivals such as Philadelphia’s August political rally?
Stubbs: I don’t know a whole lot about the Philadelphia August political rally, but I do know a lot about the Double Decker Arts Festival. The festival started in 1996 with our Mayor Robyn Tannehill at the helm of the festival. Former Mayor Pat Patterson served on the Oxford Tourism Council at the time, too. The festival literally started in the bed of a pickup truck serving as a stage for music. Robyn saw a vision and created something that has probably exceeded many people’s expectations! It is pretty amazing how much the festival has grown in 23 years. Each year, we try to improve the festival, whether it’s through the layout to ensure safety or expanding the music lineup, we work hard to make sure our festival attendees have an experience that makes them want to come back from year to year. We have seen both festival attendance grow as well as the number of art vendor applications that we receive. The Double Decker Arts Festival has received multiple awards over the last 23 years, and we are extremely proud of these awards. We have been voted Best Festival by Mississippi Magazine the past two years and multiple years before that, and we have won many other awards throughout out the years.
Vassallo: Lee Ann, in closing, what have I failed to ask you that you would like to highlight for Double Decker 2018?
Stubbs: Double Decker has grown over the years and has become a premier arts festival in the Southeast. The diversity of both art and food vendors has grown tremendously over the years. Double Decker has also become an unofficial reunion weekend for many Ole Miss alums and people that love coming to visit Oxford. It has become the spring weekend to come back to visit because of its richness in food, music and the arts.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at email@example.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
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