Inside Cleveland's Hottest Party
Art and music collide at Cleveland Museum of Art's Solstice 2016
By Denise Koeth, Image by David Brichford, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art
The biggest party of the year just got even bigger, as the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual Solstice event -- which welcomes summer with a truly one-of-a-kind celebration -- joins the museum's Centennial Festival Weekend.
One thing is certain: this is not a hoity-toity gallery event for the socialite crowd. It's the only place in town where you can listen to cutting-edge live music from global artists, stroll through world-renowned art galleries and nosh on food and drinks prepared by an award-winning chef.
"Solstice is the museum's grand summer kickoff," says Tom Welsh, director of performing arts. "It's really a music festival neatly shoehorned into one of the greatest art museums in America, and as such is an amazing amalgamation of art and music."
Centennial Festival Weekend, set for June 25-26, is a two-day music and arts festival with Solstice -- which will take place June 25 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. -- as its glitzy anchor.
"The entire weekend will be devoted to celebrating our 100th birthday," Welsh says. "Solstice will be our great annual Saturday night blowout, as usual, and then we’ll add a day of programs on Sunday."
Inside the museum, visitors will find special programming, tours, music, and surprises. Outside, around Wade Lagoon, festival-goers can engage with local artists as they create original artworks. The weekend closes with a concert by the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra on Sunday, June 26.
Tickets are required for Solstice -- which has sold out every year since its inception -- and go on sale to members Monday, May 9. Upon availability, non-member tickets will go on sale Thursday, May 12 at 9 a.m. Tickets are $55 for members and $75 for non-members. All other Centennial Festival Weekend events are free and open to the public.
"Solstice was created in 2009 and was meant to be a one-time celebration of the opening of the (then-new) East Wing – an early major milestone of the museum's renovation and expansion," Welsh says. "But it was such a blast that we instantly decided to make it an annual festival. By now we've had almost 100 different bands from all over the globe, most making their Cleveland debut and more than a few of them making their first ever appearance in the U.S."
According to the museum, this year's soiree features a music lineup that ranges "from seductive electro-samba of Brazilian singer Luísa Maita to Mexico City’s Centavrvs; from L’Orchestre Afrisa International’s roots of Congolese rumba to London-based electronica artist Ikonika; from the history of Cleveland soul and R&B as spun by Dante Carfagna to the founder of disco and electronic music trailblazer Giorgio Moroder."