Go Deeper

Other Fests We Like: Invisible River

Posted August 28th, 2015

invisible river-dancers-with-boatsSaturday, the minds behind the Invisible River Festival will take to the Schuylkill (which I still maintain is spelled and sounds like the name of an evil elf) for an afternoon and evening of interactive arts installations, boating, an aerial performance above the river, and more.

We caught up with Ryan Hennessey, a former FringeArts programming intern working as part of the Invisible River staff this year. Here’s what he told us about the goings-on on the water:

Why the title “Invisible River”?
Because of its location, the Schuylkill River. The name “Schuylkill” is Dutch, meaning hidden. So the Schuykill is literally the “Hidden River.” This ties in with the goal of the festival, which is to make the river visible again.

How did the festival first come about?
The annual festival began in 2013. Alie Vidich, the Artistic and Executive Director, put on the first event on with her previous organization Alie and the Brigade. Due to the overwhelming response that we received from the first event, it was obvious to Alie that the event needed to keep expanding to accommodate the growing audiences. The event is now an all-day festival with activities for people of all ages to take part in.

When did you start getting major support, like the Knight Foundation grant?
Last year was the first year we started getting major support from grants and this year was actually the first year we got the Knight Foundation grant. It’s great that support for Invisible River keeps growing because it allows the event to keep getting bigger and bigger as well.

What’s the goal of the festival?
As mentioned before, one of the main goals of this festival is to increase the visibility of the river. We want to not only remind people of the river but also how to access the river. On the day of the event, people will have easy access to the waterfront through our partnerships with local transportation services along with access to the river through our boating program. Through interactive programming, we hope to improve people’s common knowledge on environmental issues surrounding with the river.

What are you most excited to see there this year?
I’m so excited to see the changes during this year’s festival. Prior years focused mostly on performance, but this year’s event is going to have more of a festival feel to it. There is going to be something for everyone at this event. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Invisible River runs Saturday, August 29, from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm. It kicks off with a drum line departing from the Mander Recreation Center at 2140 N. 33rd St., and heads to the festival home base next to St. Joseph’s Boathouse at 2200 Kelly Drive. For details and a handy map, visit their website.