The Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters is exactly that – two enormous productions that symbiotically co-exist next to each other on the same grounds.
While this year’s 81st Pageant of the Masters plays nightly in the Irvine Bowl at 8:30 (see my article here), the Festival of Arts runs practically all day until 11:30 p.m. each night. (See hours and admission fees in my Calendar of Events here). The Festival of Arts Laguna Beach is primarily a juried fine-arts show with more than 140 artists BUT it’s also art workshops, tours, live music, special events … even “Art and Yoga with Lululemon.”
Let me reiterate that this is a giant production, folks. At least 65 “Special Events” are on the docket. More than 125 art workshops cater to youth, teens and adults (some with wine!). And, even beyond the 10 special Concerts on the Green, more than 60 musical acts play nightly and on Sundays at noon.
If You Just Want to Wander … Get the Passport to Arts for Better Admission Pricing
The Festival grounds open at noon on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends. Unless you’re Military or a Laguna Beach resident (which allows free admission), I’d suggest the Passport to Arts, which allows unlimited admission to ALL of our festivals – this Festival, the Sawdust across the street, and Art-A-Fair – for just $29.
Take the Free (Super Fun) Art Tour
Admission will give you access to all 140 exhibits as well as artist demonstrations, “Art & Story time” for kids, “Art Talks & Tea” for adults and more, more more. To really do it up right, though, take one of the Art Tours, which are scheduled twice daily on weekdays and weekends. It’s an amazing and fun fast track through the many juried exhibits with super-thorough docents with personality galore. You’ll learn about mediums and processes and come outs sounding like an art scholar in your own right a mere hour later. The Art Tours run weekdays at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and on weekends at 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Check Out Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate Nights – $20 for 21 and up
Spend an additional $20 beyond your admission fee (trust me – it’s worth it), for a fun night of live jazz as you pair chocolates with wine and get to know the artists along the way. I love it! I have more details here in my weekly calendar with notes on each week’s jazz musician.
Learn from 3 Great Painters in Wine & Painting Nights – $75 for 21 and up
Three longtime and popular artists – Mark Jacobucci, Mike Tauber and Anthony Salvo – are offering specific painting subjects on Saturday evenings. This is super cool (and non-intimidating fun), whether you choose to paint sunsets, donuts or the Monterey coastline. These sell out very quickly, so get on it … I have more details here in my weekly calendar with notes on each week’s artist and subject matter that you’ll be painting and taking home with you.
Music Favorites Nightly at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at noon
This is such a cornucopia of talent that it really behooves you to check out the entire Festival calendar to find your own favorites. I’ve already added each of the jazz musicians for Thursday night’s “Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate Nights in my events calendar. These additionals are my personal picks – you’ll find more details on each in my weekly calendar, too.
Tues, July 9 – Tribute – The Legacy of Luther Vandross
Fri, July 12 – Dorian Holley – sang on all Michael Jackson tours, backs up JamesTaylor, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys
Fri, July 19 – Buzz Campbell (Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker’s lead guitarist)
Sun, Aug 11 – Leslie Page (background singer for Joe Walsh (The Eagles), Ringo Starr, Keith Urban, Billy Gibbons, Hunter Hayes, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and more.
Fri, Aug 16 – Gabriel Royal (Brooklyn’s best busker who now works with Beyonce’s music video director)
Fri, Aug 23 – M-pact (primarily harmonizing a cappella group that’s won just about every industry award and stars in Cirque de Soleil and Disney animated films)
Tue, Aug 27 – Tribute – Mad Dogs & the Englishman, Joe Cocker Tribute, with our own Laguna-based Jason Feddy
Saturday Concerts on the Green
If you think the above is world-class (which they all are), the Saturday Concerts feature even bigger stars. Last year, I attended just one concert – Side Deal – which blew the doors off. I was hoping we’d see them again this year, but these already-superstars of giant music have gone on to create a “Side Deal” of super-stardom despite themselves. Check out the Festival calendar for this year’s Saturday concerts here.
Last But Not Least … The Famous Festival Runway Show
On Aug 18, from noon to 3:00 p.m., it’s the return of the fabulous Festival Fashion Show. It’s an over-the-top creative couture contest with the twist of all the “outfits” (I use this term loosely) being made out of recycled, reused and reclaimed materials. It’s an absolute do-not-miss event.
Hope this all helps as you navigate the amazing Festival of Arts this year!