17-day Charlotte International Arts Festival offers 170 free events

CHARLOTTE — Blumenthal Performing Arts is set to bring its annual celebration of visual and performing arts to venues across Charlotte from Sept. 15 – Oct. 1.

The 2023 Charlotte International Arts Festival (CIAF) will feature more than 200 events across multiple genres with most being free and open to the public and ticketed events starting at $5. Events will be held in different venues in Uptown and Ballantyne’s Backyard.

“The launch of CIAF last fall exceeded our expectations in every way,” Blumenthal Performing Arts President and CEO Tom Gabbard said in a news release. “The festival uniquely blends artists from around the world and around the corner. This year, we are really elevating the focus on international artists and organizations right here in Charlotte.”

Festival highlights include the return of Luke Jerram’s Gaia at Founders Hall; a new two-day International Bazaar; the multi-Tony Award-winning musical “MJ;” the Charlotte Film Festival; Disney Pixar’s “Coco” Live-to-Film Concert; and the Festival of India and Latin American Festival, which are now part of CIAF.

10 events and installations to check out:

Aqueous — This installation features a series of interactive pathways that swirl with light when you walk over them. Sept. 15 – Oct. 1 at Ballantyne’s Backyard. Link

Gaia — Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, Gaia is a 23-foot, suspended, three-dimensional, illuminated sculpture of the earth. Sept. 15 – Oct. 1 at Founders Hall. Link

Tour de Ballantyne - The International Roller Skate Party — Rollin’ Clt and SweatNET Charlotte will host a roller-skating party for all ages and skill levels. Tickets start at $5. Sept. 15 – Oct. 1 at Ballantyne’s Backyard. Link

Tablao Flamenco — Enjoy an evening of dynamic performance, improvisation, and passionate music delivered by a cast of the most sought-after award-winning flamenco artists in the United States and Europe. Tickets start at $37.50. Sept. 21-23 at Stage Door Theater in Uptown. Link

Tosco Music Presents: World Rhythms — Enjoy the music of international artists at this free concert. Sept. 22. The Amp at Ballantyne. Link

Festival of India — The 25th annual festival will feature Indian dance, music, art, and food. Tickets cost $6. Sept. 23 at Belk Theater. Link

Latin American Festival — The 33rd annual festival features internationally renowned musical acts, food, an interactive village and marketplace, and dance performances. Admission is free. Sept. 23 at The Amp at Ballantyne. Link

Disney Pixar’s “Coco” Live-to-Film Concert — Watch a screening of the film “Coco” while the musical score is performed by the 20-member Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México. Tickets start at $15. Sept. 29 at The Amp Ballantyne. Link

International Bazaar — Shop from 75 merchants and vendors that represent local cultural groups and nonprofit organizations. Sept. 29-30 at Founders Hall. Link

Soundtracks Music Festival — The Downtown Belmont Development Association will host its inaugural fall music festival featuring headliners The Marshall Tucker Band. Tickets start at $25. Sept. 30 at Stowe Park in Belmont. Link

In addition to art installations and performances, fitness classes will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in various locations in Ballantyne’s Backyard and Levine Avenue of the Arts, against backdrops of CIAF art installations. Link

For the full festival lineup, go to charlotteartsfest.com.

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