“Indulge your senses”. This is both Oranje’s motto and goal. From brilliant pieces of art to shattering live musical performances, Indy’s premier culture festival is a haven for sensory stimulation. The twelve year old event has transformed immensely since its grassroots beginnings, and last Saturday night was a shiny, orange testament to its local prowess.
Strolling into the main quadrant of Oranje, which was composed of the lawn and building of Centennial Hall, festival goers were greeted by live art and music. Graffiti artists wielded their cans in creative glory as they sprayed a PBR themed mural onto a trailer. Orange little globes softly glowed along the paths leading to different attractions. Additional artists drew and painted on easels surrounding the PBR stage, which hosted a slew of musicians.
While The Bright White, rockers from the Windy City, had this stage they played some pretty typical pop rock. They sounded like they’d definitely taken a couple of pages from the Goo Goo Dolls. This fact coupled with their non-native status could have attributed to their lack of listeners. Nonetheless, when Audiodacity and Jomberfox hit the stage later on, the PBR tent received plenty of love. Local outfit Jomberfox strummed and serenaded a growing crowd with their rock tunes. Brandishing a lap steel guitar and a unique indie-rock subtlety, it was exciting to watch this group perform. Audiodacity followed up with their energetic horn driven sound. They had their large audience swaying and dancing through the entire set. Although the dynamics of Oranje outdoors were terrific, the interior also had plenty to offer.
Inside Centennial Hall, the scene was even wilder. Booths of artists lined up against both sides of the three levels of the facility. With a stage at the end of each level, the masterminds behind Oranje had left no space for quietude. Honestly, with only six hours to cram all the attractions in, there wasn’t a soul present who minded being sounded by stimulations. Visual artists like Izaak Hayes, who unearths inspirations in his found art, and Caren Charles, who creates richly colored paintings, interacted with patrons at their booths. Most presented business cards and had works for sale. Charles was offering face paints which ranged from playful kitten whiskers to inspiring, and vivid designs. Down the hall from these artists more musicians were performing.
At the Jakprints stage an indie rock band, from Chicago, titled Landmarks played ambient tunes. Both relaxing, and reminiscent of the nationally popular indie sound present at this time, they were a calm addition to a very high-powered musical roster. At the Indy Mojo stage, DJ Topspeed spun an eclectic mix of rap and pop songs strung to a fast paced tempo. It has been said that Topspeed can play for any crowd, which is certainly the truth. Hippies, hip-hop heads, and general music lovers thrashed to his beats. Topspeed’s beat weren’t the only ones being spun that evening, though. The Beats and Breakfast Lounge was home to the evening’s rap music. Indian City Weather put on a stellar performance that had the crowd nodding their heads. Blending elements of hip-hop, rock, and pop, these guys brought hot sound to Oranje. However, the late night set by the Breakdown Kings was the perfect climax to the night. Ace One and his group brought the night to a boisterous and crashing finale armed with their raw rap-rock sound.
As the night drizzled to a close, and the partiers hopped in their cabs or rides from Uber, there was a glow that seemed to surround Centennial Hall. The orange globes that lined the path shone in solidarity to a night that should make Indy proud.
This Saturday evening, a diverse gathering of Indianapolis residents will assemble at Centennial Hall and Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the 12th annual Oranje. The art and music fusion event has become an indispensable part of the Indianapolis arts community through showcasing hundreds of local visual and musical artists since its humble beginnings in 2002.
As Oranje has grown over the years, so has the need for tighter coordination between all of the moving parts that make the unique event come together. Last year Oranje relocated to the state fairgrounds from the run-down former Ross-Gage building at 24th and Illinois where it has resided for the previous five years. With improved access to amenities such as air conditioning and electrical outlets as well as a generally cleaner environment (added bonus: way more stalls in the ladies room), moving to the fairgrounds makes everyone’s experience more enjoyable- from the artists building exhibition booths to the attendees finding close, safe parking.
Oranje co-founder and director Ryan Hickey elaborates, “I think everybody shares the same opinion, which is also my opinion. Yeah, those older buildings were way more fun and cool. But you know, it was also a lot different being 24 [years old] and doing Oranje than it is being 36 and doing Oranje. It was a lot more fun and interesting and edgy- all that type of stuff- but at some point you go, ‘Alright. I’ve got 23 sponsors, 100 participants, 50 staff people and 3,000 people coming. And I’m responsible for all of them and they all have different demands and the best thing to accommodate them is to put them into a space that’s just a little easier to work with and not filthy the minute we walk in the building.'”
Hickey says the biggest thing that’s different from last year is the Beats & Breakfast lounge- an extension of the annual series from Lonegevity (of Hinx Jones) and Skittz (of The Proforms and Breakdown Kings). The pair have teamed up with Oranje to have two live sessions occur during the event with multiple talented artists from Indianapolis. Festival patrons will be able to get some tasty breakfast food and hang out in the Beats &Breakfast lounge while observing the raw creation of tracks before their very eyes. Moreover, the fine folks at Bringing Down The Band (who also sponsor Beats & Breakfast) will have a live recording booth so that attendees can experience Beats & Breakfast themselves. Everyone will have the option to record over a beat during Oranje in their custom booth. This noteworthy addition to Oranje is not to be missed!
Outside, returning patrons will notice a few changes to the PBR courtyard. Last year’s isolated Red Bull DJ Truck will be relocated to a more prominent spot and upgraded to a Red Bull Fire Truck. The vehicle-turned-DJ booth will serve as The Welcome Stage and project chillaxed, downtempo beats from Christ!an and Cool Hand Lex for attendees as they arrive to the event.
Last year’s event was chilly and forced a lot of patrons inside, and this Saturday appears to be on the same trajectory. Be sure to grab a jacket on your way out the door so you can hang outside late into the night, or else you’ll risk missing out on the interactive art and music installations happening outdoors.
Another PBR-sponsored trailer will be painted with vibrant, authentic street art over the course of the evening. Frequenters of downtown and Fountain Square may recognize last year’s trailer as the area’s Monarch Beverage Company delivery trailer. Additional live art will be in action in the PBR courtyard and those finished products will be donated to top PBR accounts, such as Sinking Ship, for year-round public display.
Be sure to look for the State Farm tent in the courtyard. Anyone who decorated their own trucker hat at at WARMfest will be excited to hear the company will have a similar presence at Oranje, but with blank miniature canvases instead of headwear.
Be aware of the alternate entrance to the Indy Mojo stage from the courtyard just north of the main entry point to the building. Unlike last year, there are no bands scheduled to perform on The Indy Mojo stage. Legendary DJ Topspeed will play a captivating 90-minute that’s not to be missed.
“Topspeed is one of the only DJs outside of the Mojo demographic that really works well with the Mojo demographic,” Hickey explains his excitement for the performance. “The DJs who don’t play in that scene can’t really connect with that crowd that well. But Topsepeed can connect with anyone because he’s that good.”
The Indy Mojo Stage will also host Magnetic, Jeremy Daeger, PoundPoundPound, and jFET. Outdoors, the PBR Stage will showcase straight forward rock-n-roll and indie rock from Swig, Tied To Tigers, The Bright White, Jomberfox, and Audiodacity. Inside and upstairs, the Level 3 Stage will present a more eclectic mix from Rugged Russian Bear, Shimmercore, Landmarks, Black Cat Rebellion, and The Bearded Lucys.
Indy Mojo’s top musical picks for the night include Topspeed, Jomberfox, Audiodacity, Jeremy Daeger, Indian City Weather, Rugged Russian Bear, and The Bearded Lucys.
Visual art is arguably the focal point of Oranje; more than 25 artists are currently building elaborate exhibition booths on all three floors of Centennial Hall. Among the many others, be sure to check out Stella Brickel and Homeless Cop near the Level 3 Stage.
Last, but not least, keep some cash on hand and plan to pay $5 for parking in addition to the cost of your ticket to Oranje. Watch the Oranje facebook page for special give-aways all week leading up to Saturday’s main event.
Oranje – Indulge Your Senses
Saturday October 12; 8 pm – 2 am
Centennial Hall and Dow AgroSciences Celebration Park at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
1202 E. 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46205