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Preview, Prelude or Test-Run

by Jerome Weeks 20 Oct 2016 1:21 PM

It’s all about the Aurora festival tweaking things this Friday and Saturday to avoid the crowd hassles of last year’s Arts District ‘white night.’ And y’know, to get people jazzed about next year.

'Inc.' by Tramaine Townsend in the AT&T PAC box office

Every two years, the Aurora festival fills Dallas’ Arts District for one night with video projections, music, food, light sculptures and crowds. But during this off year, Aurora’s producers are experimenting with a much, much smaller event – a sort of test-run for next year. It’s Friday and Saturday night, and it’s called Prelude. Prelude will feature live music but only 10 artworks immediately around the Winspear Opera House.

Prelude: A Preview of Aurora 2017 Oct. 21-22 in Dallas Arts District. RSVP at

Executive producer Paul Cathey says they learned from last year’s Aurora which often found people trapped waiting for DART trains or looking for parking.

“Last year,” Cathey says, “we had a large festival, it was beyond our expectations. It was great. But we had about 50,000 people in one night. So this year we wanted to test the waters with a smaller event over two nights. And we’ve had discussions with DART, so they’re aware of our plan. We also have been in discussions with the [McKinney Avenue] trolley, so the trolley’ll be running extended hours to get people back and forth from Uptown. And we’ve instituted an RSVP program [online], you don’t have to RSVP, but it gives us an idea of how many folks are coming.”

Cathey says the festival is planning on attracting around fifteen thousand people each night — “about four thousand people an hour would be ideal. That’d give people time to lie on the grass, maybe have a drink or something to eat and relax.”

  • Putting in the last lightbulbs for 'The Future' Wednesday.