skate art

The Bay on Y Street as pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

[Disclaimer: Audrey Hertel is a featured photographer at the Skate Art Music Festival and the Daily Nebraskan's assistant Culture editor. She did not contribute to the editing or writing of this article]

A Lincoln coffee shop and community center is buzzing with excitement about one of its biggest celebrations of the year. While galleries host art shows, skate parks hold competitions and concert halls showcase musicians, The Bay combines all three into one triple-threat event. The fifth annual Skate Art Music Festival will return to The Bay on Oct. 12 to provide patrons a hodgepodge of free experiences. 

Those who trickle into the Bay from 2:30 to 11 p.m. will find performances from featured musicians like hip-hop artist Mola-B, a space to view images captured by local photographers and a front-row seat to see some of the best skateboarders in the Midwest battle for $1,450 worth of cash prizes.

The night will kick off by allowing skaters who did not receive an invite to compete for one of four wildcard spots. After the registration ends and a free skate school for kids comes to a close, professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler will coast across the skatepark floor to demonstrate technical skills and raise awareness for his cause. The MTV series “Life of Ryan” star helped found the Sheckler Foundation in 2008 to educate and inspire children and injured athletes. As part of his skateboarding tour with the Sheckler Foundation, Sheckler will make a philanthropic pitstop in Lincoln to further his goal of donating money to spaces like The Bay that create a positive impact on youth through skateboarding.

Skate Director Matthew Ratcliff says he expects the competition to be an exciting show, especially with its first hand-picked female skater making an appearance this year to pop ollies alongside her male competitors. Dana Jeck of Seattle is who Ratcliff hopes will be the first of many other female skateboarders in the skatepark. Stealing second place in the Red Bull Cornerstone competition in Minneapolis the weekend prior to the event, Jeck is expected to be a worthy opponent.

Ratcliff spoke enthusiastically about the process of setting up the event and selecting competitors for this year’s festival, saying it was hectic to prepare but well worth the commotion.

“It’s like Christmas if you’re a skateboarder,” Ratcliff said. “It’s such a good feeling to look back and know that you really built this incredible event for any and everybody who wants to watch and skate.”

The event will also feature a lineup of musicians curated by local hip-hop artists Conny Franko, Ria Gold and Hakim. Composing the night’s line up are DeathGod, Readbeard, Black Caliou, Thayo, Mola-B and D3e Trapp. According to Event Coordinator Kate Smith, the artists were carefully chosen by their potential to relate to the youth that frequent The Bay. The curators also hope to lift the up and coming artists in the local music scene.

The Bay will also showcase a number of visual art pieces. The venue will bear the work of 15 local photographers as well as a live mural painting demonstration by Brazilian street artist Eder Muniz. In addition to the photos and painting, a pop-up thrift shop run by students involved in The Bay’s events and skating community will sell second-hand finds to patrons.

Smith invites UNL students to experience The Bay’s unbridled potential at the Skate Art Music Festival on Saturday.

“It’s free, we’re a block from the dorms and it’s just a really good opportunity to see our space, what we have to offer, what is possible” Smith said. “Hopefully [the students] come away [thinking], ‘maybe I could skate or take photos to show at the Bay.’”

All ages are welcome to attend the free event held Oct. 12 at 2005 Y St. Attendees can come and go anytime between 2:30 and 11 p.m. and experience what Smith and Ratcliff say is a highlight of their year. Visit the event’s web page to view a full schedule of the evening.