This year’s Nextfest Emerging Arts Festival is a first for Festival Producer Simone A. Medina Polo — she joined the team in the middle of the pandemic.
“It’s a mixed feeling. I’m excited and then also terrified,” says Medina Polo. “This is my first time getting to work in this capacity, just from organizing the physical space. It’s exciting all around being back in person, and also the fact that we’re back at the Roxy. There’s a lot of firsts happening right now.”
The 27th annual Nextfest begins June 2 at the recently reopened Roxy Theatre. The entire building will be used for theatre, film screenings, dance, cabarets and night clubs. Nextfest received hundreds of submissions this year, and over 50 events are on the schedule. Some programs have after show talk backs, as well.
The festival kicks off with the opening ceremonies on June 2 at The Lot at 6 p.m. The party will move across the street to the Roxy Theatre for dancing, music, performances, pizza and show previews.
“It’s nice because we get an opportunity to present the Roxy from the outside and from the inside, so that’s going to be very fun,” says Medina Polo. “It’s going to be a good chance for folks to get in touch with each other and mingle, and kind of get the festival energy going.”
Every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. are free musical performances at the Roxy to enjoy as you’re strolling by or in-between shows. An important thing to note is many shows at Nextfest are one night only, and some of the night clubs are for ages 14 years and older while others are for 18 years and older.
“The thing that has made me love this festival, even from the point of view of being an artist back in the day, is the experience of emerging and growing as an artist,” says Medina Polo. “I think there’s something very precious about that experience of coming of age and coming to one’s own. And so what I love about this festival is it embraces that. It’s like watching a flower blossom.”
Nextfest is on from June 2 to 12 at the Roxy Theatre, located at 10708 124 St. Single tickets are $14, a day pass is $20 and a festival pass is $45.