ORLANDO, Fla. – Immerse is back and bluer than ever.
This year, the massive art and music event will feature the high-energy drummers from the Blue Man Group along with hundreds of other performers all stationed in the heart of downtown Orlando.
With four full-blown stages and seven interactive zones, there's a lot to know about the Creative City Project's annual event before it takes to the streets Oct. 18 and 19.
Guests can expect a giant ball pit that's just as popular with adults as it is for children, stilt walkers roaming through the crowds, 1,000 musicians and artists showing off the best of their craft, and so much more.
New this year is the Dodecalis Luminarium, a giant inflatable structure with transparent walls designed by the U.K. artist collective Architects of Air. Curious revelers can wander around inside the air-conditioned space to see how the light reflects.
“We’re committed to making Immerse a destination event for people from around the world. We also want Immerse to be an event that makes us Orlando residents proud,” Creative City Project executive director Cole NeSmith said. “We love collaborating with artists to create innovative arts experiences audiences can’t have anywhere else in the world. Year after year, we have the opportunity to partner with Central Florida arts organizations to create unique performances. And in 2019, we’re excited to also partner with national and international organizations like Blue Man Group, Diavolo and Architects of Air.”
With the event approaching fast, here's everything you need to know before you go:
The big draw this year will be the Blue Man Group, the cobalt-colored drummers known for shows that blend sound, color, light and other visual stimuli. The downside is they will only perform on Oct. 19 but you'll have two shots to catch them at the Massey Services Stage: 7:20 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. Make your way over to the Dr. Phillips Center stage at 7:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19 to witness Diavolo, a gang of graceful acrobats you might recognize from "America's Got Talent." While the national acts will no doubt draw big crowds, you'd be remiss to not check out the locals. The flame-throwers of Fahrenheit Foxes, the dazzling dancers of Orlando Ballet and the upbeat pop stylings of Kit should definitely be put on your to-watch list. With about 1,000 creatives, there are literally too many acts to list so check out the full lineup here.
Technically, portions of the event are free, but if you want to experience everything Immerse has to offer, you really should get a ticket. Plus, you'll be supporting the arts, so it's a win-win. General admission is the place to start if you just want to watch performers from the reserved general admission area, which will cost you $10. Adding on experiences to that ticket for an additional $7 will get you access to the Dodecalis, the giant ball pit and the Worlds of Corkcicle, which is basically a warehouse filled with decked out selfie stations for you to snap the perfect profile picture. Now, because the event is so popular, the general admission tickets that include experience access for Oct. 18 and 19 are sold out, but you can still get tickets that will allow you to explore the extra perks after the main event, beginning Oct. 20 through Oct. 26. If you want to live it up at Immerse, a $102 VIP ticket will get you front-row access at performances, fast pass entry for Corkcicle and Architects of Air plus two drink tickets and a spot in the VIP lounge. The crème de la crème of tickets, coming in at $150, is The Dinner Party Project Experience, which includes all the VIP perks as well as a seat at The Dinner Party Project, a fine dining experience in the middle of Immerse that's capped off with a performance by Diavolo LA. To purchase tickets, click here.
Map and schedule
Planning out your Immerse experience isn't necessary, per se, but if there's an act you don't want to miss you'll want to make sure you're in the right place at the right time to catch it. Performances do happen currently at all four stages, but if two acts are happening the same time, you might be able to catch one of those shows the second time around. Based on my experience, I recommend getting there early to do Corkcicle, the ball pit and the Luminarium before the most sought-after acts take stage after sunset. The Massey Services Stage is on Orange Avenue between Church and Pine streets, the APAV Solutions stage is on Orange Avenue near Central Boulevard, the Dr. Phillips Center stage can be found on Anderson Street and the Church Street stage is exactly where you'd expect off Orange Avenue. Aside from the stages, there are also seven interactive zones where you can explore installations at your leisure. OUC Lights was one of the most popular installations last year, you can find that in zone seven at the corner of Orange Avenue and South Street. For a full-size version of the map and schedule, click here. The Immerse app is also a good tool if you'd like to have the map handy and mark which performances you'd like to attend. Click here to download it for iPhone.
If you ask me, taking an Uber of Lyft is always preferred when going downtown. That way, you don't have to circle the block looking for a spot, navigate the busy streets bustling with pedestrians and you can have a drink, if you like, and still be able to get home safely. Just have your driver drop you off a few blocks from the intersection of Orange Avenue and Pine Street, Orange Avenue and Church Street or Orange Avenue and Jackson Street, just depending on where you'd like to start your night. If you do decide to brave the roads, bring some cash to pay for parking. The closest garages are the library garage on Central Boulevard, the 55W garage on Pine Street, the garage at Orlando City Hall and the garage at Rosalind Avenue and Jackson Street. A full map of parking garages is available here.
The event is child friendly, for the most part. The acts can get a little more risque from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. but the performances begin at 5 p.m., so there's plenty to see before then. You might notice a few food vendors in the event's footprint but otherwise, there are plenty of bars and restaurants that offer good grub in the area and you can bet the local businesses will appreciate your patronage. Popping inside a downtown establishment will also give you the chance to use a restroom, otherwise Port-o-lets are provided.
For more details about the event, visit CreativeCityProject.com.