Floodwaters pour from the outlet of the San Antonio River Tunnel during a storm in May 2014. Decades ago, these waters would have flooded the city and left a wake of death and destruction. The 2012-2017 bond program will put over $128 million toward flood control and drainage projects. Photo by Robert Rivard.

Luminaria 2015 hasn’t even started and already it’s the victim of inclement weather. It’s hard to regret rain in South Texas, but the current forecast of 100% weekend rains is ill-timed for the two-day festival. The plan is to shrink the festival and move most of it indoors.

Luminaria Media Manager Sarah Fisch said Thursday that all hands are on deck to deliver the show – come hell or high water, especially the latter, the predicted deluge has forced festival managers to cancel a significant portion of the program.

“We are conducting the rain plan, taking all issues into consideration. We don’t have the manpower, nor does the City, to pivot so quickly and reactivate cancelled performances,” Fisch said. “It’s a heart-breaker to literally rain on people’s parade. We are not a large organization and neither is the staff of the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA), for that matter. We are both relying on volunteers. So much is being done to ascertain resources available to us.”

A man stands on scaffolding holding up a phone at the Buró de Intervenciones Públicas during Luminaria 2014.  Photo by Scott Ball.
The Buró de Intervenciones Públicas exhibit during Luminaria 2014. Photo by Scott Ball.

Here’s the low-down: San Antonians and visitors are going to be missing out on a lot (pretty much all) of dance and light-based installations. This is an extreme safety issue for dancers. One single wet spot on a stage could be the end of a career. No Danse Oui. No Deborah Vasquez and Zombie Bazaar Panza Fusion (because, you know, fire eating). Stage One is pretty much shut down. The very expensive and specialized equipment required to accomplish state-of-the-art light shows require a dry environment (because, you know, electricity).

Stage Two, however, is a different story. Stage Two has a tent. Therefore, most of the performances scheduled for this stage survived the rainy weather cut. It’s located in front of SAMA, one block off Jones, near the corner of 8th Street and Avenue B.

Femina X? Still on. The internationally renowned, David Lynch collaborating, San Antonio born chanteuse Krysta Bell? Still on. Vicky Grise and Rafa Esparza’s collaborative performance art piece inspired by Joe Jiménez’s  “The Presence of Absence and Kites?” Still on.

In fact, Fisch said, these artists are embracing the storm.

Most installations/events that were planned outside have been cancelled due to anticipated thunderstorms.
Luminaria 2015 site map. Most installations/events that were planned outside have been cancelled due to anticipated thunderstorms.

“We have been incredibly impressed with the commitment of Luminaria artists to work with us in any way possible,” she said.

Despite the necessary cancelations, it is possible that there will be a creative electricity that cannot be manufactured. This sort of alchemy is achieved when a group of talented individuals must pull together to accomplish the seemingly impossible end game. Those who attend Luminaria 2015 are the winners. Who knows what will happen? At least we’ll have a front row seat.

Luminaria Executive Director Kathy Armstrong and Department for Culture & Creative Development Director Felix Padron are deeply committed to seeing that artwork/performances specifically commissioned for Luminaria come to fruition in San Antonio. Staff are working on a plan so that all is not lost – just gratification delayed. Stay tuned.

Without putting oneself in harm’s way (“turn around, don’t drown“) all are encouraged to attend Friday and Saturday’s event, starting at 7 p.m. and closing at midnight. Participants and artists should follow Luminaria on Facebook and/or Twitter for the most up-to-date information. See you there.

*Top image: Floodwaters pour from the outlet of the San Antonio River Tunnel during a storm in May 2014. Photo by Robert Rivard.

Related Stories:

Rain or Shine, Give Me Luz: A Luminaria Chicano/a Primer

Luminaria 2015: The Metamorphosis Continues

Más Rudas: Chicana Art Without Apology, Featured at ITC

Luminaria 2014 Review: Hits and Misses


Tami Kegley

Tami Kegley has lived the life of an artist. Through multiple careers — dancer, percussionist, performance artist, sculptor, goldsmith, gallerist — she has pursued her need to create. The Great Recession...