10th Arts Festival will kick off on Friday evening on waterfront

“The world’s premier live soul act” and the Mariachi Mexamerica are among the many acts vying to lure you out to two free festivals this weekend.

The 10th annual (ähts): The Boston Arts Festival marks its first decade with expanded programming and wider-than-ever showcasing of local visual and performing artists. The festivities run from tomorrow (Sept. 7) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.

For the first time, (ähts) will open with a Friday 6 p.m. kick off concert, headlined by the internationally popular soul/funk band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. The nine-member group, which bills itself as “the world’s premier live soul act,” hearkens back to the sounds of the mid ‘60s to mid ‘70s. They’re in demand on late night TV, having played for Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, Fallon and Ferguson. Jones recently duetted with Michael Bublé on “Saturday Night Live.”

Boston artist Carolina Aragón has designed a temporary sculptural installation entitled “Ripples” for the front lawn of Columbus Park.  Her project, already approved for installation by the Boston Art Commission, will soon be launched on Kickstarter.com in an effort to fund the artist’s work.

The visual arts component will also include the usual juried selection of works by more than 60 Bostonians in “an artists’ village” under the pergola arcade. On sale will be one-of-a-kind and limited edition works of art, covering a broad spectrum of creativity. Among them will be Dot resident April Clay’s mixed media collages.

On the performance side there will be simultaneous programming on two separate stages. The groups scheduled to appear include Me vs. Gravity, Rag Time, Bearstronaut, and Wambura Mitaru. Mattapan’s Sean C. Fielder will bring a sampling of his Boston Tap Company to the Waterfront Stage from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Family-friendly activities abound, including interactive paintings led by the Mayor’s Mural Crew, a special children’s area, and a glass blowing demonstration. Local artist, Fish McGill will lead a collaborative drawing project with festival-goers. There will also be puppet encounters, a chalk artist and several other exciting additions to this year’s interactive program.

The Boston Arts Festival is presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance and is co-sponsored by Metro Boston, with additional support from the Highland Street Foundation, and RadioBDC. For more details go to bostonahtsfestival.com.

JP Music Fest

This Saturday  afternoon the second annual JP Music Fest features 25 eclectic acts (winnowed down from over 150 applicants) spotlighting the diverse talents of musicians based, bred, or somehow affiliated with the neighborhood. The melodic mash up will take place from noon to 7 p.m. at Pinebank Baseball Park, where legend has it that the living prototype of the festival’s albino squirrel logo still flits from leafy bough to leafy bough.

The line-up ranges from an Irish tenor and classical orchestra members to mariachis and a wide range of contemporary bands. One song from each act is posted for sampling at jpmusicfestival.com/bands-12.php

None of the performers or organizers gets paid a penny for working on this musical marathon.