A Rookie Plans for One Spark: An All-Inclusive Guide for First Timers at One Spark

Taking place in Downtown Jacksonville from April 7th through the 12th, the third annual One Spark is the World’s Largest Crowdfunding Festival. The festival acts as a platform for Creators to showcase their projects and ideas in the categories of Art, Education, Health & Science, Music, Technology, and Social Good. Festival attendees are then given the opportunity to contribute directly to the Creator Projects, vote for the Project to receive a portion of $350k and learn and discover new ideas from all those participating in the festival.

Now that everyone is well aware of what One Spark is exactly, let’s set a plan for those first timers, myself included.

Where is it? One Spark will take place throughout 20 square blocks in downtown Jacksonville’s Urban Core in over 70 different Venues including Hemming Park, the Jacksonville Landing, MOCA, Underbelly, Burro Bar, Chamblin’s Uptown, the Riverwalk, and many other restaurants, bars and various businesses. A map of the festival site can be found in the ‘Attend One Spark’ section on onespark.com

Where to park? There are many options for parking and transportation during One Spark. One of the suggested and easiest ways to get to downtown Jacksonville for One Spark is using the Skyway. Free-to-ride, the Skyway trains will depart from their various stations every three to six minutes. Beginning on Tuesday April 7, the Skyway hours of operation are as follows: Tuesday 9am-Midnight, Wednesday/Thursday 9am-1am, Friday/Saturday 9am-2am, Sunday 9am-9pm. The best part is that it is free to park and free to ride! There are many stations downtown and across the river on the Southbank, making transportation to the festival quite convenient.

There are also six parking garages in the surrounding area Downtown, the JTA bus routes, walking, biking or even using the Jacksonville Water Taxi, which takes visitors from the Southbank across the river to the Jacksonville Landing. Keep in mind that road closures Downtown begin April 6 at 7pm and end April 13 at 6am, so parking away and traveling to the festival may be most the advantageous means of transportation. All pricing and hours of operation for the garages, Water Taxi and Skyway can also be found on onespark.com under the section ‘Transportation & Parking at One Spark.’

slide27Where to eat and drink? Presented by the San Marco Dining District, the One Spark Food Village will span four blocks at the intersection of Laura Street and Forsyth with over 20 different vendors to satisfy the taste of all hungry attendees with everything from gourmet to street food options. Various vendors at the One Spark Food Village include: BB’s, Corner Taco, Funkadelic Food Truck, Snowie Queen, Island Noodles, Catering by Liz Grenamyer, Mamas Food and many more. There will also be plenty of beverage stations to quench your thirst for beer, wine and mixed drinks. The Food Village will operate from 11am-10pm Wednesday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday. Late night munchies addicts need not fret, for the One Spark After Dark presented by Brumos Automotive runs from 8pm-1am Wednesday to Saturday. Here, you can continue to keep the party going with food trucks and drink vendors alike until the closing hours of the festival. There is also a Beer Village on Forsyth sponsored by Dos Gatos, a Beer Village on Hogan Street and food options in Hemming Park operating during the festival. In addition to Food and Beer Villages, all bars and surrounding restaurants will also be serving attendees with something for those of any age. A full list of food vendors can be found on onespark.com under the ‘Attend One Spark’ section.

ONE SPARK, the worlds first crowdfunding festival at PLATOON KUNSTHALLE in Berlin.

What to expect? Here is where things get a little hazy for us One Spark rookies. Although never having attended One Spark, there’s more than a good chance one can expect excitement, entertainment and enlightenment with 555 different projects in Art, Education, Health & Science, Music, Technology, and Social Good. Attendees will be exposed to many new ideas, projects, startups, great music, great food and an overall sense of community as Jacksonville comes together for the World’s Largest Crowdfunding Festival, helping Creators get their ideas across to the masses. It will be a time for networking, freedom of expression, social discussion, food, drinks, entertainment, and most importantly, fun for all ages.

How does voting work? It only takes one minute to vote and this may be the most important aspect of the One Spark Festival. $150k of the guaranteed $350k will be allocated solely by public votes. Your vote matters! Voting has been streamlined for year three to make the process as easy for users as possible. By doing that One Spark has cut out a step between registering your account at One Spark and casting your very first vote. Some key information for voting at One Spark is as follows: You must be present at One Spark to vote for Creator Projects. You must create an account as a registered voter at onespark.com. Voters must also check-in at the festival after Voting live, either using the One Spark mobile app or by going to an Information & Voting Kiosk. Voting will then go live at 11am on April 8, 2015. After checking in at One Spark, attendees will be able to vote online through their account on onespark.com. If you prefer not to use the web or a mobile app to vote, attendees may also cast physical votes at any of the Voting & Information Kiosks located throughout the festival footprint. Attendees may only vote once per Creator Project, but can vote for as many projects as they want.

What are the best times? Every time is a good time to attend One Spark; there’s never a dull moment! The festival kicks off with the One Spark Speaker Summit Presented by Community First Credit Union starting on Tuesday April 7. On that same day, join attendees and Creators for the official One Spark Opening Ceremony Presented by HiFi in Hemming Park beginning at 6pm. Following the opening ceremony, indie rock stars and must see bands, Mates of States and Echosmith begin playing music at 7:30pm. This is one show you will not want to miss. On April 8, Creator showcase hours, voting, and contributing kick-off at 11am EST. Creator showcase hours run from 11am- 9pm Wednesday, April 8 through Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12 from 11am-3pm. Make sure to check out One Spark After Dark Presented by Brumos Automotive after showcase hours each night. After showcase hours close on Sunday at 3pm, come and check out the Closing Ceremony Presented by Downtown Investment Authority in Hemming Park. Here, One Spark will wrap up this year’s festival and present awards and prize monies to the Project Creators.

slide29What’s the scene after dark? When the sun goes down, the party does not stop thanks to this year’s One Spark After Dark presented by Brumos Automotive, which features concerts and parties all week for the late night attendees. From Wednesday, April 8 to Saturday, April 11 from 8pm-1am, you can grab a glass of Intuition Ale Works exclusive ‘One Spark Brew’ and watch musicians, bands and DJs keep Jacksonville’s night owls busy into the wee hours of the morning. One Spark After Dark will feature acts such as Ha Ha Tonka and Canary in the Coalmine on Wednesday, Sunbears! and Empire Theory on Thursday, Somebody Else and Wilder Sons on Friday and Kopecky, Gold Light and Firekid on Saturday, among many others. Closing out each night of One Spark After Dark will be DJ Lil’ Boy, One Spark’s official DJ for 2015, spinning great tunes to get you moving into the late night. Make sure to check out all of the awesome showcases throughout “The Elbow”, the entertainment district just a few short steps away from One Spark After Dark. Check out showcases at Underbelly, 1904 Music Hall, Burro Bar and other great local establishments in the area.

One Spark Rookies are encouraged to attend the festival with an open mind, an open ear and open hearts as the World’s Largest Crowdfunding Festival helps its Creators turn their dreams and ideas into a reality. There will be no lack of stimulation and entertainment found in downtown Jacksonville during One Spark, so go out there, vote, contribute and enjoy yourself!

About Ricardo Maldonado