Instead of a neighborhood arts festival, new fest Kwestival is a festival for neighborhoods, a giant pop-up featuring an extraordinary blend of merchants. According to organizers, the new fest will create a little Dallas in Klyde Warren Park, bringing together the cultures of 15 local neighborhoods. Much like its namesake, an app named Kwest, the festival is also a scavenger hunt.
An app helps you explore cities by creating “curated adventures” or “Kwests.” “It’s sort of a blend between a real world scavenger hunt game and a guided tour,” says Omeed Shams, from Kwestival.
The app was released in October. Kwestival partnered with Lauren Lee from Three Twelve Co. — which puts together events, workshops and collaborations featuring local creatives, with a focus on women in business — to put on a combination app launch party and festival on April 23.
“It’s a perfect marriage,” Lee says of the partnership. “Our mission is to get everyone involved with everything in the city.” And like the Kwests, Three Twelve Co. events are aimed at getting people to interact in new ways. “People aren’t just coming to mill around and purchase things,” Lee continues. “They’re going to be doing things.”
Food, art, and music from 15 different neighborhoods will be represented at the festival. “You can almost imagine all of Dallas in one place,” Shams says.
Some neighborhoods may focus on restaurants. Oak Cliff may be represented by some of its well-known artists, or perhaps a coffee shop from Bishop Arts.
“Each neighborhood will have three to five vendors that we feel represent those neighborhoods,” says Lee. This may not be a food festival per se, but it will be food heavy. “There will be a minimum of one food vendor per neighborhood.” There will also be booths for arts and culture, fitness and business. A culinary competition is in the works, too.
Shams and Lee are still in the process of curating vendors for the fest.
Kwest is currently a free app but will start charging soon after the festival. Right now it has several Kwests for Dallas. One explores Deep Ellum, giving you a starting point and essentially becoming your guide as soon as you press start. It also ties various stops on the tour together with riddles and puzzles.
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There are ample foodie quests, naturally, and a Denton brewery quest is currently in development. Upcoming quests will focus on history and nightlife. Kwestival’s plan is to add more cities, providing numerous methods of exploration, hopefully with more launch parties, organizers say.
These Kwests can also be attached to specific events, as will be the case with Kwestival. The Kwests somehow put you in your own little world by forcing you to interact with your environment.
Along with the scavenger hunt element, at Kwestival there will also be “challenges" sending you to do something in a specific “neighborhood." There will even be augmented reality components that involve using image recognition technology to confirm achievements. Organizers say there will also be plenty of kid-friendly activities and live music from local bands.
“Anything that we feel is great about Dallas,” says Shams. “We’re trying to invite them to come.”