Brooklyn Basks in the “New York Music Month” Spotlight

June 1, 2017 by

Music has always been at the core of New York culture. Indeed, the city’s iconic nickname, The Big Apple, was popularized by jazz musicians in the 1930s. So we at Brooklyn Roads are pleased that Mayor de Blasio has declared June to be “New York Music Month.” It is only fitting that June is also the beginning of Brooklyn’s bountiful summer music season, including the Northside Festival and Celebrate Brooklyn!

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Brian Wilson Performs Pet Sounds at the Northside Festival on June 12, 2016 / photo courtesy of TCB Public Relations

Northside — during which 100,000 creative and cultural trendsetters are expected to converge in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick — runs June 7-11 , with a lineup of more than 300 artists slated to perform. Among these are such Brooklyn-based talents as Dead Stars, Dirty Projectors, Fruits & Flowers, Grim Streaker, Milan to Minsk, Monograms, Radamiz, The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Tiny Hazard, Tubafresh and Yucky Duster. Among the more than 30 host venues are Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn Bowl, Knitting Factory, McCarren Park, Muchmore’s, Music Hall of Williamsburg, National Sawdust, Pete’s Candy Store, Rough Trade and Union Pool.

Celebrate Brooklyn! kicks off its 39th season June 7 with a gala featuring local favorites Lake Street Dive. Other Brooklyn artists set to take the stage at the Prospect Park Bandshell over a nine-week span include Yeasayer, Talib Kweli, People’s Champs and, opening for jazz saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders, Brooklyn Raga Massive. In addition, local ensemble Wordless Music Orchestra will perform the live score for screenings of “Creed” and “Selma.”

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Lake Street Dive / photo by Kyra Kverno

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Celebrate Brooklyn! Artistic Director Rachel Chanoff with Angelique Kidjo and Executive Producer Jack Walsh / photo by Howard B. Leibowitz /B.L.Howard Productions

Performers from beyond Brooklyn include Lisa Loeb (joined by Brooklyn’s own The Knights), Andrew Bird, Bela Fleck, Nellie McKay, Musiq Soulchild, Wilco’s Nels Cline, Alice Smith, Whitney and Youssou N’Dour, plus benefit concerts by The Shins and Fleet Foxes.  For insights into the origin and history of Celebrate Brooklyn!, check out our interview with Executive Producer Jack Walsh .

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Joe D’Urso at the first Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in 2014 /photo by Howard B. Leibowitz / B.L.Howard Productions

In another “New York Music Month” highlight, the Brooklyn Music Shop Homestead presents New York rockers Joe D’Urso and Friends, frequent visitors to our borough from across the East River, on June 10. For those who feel the need to leave Brooklyn for a brief respite, D’Urso also curates the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival at the German Masonic Fairgrounds in Tappan, NY, June 23 to 25.  In addition to great music, the festival was created in 2014 to raise awareness for several charities including three — Light of Day Foundation, Why Hunger and the Dan Sullivan Foundation – for which D’Urso serves on the board of directors. Among the more than 30 artists slated to perform are Steve Forbert, Jeffrey Gaines, Christine Ohlman, John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band, Jake Clemons (saxophonist with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), and D’Urso himself, playing with Stone Caravan.

Back in Brooklyn, June segues into July with On Stage at Kingsborough’s Hot Summer Nights series of free outdoor concerts. On four Saturdays beginning July 1, Kingsborough Community College hosts a range of outstanding jazz and swing bands performing under the stars.