Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Sounds of Music in the Air

Yes, with Summer comes a host of music festivals, indoor and outdoor and sometimes both. Again it's hard to be everywhere, but still one can revel in the rich opportunities being offered, no?

• May 31st - June 1st •
Bang on A Can Marathon
World Financial Center Winter Garden
6pm May 31st - 6am June 1st

Once again Bang on a Can (with the co-sponsorship of River to River Festival and arts>World Financial Center) is giving us some select juicies from new contemporary music, with works by Annie Gosfield, Pamela Z, Karsh Kale, Caleb Burhans, Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can co-founder) Lukas Ligeti, David Lang (Bang on a Can co-founder), Stockhausen, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley among others. Performers include Lisa Moore, Pamela Z, Young Peoples Chorus of NYC (pictured above at the 2007 Marathon performing Meredith Monk's Three Heavens and Hells; photo credit: James Darcy Argue's Secret Society), Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Nikel, SIGNAL, So Percussion, Bora Yoon, and Crash Ensemble, with video by Luke Dubois and film by Bill Morrison. See the website for the full schedule.

• May 31 - August 10th, 2008 •
Playing the Building
An Installation by David Byrne
Battery Maritime Building
10 South Street, NYC

OK, not really a music festival. But an opportunity to be a part of a live musical moment which will shift and change during the course of it's upcoming incarnation at the Battery Maritime Building in southern Manhattan. Check the website for more details and an interview with Byrne about the project (photo from Stockholm, Sweden installation)

• June 10 - 13, 2008 •
Arts for the Art 13th Annual Vision Festival of AvantJazz
Clemente Solo Vélez Center
107 Suffolk Street (@ Rivington St.)
New York, NY
More info: 212-696-6681
Festival pass & day pass, check website for cost & availability

Featuring a Lifetime Achievement Tribute to tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan, the festival also features sets with trombonist George Lewis and bassist Joelle Leandre, trumpeter Wadado Leo Smith, pianist Vijay Iyer, drummer Don Moye, drummer Gerald Cleaver, violinist Billy Bang, bassist Mark Dresser, and way to many folks to list including dancers, video artists, and poets. For the full schedule check here. (photo credit:

• June 12th - 14th, 2008 •
4th Annual New Languages Festival
The Living Theater
21 Clinton Street
New York, NY

A bit of an unfortunate overlap with the Vision Festival, but that's how it is sometimes. This Festival features guitarist Ty Cumbie's assemblage of genre-crossers The Color Now: Daniel Carter (winds) Lukas Ligeti (drums) and Adam Lane( bass), composer/conductor James Darcy Argue's 18-piece ensemble Secret Society (pictured above right), and composer/drummer Tyshawn Sorey's trio premiering his new work Wu-Wei (June 12th, 10pm) which was commissioned by Roulette and supported by the Jerome Foundation. (pictured right Sorey, June 19,2007; photo credit John Rogers NYC)

• June 21, 27, 28, 2008 •
2008 URB ALT Festival
Harlem Stages (@ the Apollo) and BAM
NYC & Brooklyn
FREE, $10 suggested donation

As usual, an eclectic line-up of musicians from around the US and elsewhere and to be announced special guests. The festival makes a move over to Brooklyn this year for the main of its run and features bassist extraordinaire Melvin Gibbs, the transcendent and gifted rockers Faith, punk heaviness from Millsted, roots rockers Devi, southern hip hop from Stacey Epps and Pierre Fignole, and genre bending from mainstays MuthaWit & Tenderhead. Check the website for full details.

• July 5th - 9th, 12th - 13th, 2008 •
4th Annual Afropunk film & music festival
Brooklyn, NY
Music Festival, FREE
Film Festival tix, check BAM site in June

OK, I kid you not, the line up is still apparently unavailable--I think this must be an error, it seems I already got an email talking about the amazing line-up. I remember reading that it would be FREE and there would be a HUGE skatepark. But perhaps I dreamed it? Anyway, it looks like they are culling bands from online submissions to:

And I haven't seen any deadline on their website or MySpace page. So if you're interested in playing the fest, run do not walk to enter your band on the Afropunk Ourstage registration site. Yes, do it now. Yes, NOW.

WAIT, WAIT. OK, Brooklynvegan (shouldaknown!) posted the 411 last week, giving the partial line up as Michelle N'degeocello, The Noisettes, Tamar Kali, Little Jackie, Sophia Ramos, and more.

Plus returning from last year, Whole Wheat Bread, the Smyrk, and Game Rebellion. Fortunately I did not dream the BAM Skatepark, and clinic...

• Saturday July 19th, 2008 •
Village Voice Siren Festival
Coney Island
Festival Pass, check site for cost & availability

The Siren Fest looks to be scaled back a bit this year, but their site says "+ more to be announced." But then again pretty pretty punkin notes that last year was supposed to be the Last Year. If Siren is a bit smaller in 2008 it may be because Coney Island is undergoing a gentrification face-lift. Out with the history, in with the more lucrative development--OK, that's me being a bit cynical. It's also possible those creaky slats will be replaced with something a bit more stable for 200+ folks to walk across on a hot summer day.

If you were wondering where the Dragons of Zynth had gone to after their successful date at last year's AfroPunk festival, well, they're at the Siren Fest along with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, the Dodos, and the Helio Sequence.

• August 8-10, 2008 •
All Points West Music & Arts Festival
Liberty State Park
Jersey City, New Jersey
Festival & Day Passes, check site for cost & availability

Yep Jack Johnson and Radiohead got a jump on folks by starting a new music & art festival and taking the scene over to Jersey, putting it in a beautiful park under highly controlled pro-environmental conditions (read the list of do's and don'ts before you leave home, and don't expect to camp out onsite) and of course giving it a MySpace Page. This looks to be the big momma of the music festivals this summer with some serious cross-cultural offerings from multiple continents: Sia, Gabriela y Rodrigo, Amadou & Mariam, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Chromeo, The Go! Team, The Felice Brothers, and Juana Molina, etc. plus perennial faves New Pornographers, The Roots, Cat Powers, again Michael Franti & Spearhead, and of course headliners Radiohead & Jack Johnson, along with new faves, Animal Collective, Mates of State, and about to break big, local heroes/sheroes Earl Greyhound. Not surprisingly, the first top friend on their MySpace page is the Coachella Music Festival (and in a new whimsical trend sweeping MySpace, their last "top friend" is "Tom.") They've got festival passes and day passes, and will probably sell out of all before the festival starts. We'll see if this becomes the next career-making indie festival to play after Coachella (even Pitchfork is getting behind them, and don't they have their own fest in Chicago?).

The Pitchfork Guide to Summer (Music) Festivals 2008

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