About this project
The Second Annual Brooklyn Americana Music Festival takes place September 23 - 25, 2016 at seven locations along the waterfront with sixty live music shows:
- INDOOR STAGES: Superfine, and 68 Jay St Bar in Dumbo. We're bringing in two more beloved pioneer venues 'Red Hook Bait and Tackle', and the legendary 'Sunny's Bar'.Plus our traditional Opening Night Gala at Jalopy Theatre.
- OUTDOOR STAGES: Friday and Saturday sixteen bands in all play The Archway under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6. Six bands Saturday and Sunday, where you can also take in the sweeping views of Manhattan.
‘If you hear twangs of mandolin or fiddle wafting across the East River, it’s not carrying up the coast from Nashville — it’s the first Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, taking place on several stages in Dumbo." The New York Times
‘Spiritual Successor: Americana jamboree revives old music and old festival. Just like American tunes grew out of an older tradition, the first-year Americana festival is rooted in a previous one — it is a spiritual successor to the now-defunct Dumbo Arts Festival, for which Jan Bell organized musical performances since the 1990s..’ The Brooklyn Paper, New York Post Sunday Special
Other than The Jalopy Theatre Opening Night Gala - All shows are FREE! The Festival received the 'Dumbo Dozen' Award from the DUMBO Business Improvement District for making a fascinating and impactful contribution to the community.
2016 Line Up includes:
- Queen Esther, who plays the Kennedy Center the night before!
- Luke Winslow King, 'Best Blues Americana' New Orleans based Bloodshot Records Artist set to play Austin City Limits!
- The Chapin Sisters, who have toured the world and recently returned back home to NYC to be featured on NPR's Weekend Edition.
- Hubby Jenkins, an integral part of the Grammy Award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.
- Bobtown - one of WFUV's John Platt's top three discoveries of 2013.
- Annie Keating whose latest album Bob Harris of BBC Radio 2 describes as 'Wonderful'.
- Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards who were recently selected for the second time to tour with the US State Department's American Music Abroad program as artist ambassadors.
- Rench (founder of Gangstagrass) with rave reviews for his solo work in The New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal.
- Casey Neill, internationally touring the world on stages such as New York's Town Hall, and San Francisco's Great American Music Hall.
- Cincinnati band The Tillers who veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw featured on a documentary about US Route 5.
- Brilliant Brooklyn ensemble bands M Shanghai String Band; The Defibulators; Pete Lanctot and The Stray Dogs.
- Jesse Lenat, DUMBO local 'Up and Comer' says Rolling Stone; 'Farm Aid favorite' says Billboard.
- Sasha Dobson who plays regularly with Norah Jones, and just released her solo album 'Aquarius'.
- Hilary Hawke who just debuted on Broadway playing the banjo in the Steve Martin musical 'Bright Star'.
- Alex Battles 'Folk Bad Ass' says Bklyn Based, and host of the Johnny Cash Birthday Bash and the CashHank Jamboree.
- Sixty performances in all!
- Superfine Restaurant Bar host Brooklyn's longest running Bluegrass Brunch, and our Sunday Night After Party. Special guests 'High Plains Jamboree' (Austin, TX), led by Grammy Award winning song writers and Guy Clark favorites Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay. Alaska born fiddler and singer Beth Chrisman sings her originals, too, and has played Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage.
Brooklyn Americana Music is taking over the Archway in Dumbo, for a fun family friendly Festival! South Brooklyn Network
Other than The Jalopy Theatre Opening Night Gala - All shows are FREE! The first annual Brooklyn Americana Music Festival proudly received the 'Dumbo Dozen' Award from the DUMBO Business Improvement District for its innovative and cultural contribution to the community.
Risks and challenges
The Gala at the Jalopy Theatre is the only ticketed event. No other shows have a cover charge. Sixty performances take place in all, over three days and nights.
Paying every artist; every stage crew person, stage manager and sound engineer; sound equipment, stage lighting, posters, program, postcards and other promotional materials.
Legal Permits, Insurance, Film/video, photography, PR campaign, postage, hospitality, office supplies, stage banners and signage; and all the help, time and expertise it takes to lift the festival off the ground for our second year.
"I created this project upon hearing that the dumbo arts festival was calling 2014 its final year. That told me our neighborhood ran the risk of losing our artist community even more than ever. I want to keep the live music aspect going, and have done so with great joy as a labour of love in dumbo since the Summer of '98.
Back then Superfine were located at 'Between the Bridges' a corner bar that stood there for a century, and catered to the iron workers who spent their lives working on the Brooklyn, and the Manhattan Bridges.
I started out running a weekly open mic. and as that out grew the space we put bands on the back of the cook's pick up truck. Singers, fiddlers, banjo's and upright basses played free shows beneath the BQE and we passed the hat for the bands.
As artists and musicians moved into old warehouses,we helped each other build kitchens and bathrooms and carry sheet rock up stairs in buildings with no elevators; we shared bathrooms in the hallway; and we shared food and our art and our music.
The yellow cabs had no idea where Dumbo was, and were seriously reluctant to take you to Red Hook.
I don't know how many thousands of hours I've spent putting on bands in the seventeen years since.....but I do know I will happily be giving all I've got to keep this festival on the map.
Last year $10,000 was raised here on Kickstarter, and we received support and sponsorship from our friends and neighbors, too.
I'm already booking bands for 2017 who could not make it this year.
Every one involved is paid as fairly as possible for their time and expertise. That's a tall order for a free urban music festival. Especially at grass roots level, but to me I'm investing in an event that will hopefully continue to bloom and grow for many years to come.
Most of us find it very hard to make ends meet living in NYC. I book three hundred gigs a year at the festival venues, featuring local, and internationally touring artists. The festival is really a celebration of our community both on stage and off.
Here's a chance to pitch in and keep the live music going, even as one more beloved New York City music venue after another, is forced to close their doors. Two institutions The Rodeo Bar, and The Living Room both joined the list of long lasting great music venues that are with us no more.
I am keeping keeping on, and the band is never expected to 'pay to play' on my watch. You've got to tour to make a living, and artists from near and far have built a network through being part of the live music scene in Dumbo and Red Hook.
I'm so proud of all of us, and could never do this without your support.
Thanks for reading thus far.
And thanks in advance for pitching in!"
x Jan Bell.
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