About this project
Hi there, Festival founder Jan Bell here.
Thanks for watching our first ever 'Highlights' video. As you can see, its a pretty big event right in the heart of Brooklyn with tons of amazing musicians. Every cent goes directly toward producing, presenting and paying the artists. There are lots of ways you can be part of making it all happen whether you are far away, or right here in New York City.
This is a Free Festival taking place in a very expensive city along a swiftly developing waterfront. To keep it free and open to all, it relies entirely on sponsors and community support. Not long ago, Dumbo and Red Hook were considered dark and dangerous especially at night. Now they are two of the most desirable neighborhoods and many of the painters, sculptors and musicians that built an artist stronghold soon found they were priced out. The festival continues a vital cultural experience that helped draw folks to the neighborhood when splendid views were simply not worth the risk of actually living here.
The seeds that were planted down by the riverside eighteen years ago were nurtured on stages at the Dumbo art under the bridge festival/Dumbo Arts Festival (now defunct), and Bklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Sculpture Festival. Many of the struggling musicians who played those early years are now full time touring artists headlining shows at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Centre, The Royal Albert Hall and playing coveted world stages.
Artists at the start of international success often simultaneously found/find themselves having to move out of the neighborhoods they used to call home. Dumbo would not have become so desirable so quickly without the creative pioneers and musicians who built community back when the general consensus was 'There's nothing there.' My main goal is to support and thereby strengthen that network, keep the music going, and continue to connect emerging and established artists on tour and back home in Brooklyn.
I love doing this free all ages urban music celebration in the heart of this incredible melting pot. It takes many hands, and many skill sets and many friends to make it happen. I have seen new friendships flower, artistic collaborations on stage and off that were sparked by the festival, and folks from all walks of life have a whole lot of fun.
The festival strives to serve old school locals, newcomers, visitors, small business, and children of all ages. Grass roots at its heart, and in its history the festival is devoted to being free and open to all.
Thank you so much. Every bit helps!
Risks and challenges
The Opening Night Gala is the single ticketed event. Please see 'Rewards' (to the right) to get on the Guest List. A realistic budget would need to bring in 50k to do this fair and well, still relying on 'friend rate' favors, and folks kindly volunteering precious time. It would have been wise to launch this campaign in the Spring with a much higher goal. But as most of you know, I've been pretty busy and now the clock is really ticking.
The operating costs, artist fees, stage crew, sound engineers, stage managers, posters and promotional expenses, publicity, official permits, insurance, are all seriously dependent on contributions from you.
The Festival is made possible in part by generous sponsors and the office of Councilman Stephen Levin. And as of this year the festival is a fiscally sponsored project of Brooklyn Arts Council, which is a great honor and will be of vital help when applying for grants and funding for 2018. There are several deadlines right before the Festival so I'm hoping this campaign can gain some steam with your help spreading the word.
Have you heard that beautiful Gillian Welch song where she sings 'Gonna do it anyway, even if it doesn't pay'. Heck, well I wish but its not gonna happen without the funds.
Thanks ever so much for taking an interest and for your generosity.
x Jan Bell
In the 2016 Highlights video the opening song on the sound track is Will Scott's 'Just to Ferry Me Over'. Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards on stage at Jalopy with the Chapin Sisters, and Beth Bombara doing 'Heel to Toe'. Dylan Charles and the Layton Sisters at the end singing their song 'Valentine', and Annie Keating sings her song 'Lucky' over the credits. The photograph at the top od the video is of Dumbo band The Avalanches playing the Liberty View Lawn Stage on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2016.
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