Brooklyn Boro

Lineup announced for 38th annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

May 10, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This year’s BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival will run from June 8 to Aug. 13. Photo by David Andrako

Festival to Run June 8 – Aug. 13 at Prospect Park Bandshell

BRIC has announced the lineup for its 38th annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, which returns this year under a new name and will comprise 30 performances, from June 8 to Aug. 13. The programming will feature a wide array of free, world-class performances in the singular environs of the Prospect Park Bandshell.

When it began in 1979 as a catalyst for a burgeoning Brooklyn performing arts scene, and as a way to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, the festival was an early anchor in Brooklyn’s renaissance. It has since become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions. Winner of the Village Voice readers’ poll and critics’ picks for “Best Free Concert Series,” the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival.

Over its 37-year history, the festival has presented more than 2,000 artists, drawing a diverse audience upwards of 200,000 each season.  

Beginning June 8 with a free concert by Brooklyn soul legends Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, the 2016 lineup exemplifies the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival signature mix of music, film, dance and multimedia works, complemented by food and other provisions from local artisans and vendors. Of the 32 total performances being presented this season, 25 are free (with a $5 suggested contribution at the gate): 19 music concerts, three Music & Movies performance events, in which live music accompanies films projected on NYC’s largest (50-foot-wide by 21-foot-high) outdoor screen, two dance performances and one mixed-media world premiere featuring virtual reality visuals accompanied by live music.

The remaining seven shows are BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! benefit concerts, which offer opportunities to see great artists in an extraordinary outdoor setting while supporting the festival’s free performances.

A highlight of the season will be the world premiere of The Hubble Cantata, composed by Paola Prestini, conducted by Julian Wacher and featuring performances by Nathan Gunn, Jessica Rivera, the Norwegian orchestra 1B1 and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. This work combines music, electronics, filmed sequences with rarely seen photographs and footage from the Hubble telescope and sung poetic movements to transport the audience to the far reaches of the cosmos. The finale will feature a unique immersive virtual reality experience for the entire audience.

The full season lineup consists of artists from Brooklyn and around the world — across the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Europe. They include Baaba Maal / Lakou Mizik (June 16), Alvvays / Ducktails / Big Thief (June 23), ¡Cubanismo! / Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (June 24), Red Baraat’s Brooklyn Mela / Sunny Jain / DJ Rekha / Heems / Bhi Bhiman and more (July 7), Rachid Taha / Krar Collective (July 15), The Wood Brothers / Aoife O’Donovan / Hiss Golden Messenger (July 16), a double bill featuring Femi Kuti and Bombino (July 22), Angelique Kidjo’s Celia Cruz Tribute (July 29), Digable Planets / Camp Lo (July 30) and Morgan Heritage / British Dependency (Aug. 5).

Returning for the 15th consecutive year is Series Title Sponsor Bud Light, which presents the Bud Light Music Series including Violent Femmes / Kristin Hersch (June 18), Carla Morrison / Hurray For The Riff Raff / Buscabulla (July 9), Dr. Dog (Aug. 12) and Andra Day / Son Little (Aug. 13).

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival also welcomes back Series Title Sponsor American Express, which will present the American Express Series including Josh Ritter / Martha Redbone / Birds of Chicago (July 8), Jon Batiste and Stay Human & Friends (July 23) and Gregory Porter / Marcus Strickland and Twi-Life (July 28).

Dan Zanes’ Leadbelly Project will headline this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert on June 11, performing the music of the blues icon. Dance performances this year include Philadanco (June 25), as well as Camille A. Brown & Dancers performing an evening-length piece “Black Girl: Linguistic Play,” with an opening set by Brandee Younger (July 21).

Music & Movies series events include a special Bastille Day screening of “Triplets of Bellville” with live score composer Benoît Charest and his nine-piece Orchestre Terrible de Belleville (July 14); the U.S. premiere of “Run Lola Run” with a live score by The Bays (August 4); and a screening of “Labyrinth,” starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connolly, with an opening set by the Donny McCaslin Group, which backed Bowie on his final album Blackstar (Aug. 10).

This summer’s benefit concerts provide support for the free performances and include two nights with Tame Impala (June 14-15), Ray LaMontagne (June 22), supergroup Case/Lang/Veirs (July 26), Beirut (Aug. 2), The Lumineers (Aug. 3) and Herbie Hancock (Aug. 11).