As Brooklyn's cachet as a center of musical culture has grown, the reputation of Celebrate Brooklyn! has risen in turn. After debuting in 1979 during darker days for New York City, in an effort to draw visitors back into Prospect Park, the festival both boosted and benefited from the renaissance of Brooklyn.
Although Brooklyn is only one of the five boroughs that make up New York, its population of 2.6 million means it would rank as the fourth-largest city in the U.S., were it independent. The borough boasts a rich ethnic mix and a tradition of home-grown musicians, the two factors that give Celebrate Brooklyn its distinctive place on the U.S. festival circuit.
Jack Walsh and Rachel Chanoff, executive producer and artistic director, respectively, of the festival, have helped guide Celebrate Brooklyn! for more than 30 years. They program a fittingly diverse lineup of musical genres and performing arts; such as author, filmmaker, journalist, and Brooklyn native (and former R&B editor of Billboard) Nelson George's “Vote, It Ain’t Illegal Yet,” a work of film, music, and spoken word commissioned by BRIC, the festival's parent organization, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
Celebrate Brooklyn! Lineup:
Janelle Monáe (June 4)
Soul Rebels (June 7)
A celebration of the music of Ornette Coleman (June 12)
Ozomatli (June 14)
Amos Lee (June 20)
the Dum Dum Girls (June 21)
War Paint (June 26)
Shovel & Rope (June 27)
Luciano (June 28)
The Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Talib Kweli (July 5)
Illya Kuryaki and the Valderamas (July 10)
The Alloy Orchestra (July 12)
Shen Wei Dance (July 17)
Bebel Gilberto and Vinicius Cantuaria (July 18)
Deltron 3030 (July 19)
Nickel Creek (July 24)
Screening of the 2002 film Amandia: A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony, featuring Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela (July 25)
Dance Theater of Harlem (July 31)
Jimmy Bosch and Su Estrellas (Aug. 1)
Kes The Band (Aug. 2)
Altan (Aug. 7)
the Asian Dub Foundation (Aug. 8)
St. Vincent (Aug. 9)
The ticketed benefit concerts to benefit the festival will be staged with Jack Johnson on June 10, the National on June 18 and 19, Neutral Milk Hotel on July 22 and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on July 26.