It’s been said that you can’t trust anyone over 30, but “Celebrate Brooklyn,” the Park Slope summer music festival that reaches that milestone this year, still has impeccable taste.
“When you look at the lineup, you’ll realize that we have put an enormous effort into making sure the 30th season is one that has tremendous quality and variety of performers,” said Jack Walsh, the festival’s director. “There are 80 artists from 18 countries; the mix is pretty amazing.”
“Walk on By” singer (and the voice of since-killed-off Chef on “South Park”) Isaac Hayes will kick off the summer-long series on June 12 with a free concert, followed by a $300-per-ticket gala to benefit the series. Running through Aug. 9, “Celebrate Brooklyn” will feature live music, dance, theater and films projected on what Walsh called the largest outdoor screen in New York City.
These aren’t plain old concerts in the park, however; on Friday, July 18, San Francisco-based indie-noise band Deerhoof will collaborate with the Metropolis Ensemble on a reworking of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”
“It’s a really interesting pairing,” said Walsh, “and audiences will be exposed to one of the most famous pieces of classical music redone in a very contemporary way and followed by one of the most interesting rock bands out there.”
Of course, a performing arts series as monumental as Celebrate Brooklyn can’t offer all of those nights of free entertainment without a little help from their friends. Big-name bands like Spoon and Feist are playing benefit concerts — the only events, besides the gala, that aren’t free — and bringing their nightclub-packing sounds to the band shell in Prospect Park. Canadian indie songstress Feist, whose song “1234” topped the U.S. charts last year, will perform on July 9 and Texas-based indie rock darlings Spoon, whose 2007 record “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” landed the band on late night shows and soundtracks all year long, will perform on July 15. Tickets are already on sale for these shows.
Whether it’s a rock concert or a performance by a classical trio, an evening at Celebrate Brooklyn is as much a part of summer as iced coffee or a backyard barbecue, and that’s the biggest attraction there is.
“I’m a Park Slope resident and [always see] friends and neighbors there,” said Walsh. “No matter where you’re from, you do get a sense of community.”
BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn presents Celebrate Brooklyn from June 12 through Aug. 9 at the Prospect Park bandshell (Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope). Most events are free. For information, a full schedule or gala tickets, call (718) 855-7882 or visit www.celebratebrooklyn.org. For Spoon tickets ($32.50) and Feist tickets ($35), visit www.ticketmaster.com.