SummerStage & the Lowdown Hudson Music Fest

CityParks’ SummerStage is the be all and end all of free summer event lineups. Oh, do you scoff? Do you say, “Pishaw! If it’s free how good could it really be?” Well let’s go back to SummerStage 2016 so I can prove my case.

As a kid I wasn’t sheltered, but you’d think I was from how little I went out. I was just a baby Broke-ass with zero social skills. I grew up in the Bronx and missed the rise of Hip Hop, Punk in dives like CBGB, Disco at the mega dance clubs that didn’t card or where a decent fake ID was ridiculously easy to get. I missed everything good about NYC in the 80s.

So when I see that Public Enemy is going to be playing at Betsy Head Park in the middle of Brownsville FOR FREE, I figure here’s my only chance to experience them like I should have back in the day. I got there 2 hours early to insure I got right in front. Unnecessary but hell, I wasn’t taking a chance or capturing a dream of my childhood.
It was the best concert I’ve been to in my entire life. I had a better view of the performance than I ever would have in Public Enemy’s heyday. I left sweaty and dusty and happier than I’ve been in 4 decades.

Since that went so well, I decided to catch the free showing of “A Ballerina’s Tale” directed by Nelson George in Central Park. While chatting in line, people asked if Misty Copeland was going to make an appearance. Staff couldn’t confirm or deny. I’m thinking that would be swell and all, but having Nelson George seemed like an awful lot already. Well, after Mr. George intros his film he introduces Misty Copeland. We were all the woman on the left.

Misty Copeland and George Nelson - A Ballerina's Tale Screening
Misty Copeland and Nelson George – A Ballerina’s Tale Screening – SummerStage 2016

Click here for the Full SummerStage Event ListThere are events up until September, with the vast majority of them being 100% free.
This year’s line up is like someone dug thru a crate of Old School Hip Hop vinyl and decided to get them all to perform. It’s like the Summer of 1986 all over again! I plan on catching George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic w/ DJ Marley Marl hosted by Roxanne ShanteKRS-One / DJ Chuck Chillout, Slick Rick, TKA (Freestyle FOREVER!), and last but not least… Rock Steady Crew 40th Anniversary featuring MC Lyte! Holy crap this is going to be an awesome summer.

The Roots @ the Lowdown Hudson Music Fest
The Roots @ the Lowdown Hudson Music Fest

Lowdown Hudson Music Fest down in Brookfield Place in TriBeCa isn’t nearly  as expansive as SummerStage stage, but it’s more current than nostalgic. Last year I got to see The Roots. I missed The Roots Picnic and was pretty bummed that I didn’t win tickets. This made up for it in a big way.

This year’s Fest is on July 18th & 19th. Common plays on Tuesday and OK GO on Wednesday. I think I’m going to catch that OK GO show! It should be lots of fun.

I have to get my calendar organized. This is going to be one busy summer!


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