Get ready to jam-out and hit the dance floor in Bushwick, as a local nonprofit is hosting the inaugural “U Street Music Fest” on April 22 — bringing live music, street art, local grub, and tons of culture to the vibrant neighborhood.
Urbano Street is putting on the event, which will overtake Suydam Street between Irving Avenue and Knickerbocker Avenue for most of the day, and attendees can expect to get a blast from the neighborhood’s past, as the festival will highlight the most extraordinary culture that Bushwick has to offer, while bringing together neighbors around a day of fun, said one of the event’s organizers.
“It is a neighborhood that is quickly gentrifying. There is a lot of tension among residents and families that have been living here for many years,” said Diana Hernandez. “This is an opportunity for us to unify — that’s why our focus is multicultural and not just artists of color. We want to make sure that we invite the people moving in and get the people that already live in the neighborhood involved as well.”
The nonprofit is aiming to showcase underrepresented local artists of all cultures, who Urbano Street believe to enrich Bushwick’s diverse character.
Organized in collaboration with nonprofit leaders, creatives, musicians and promoters, the event will feature two stages: one for bands and one for record selectors.
By featuring Bushwick artists that stray from mainstream commercial music, Urbano Street plans to utilize their independent platform to give underfunded local talent an opportunity to receive recognition.
“We want to support artists who want to keep their concept. In order for us to support people that want to express themselves and do what they want to do, we realized that as a media company we didn’t want to sell ourselves out to advertisers and change our concept,” said Hernandez.
The upcoming free festival was funded through a series of benefit shows hosted by Urbano Street – featuring ska/reggae, punk, latin fusion, cumbia and rock’n’roll music. The nonprofit also received financial support through a grant provided by the Brooklyn Arts Council, along with various other sponsorships and donations.
“It’s very exciting to see the support from more structured organizations in the city. This is definitely the beginning of a unique collaboration that has never happened and it’s exciting that Urbano Street is able to provide that for the community,” said Hernandez.
Running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the event will honor Bushwick’s long-standing record of street culture and urban art by bringing new faces to the stage.
“We realized over the pandemic that there is a new generation – a new generation of leaders, musicians, even fans. We wanted to create that space to foster collaboration,” said Hernandez. “At the end of the day, it’s about creating awareness, collaboration and unity.”