Though Brooklyn’s concert venues have been struggling in recent years, a new program by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is music to their ears.
Music at the Bridge is a free summer concert series with a twist. Each week, a different Brooklyn venue will showcase three hours of hand-picked music from the best bands in their genre.
“Brooklyn is really the epicenter of music in the world and we have some venues that do really exciting things,” said Kellie Rogers, the program’s coordinator. “Wouldn’t it be great if they could expose the music they curate at their venues and bring it to a bigger audience?”
And the audience will most certainly be bigger – more than ten times their usual crowd, in fact.
One of the participating venues is Jalopy (315 Columbia St. in Red Hook), the 65-seat authority on international roots music. But their temporary space at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park has room enough for 800.
“Working with the bands and doing promotion and everything is something we’re used to but this is a little more extensive,” said Lynette Wiley, Jalopy co-owner and band bookie.
“But this was an opportunity to make a line-up that really reflects the style and feel of Jalopy. I’m really thrilled and honored that they asked us to participate,” she said.
On July 23, Jalopy will present their top picks in an eclectic selection of old blues, African roots and modern bluegrass. Performers include the Wiyos, Rob Reddy’s Tenfold, The Otis Brothers and Al Duvall.
And if bringing their music wasn’t enough, the Jalopy team will also recreate the distinct look and feel of their venue thanks to co-owner, husband and former set builder Geoff Wiley.
To kick off the free Music at the Bridge, Park Slope’s own Barbes (376 9th St.) will host the July 9 performance. The line-up is Las Rubias Del Norte, The Parker String Quartet and The Mandingo Ambassadors.
The following week will be curated by Zebulon (258 Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg) on July 16. Stuart Bogie/ Superhuman Happiness, Charles Gayle Trio, Sharon Van Etten and Colin Stetson will perform.
After Jalopy curates the night of July 23, the ISSUE Project Room (400 Carroll St. in Gowanus) will do the following week’s July 30 show. The evening’s featured acts will be John Zorn’s COBRA, the Theremin Society and Jonathan Kane’s FEBRUARY.
Representing the indie scene and bringing the Music at the Bridge to a close will be Union Hall (702 Union St. in Park Slope) on August 6. Acts include French Kicks, Headlights, Tiny Masters of Today, Secret Science Club and Dave Hill.
“Every venue said yes as soon as we asked them,” said Rogers. “They were very excited to bring their music outside in the summertime under the Brooklyn Bridge.”
“The line-ups clearly reflect the personalities of the venues really well and it’s a great sample of what goes on at these individual places.”
Though the programming will only be for a short five weeks, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is confident this is only the first in an annual series.
“Most people know us from the Movies with a View series at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Nancy Webster the Conservancy’s deputy director. “We thought this would be a great way to compliment the outdoor movies and, at the same time, highlight the importance of partnering with cultural entities to show the great things happening in Brooklyn.”
All concerts are free but capacity is limited. The Tobacco Warehouse gates open at 6 p.m. For more info, visit brooklynbridgepark.org.