Festival season is in full bloom this summer! After a year of canceled, postponed and virtual events, it’s going to be a relief to get outside and experience all of the culture, attractions, food and events that the various Brooklyn summer festivals have to offer. There’s one festival among the many that has a special place in the neighborhood’s heart: the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival.
First held in 1979, the Brooklyn Information and Culture’s (BRIC) long-running outdoor festival laid the foundation for the community’s thriving arts and culture scene. In its 42 year history, this wildly successful and influential festival has presented more that 2,000 popular and emerging artists, musicians and performers from around the globe. Over the years, audiences have enjoyed performances from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Blue Man Group, Bob Dylan, They Might Be Giants, Richard Thompson, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Neville Brothers, The National, Hugh Masakala, Joan Armatrading, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Norah Jones to name a few.
This summer’s Celebrate Brooklyn! fest kicks off on Saturday, July 31 with a special opening night performance from rising neo-soul sensation Ari Lennox. The fest continues every weekend in August and most of September with an array of special events that run the gamut from film screenings to dance recitals to family entertainment to comedy to DJ sets. Multiple live music performances spotlight celebrated artists such as Son Little, Skip Marley (grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley), Buffy Sainte-Marie and others. The festival concludes on Saturday, September 18 with a special performance from renowned jazz/rock/pop/hip-hop musician Trombone Shorter.
All Celebrate Brooklyn! events are held at the Prospect Park Bandshell and like all previous years, this festival is free for everyone. However, in accordance with CDC guidelines, there will be reduced capacity at the bandshell and social distancing and other public health and safety protocols will be in effect. So be sure to get to the show early to get your spot and check the fest’s FAQ page frequently for the latest information about attendance and public health measures as these guidelines continue to be in a state of flux.
363 Bond Street apartments are located a little over a mile-and-a-half away from the Prospect Park Bandshell, so it’s easy for residents to walk, bike or take public transit to all of the festival’s many free events. If you’re ready to get outside and enjoy some sensational seasonal festivities, then you’ll want to join your neighbors at Celebrate Brooklyn!