The Brooklyn Americana Music Festival (AMF) will take place September 21-24.
The first festival was in 2015. It has grown every year and this year will have 60 bands on seven different stages in Red Hook and DUMBO.
Jan Bell, founder of the fest, produced her first live music event in DUMBO on a pickup truck stage outside the Between the Bridges iron-worker bar in the summer of 1999.
All of the bands performing fall under the category of Americana, which is a mixture of folk, country, blues and jazz. It is a little bit of everything.
Bell feels like this festival helps to keep this kind of music from fading away.
“Just because it is an old folk song it doesn’t have to be a museum piece,” said Bell.
The Brooklyn American Music Festival has a real connection to Red Hook because three of the seven locations, including the Opening Night Gala, will
be in Red Hook—Jalopy Theatre (315 Columbia Street), Sunny’s (253 Conover Street) and Bait & Tackle (320 Van Brunt Street).
Bell sees an incredible music scene and community in Brooklyn. Many of the bands that played at the Taste of Brooklyn Americana Music Festival in June and that will play at the main one in September
are bands that she books year round that often perform in Red Hook and DUMBO.
However, this year she deliberately scheduled bands to come from out of the region to perform at the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival. She is bringing in bands from outside of New York.
“At the festival this year I am bringing in bands from the Midwest,” Bell said. “I think it is really important that those of us here in Brooklyn have conversations with people from Trump country.”
Bands from places such as St. Louis, New Orleans, Lawrence, Kansas and Ohio will perform.
“I think one of the powers of the music community is to have the conversation,” Bell said. “I hope this helps us all get a conversation going or keep the conversation going because we can be a little like-minded here in our world sometimes.”
She would like the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival to be her full-time job in the future and is working towards that.
“This year I applied to the Brooklyn Arts Council for their additional sponsorship program and was lucky to be accepted,” Bell said. “They are going to help me apply to foundations for grants.”
The Opening Night Gala will be at Jalopy on Thursday, September 21. Bands slated to perform are Annie Keating, The Aching Hearts, Tim Grimm, Family Band, Truckstop Honeymoon, Everything
Turned to Color.
Three different bands will be performing at Sunny’s Bar during the festival. On Friday, September 22, Session Americana will perform at 10 p.m. On Saturday, September 23, there will be a Bluegrass and Country Jam at 9:00 p.m. On Sunday, September 24, Tyrone Cotton will perform at 8:00 p.m.
The third Red Hook location where the BK AMF will take place is Bait and Tackle. On Saturday, The Avalanches will take the stage at 10 p.m at Bait and Tackle.
On Friday, at the archway under the Manhattan Bridge, Aron Blue will perform at 5:00 p.m., Truckstop Honeymoon will take the stage at 6:00 p.m., Session Americana at 7:00 p.m., The Maybelles (Bell’s band) will begin at 8:00 p.m. and the Four O’clock Flowers will take the stage at 9:00 p.m.
The music festival will continue at the archway under the Manhattan Bridge on Saturday. The Ukuladies will begin at 2:00 p.m., Bobtown will begin at 3:00 p.m., Abby Hollander will begin at 4:00 p.m., The Dang-It Bobby’s will begin at 5:00 p.m., Queen Esther will take the stage at 6:00 p.m., Jesse Lenat at 7:00 p.m., Megan Palmer at 8:00 p.m. and Rench will be the finale at the archway at 9:00 p.m.