All the joy and fun of a New Orleans second line march will come to the streets of Manhattan in June.
A brass band, led by trombonist Mariel Bildsten, will march east from the Hudson River on Sunday, June 10, celebrating the Big Easy’s tricentennial and kicking off the first-ever New York Brass Festival.
While there have been festivals featuring brass bands like the Balkan fest in Brooklyn, there hasn’t been a dedicated event featuring only brass bands, according to Michael Katsobashvili, the festival’s founder and curator.
“People talked about doing one but no one did,” he told amNewYork. “I got tired of complaining.”
After the brass parade snakes through the city from Pier 64 at West 24th Street to The McKittrick Hotel on West 27th Street (the home of “Sleep No More”) around 2 p.m., the festival will begin in earnest for 10 hours straight, ending at midnight.
The bands and performers — Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, Hungry March Band, Drumadics Beat-n-Brass Band, Sugartone Brass Band, Louis Armstrong Eternity Band, Gato Loco/Enchanted Messa, Mariel Bilsten and Matt Moran — will take over two stages at the McKittrick Hotel without stopping, eventually taking over the rooftop garden, Gallow Green, for food, cocktails and more brassy entertainment.
The marathon is bringing bands with sounds from across the world, including Mexico, Peru, India, the Balkans and the Middle East together for the first time, Katsobashvili said.
Each band will represent a different brass sound, including those from New York City.
“New York City brass absorbs sounds from different cultures, and all these fusions are created,” Katsobashvili said.
New York’s Slavic Soul Party, for instance, fuses Balkan funk, soul and jazz, while Harlem Heavenly Notes, is a “gospel choir of trombones” that comes from the neighborhood’s United House of Prayer for All People, bringing another take on brass to the festival, according to Katsobashvili.
“It is a rare experience to see Harlem Heavenly Notes outside of the church,” he added. “The first time I walked into the church and heard them, I wept. It is truly a rapturous experience.”
Katsobashvili, who isn't a musician and jokes that he’d only play a brass instrument for his enemies, said the festival also is about building a community of artists.
“It’s always the artist — they come first,” he said. “This for them and furthering the music. It’s a community gathering.”