Introducing Downtown Brooklyn Nights
Summer is the season to throw on shades and sunscreen and head outdoors to enjoy live music. In New York City, summer music festivals are particularly abundant: there’s Governor’s Ball and Electric Zoo, on Randall’s Island; Summerstage at Central Park and Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park; MetLife Park hosts the hip-hop themed Summer Jam, Commodore Barry Park is where Afropunk goes down every summer, and Northside Festival spreads across north Brooklyn for ten days each June.
Now Downtown Brooklyn is getting its own summer series, Downtown Brooklyn Nights, featuring live music, film, and dance. July will kick things off with free live music at Willoughby Plaza every Wednesday night from the 8th to 29th. Each show will highlight a different genre, and all are free to attend. Do you typically listen to funk and soul but have some curiosity about indie rock? Are you a hip-hop head with a passion for electronic pop? Then Downtown Brooklyn Nights will have something for you.
July’s free music line-up is curated by Paper Garden Records, a boutique label based in Downtown Brooklyn “run by two lovers, two cats, and their friends,” as their website puts it. The label recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary—a decade rife with upheaval in the music industry, presenting challenges that Paper Garden for which has always sought creative solutions. Says co-owner Heidi Greenwood: “We try to give our artists opportunities for shows and unique events in order to make sure that third parties”—like streaming services and social networks—“aren’t always being relied upon, and the artists is seeing the rewards.”
To that end, Paper Garden has organized several serial pop-up events: in addition to Downtown Brooklyn Nights, there is a series in Chelsea, and one-off shows at the South Street Seaport.
“The main appeal is broadening the audience for our artists,” Greenwood says. “Instead of having artists play to built-in crowds at venues, we see a benefit in having artists play in non-traditional spaces with their own built-in crowds. It’s a great way to diversify and find new fans.”
For Greenwood and her partner, founder Bryan Vaughan—the two lovers behind the label—Downtown Brooklyn Nights is particularly close to home. “We moved to Downtown Brooklyn around a year ago and fell in love with the area,” she says. “We could see the potential in creating a scene in the area and bringing entertainment to the local community and businesses. We’re really looking forward to showing the community some of our favorite artists.
Downtown Brooklyn Nights begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8th, with an electronic-themed show featuring Salt Cathedral and Stranger Cat. Click here for the full music schedule, and stay tuned for more nighttime events in August and September.