Manhattan and its five boroughs from concert halls to parks to the 12,00 miles of NYC sidewalk will be full of music Monday, June 21 as part of the annual Make Music New York festival. Now in its fourth year, it is without question the largest and most varied music festival in the city with over 1000 performers and a slew of widely diverse performance partners and venues including Carnegie Hall, The Knitting Factory and River to River.
Founded by Aaron Friedman, Make Music New York was inspired by France's "Fête de la Musique," a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982. Borders have been broken down each year as the festival grows-the New York one doubling in size since it launched-and expands across the world with the current tally of participants numbering at 327 cities in 111 countries, including Germany, Italy, Egypt, Australia, Vietnam, Congo, Fiji, Colombia, Nepal, and Japan all taking part in similar events simultaneously, creating a harmony of collective, global song.
And since music is the universal language, the New York festival works at a hyper-local level bringing together members of the community and allowing them to interact through a common appreciation.
"It's about people sharing any kind of music they make with their neighborhood. You're able to go outside and play with your neighbors," says Friedman. "We have some areas that have 100s of concerts at the same time on the same day. People can wander and get a sampling of their area and different types of music."
For new musicians, the festival gives them a chance to gain exposure and reach a different audience. For audiences, the reward is much the same, allowing them to sample a number of genres and performers at all corners of the city for zero cost.
Musicians are encouraged to participate and can join in Mass Appeal, which congregates in certain areas according to instrument to play specific pieces.
"Absolutely anyone can perform-whether they're weird or brilliant, amateur or professional. It's anyone," says Friedman.
Events start at 11 am and go till 10 pm for a fully packed, eleven hour schedule of music. Every genre, age, and creed is represented ensuring there is something for any music fan. "Punk Island" on Governors Island offers up punk, classical lovers can view Greek composer Iannis Xenakisin Central Park and Jazz lovers can enjoy the parade in Harlem led by the Jazzmobile and directed by trombonist Kiane Zawadi. It doesn't matter if you like hip hop, rock or Opera -- there's something for everyone.
By Mara Siegler