Though there are surely countless parties and events to attend in New York all the time, it isn’t every day that one of the most carefully curated music festivals comes to town. Thankfully, this weekend is special.
The Downtown Festival was founded in 2011 as a way to celebrate five years in business for the record label of the same name, and since then it has grown into something else entirely. While taking over some of NYC’s biggest venues for a weekend is no small feat, it apparently wasn’t enough for Downtown, as they’ve decided to take the party to Cleveland, Minneapolis, L.A., and Houston.
If you’re looking for something to do in the city this weekend–or you’re perhaps in the market for a favorite new singer or band–here are our choices for what you need to see for each day of this week’s NYC Downtown Festival, for which you can still get tickets here.
October 2nd, Irving Plaza: Jungle
Three piece neo-funk troupe Jungle are new to the scene, having only released their debut album this past summer, but already they are making quite a splash. Alongside artists like Aloe Blacc, they are reinventing the soul of the 70’s for a new generation, showing that there’s something about soulful, low-key dance music that’s irresistible, no matter the year.
Their self titled album performed well across the pond (the group is from London), but they are still waiting for their big American moment. The band is also currently nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize, a recognition that aligns them with some of the best underground music out there. If you’ve never heard of Jungle–which is likely if you live in New York–they’re worth the listen.
October 3rd, Webster Hall: Kiesza
This year, Kiesza became one of the world’s biggest new talents, with her debut single “Hideaway” becoming a breakout hit across the globe. Her follow up, “Giant In My Heart” was also well received, and since then she’s worked with Diplo and Skrillex ahead of the release of her first album Sound Of A Woman. While the rest of the world knows her name very well, the US is just waking up to this new star.
About playing New York again, the headliner said:
“My last show in New York, which was my first headlining show, was so full of energy and support. I went through the ups and downs in New York, and I got to the point of giving up. To be able to come back to New York and have people supporting my music…there’s just something really special about it.”
October 4th, Webster Hall: Vacationer
Vacationer may be based on the east coast of the US, but their minds are somewhere else, somewhere tropical. The band is taking after St. Lucia in style, looking to the islands for inspiration both in sound and when it comes to their carefree, laid back mindset.
The group is surprisingly the side project of Kenny Vasoli, the lead singer of beloved pop punk group The Starting Line, though the two bands couldn’t sound less like each other. If you’re a fan (or if you remember) TSL, give Vacationer a try. Sure, it’s a completely different style of music, but the quality songwriting and the effortless hooks are still there.