This year’s Summit Music Festival is on track to rock your socks off.
Five acts new to the annual free event – The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Garrin Benfield, And The Kids, Torn Shorts and Brother Henry – will join the returning Extraordinary Rendition Band from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, in Lippitt Park at the intersection of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard.
The music starts just after the weekly farmers market closes. There will also be a beer and wine garden for adults, numerous activities for children, craft vendors and information booths plus food trucks galore. This year will also feature a raw bar presented by Matunuck Oyster Bar.
Also new this year is the focus of the event, which is to raise awareness – and money – for the Fresh for All Fund, a program to support local farmers and increase access to healthy, fresh foods for under-served communities. Miriam Hospital is partnering with the Summit Neighborhood Association in promoting this effort, which is part of a nationwide initiative to foster cost-saving, socially beneficial innovations in public health and fresh food access. The fund helps low-income Rhode Islanders afford to choose high-quality fresh foods through a variety of incentives and helps empower residents both to eat well and to grow food for those in need by nurturing a culture of fresh food.
Besides Miriam, the other sponsors of the festival are: City of Providence; Summit Neighborhood Association; Cameron & Mittleman; Empire Guitar and Empire Charitable Foundation; Seven Stars: Mortgage Network; Stock Culinary; City Kitty; Rhode Guide Real Estate Professionals; Kreatelier: Hope Street Farmers Market: Frog & Toad: Motif Magazine: Sandwich Hut; and Chex Finer Foods.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a New Orleans jazz group that has revolutionized the traditional jazz style by incorporating funk and bebop, is to be the headliner.
A youth music program in New Orleans in the 1970’s was the origin of the ensemble, with the goal of providing young people with a positive outlet for their energies. The band achieved considerable local popularity and transformed itself into a professional outfit known as the Hurricane Brass Band. As it developed a repertoire, the musicians freely incorporated bebop tunes and jazz standards, as well as lighthearted pieces such as The Flintstones theme song.
The band then called itself the Original Sixth Ward Dirty Dozen, to show their strong connection to the Tremé neighborhood and the local social club scene, as represented by the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club.
In 1980, the group made its first recording as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and its fame spread. Newport jazz promoter George Wein booked them on a European tour in 1984, they played with Dizzy Gillespie and Branford Marsalis and continued to make albums. They appear on the 2005 benefit album A Celebration of New Orleans Music to Benefit MusiCares Hurricane Relief 2005, with the song “Mardi Gras In New Orleans”.
The Dirty Dozen’s uniqueness is widely credited with sparking a resurgence of New Orleans’ brass band music, both in the city and nationwide.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Garrin Benfield, who splits his time between Brooklyn and San Francisco when he’s not touring, has played countless gigs ranging from small coffeehouses to large outdoor festivals over the past decade (including several stints touring in support of Boz Scaggs). For the past few years he has perfected the art of building his own backup band on the spot, using electronic effects and a loop station, while performing solo.
Benfield’s shows center on his quirky pop melodies but are stretched into improvisational explorations into new territory. Familiar songs are often twisted and contorted into gorgeous new creations. At once organic and eclectic, the shows are an experience as much as they are a musical concert.
And The Kids is a trio from Northampton, Mass., that formed after guitarist Hannah Mohan and drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro met Megan Miller in 2012, when all three were summer interns at the nearby Institute for the Musical Arts, which hosts rock camps for girls and women interested in music and the music business.
The group has honed its music into a high-energy blend of bold guitars, rock-solid rhythm and vibrant, layered vocals.
The Providence-based Torn Shorts Duo, consisting of Josh Grabert and Chris Ardoin, grew from a solo project in 2010 to a quartet, then to a duo. The group, which won the 2013 WBRU Rock Hunt, has since found a unique way of blending indie, blues, folk and rock n’ roll into a genuine sound all their own.
Brother Henry was formed at You Rock! School of Music in 2014 and consists of Dylan and Ethan Itkin, of Providence, with Henry Lee and Jackson L’Heureux, of Cranston. They are all 13 years old and have written two original songs with an indie-rock sound. They also cover alternative and rock songs by Arcade Fire, Beck, Nirvana and others.
The Extraordinary Rendition Band is a street group of brass, reeds and percussion from Providence that plays in support of select causes and events in an attempt to draw community attention to them. They have been a frequent contributor to Summit events, such as the Music Festival and street fairs.
According to their mission statement, they are part of a rich and diverse history of styles, influences, cultures and purposes of brass, drum, marching and roving bands. They say they hope to play songs that celebrate those histories, while having a great time playing together and with their audiences.
For more information, go to www.summitmusicfest.org