2018 Summer Festival
Our 10th annual Summer Festival. We've got back-to-back (to-back-to-back) performances from six bands and ten dance groups, followed by a slew of short films. Our summer exhibition, Change of State, will be open all day, as will the Art Nest, our free artmaking space for kids. And it's all 100% free, like it's always been.
Detailed schedule of events to come! But it's best to plan on arriving around noon and sticking around all day — we've got sixteen performances and films, and you won't want to miss any of 'em.
4:00 PM Chuño
5:00 PM Miles Francis
6:00 PM Square Peg Round Hole
7:00 PM Sam O.B.
8:00 PM Innov Gnawa
9:00 PM Los Hacheros
10:00 PM Underground System
Underground System is a quintessential New York City band. A convergence of musical and cultural influences, this unstoppable female-fronted group of neo-afrobeat deconstructionists has cultivated a sound as inimitable as its members. The band has built a national reputation around a seamlessly executed stage show, astonishing wherever they go, and compelling crowds to move with unbridled verve. Their debut LP, What Are You, releases in September.
Los Hacheros, Brooklyn’s modern-day torchbearers of the Golden Age of Latin music, revive folkloric styles like son montuno, guaracha, and salsa, and often combine them with Bomba, a fiery rhythm from the mountains of Puerto Rico.
Innov Gnawa is a Grammy-nominated musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco’s venerable Gnawa music tradition in the heart of New York City.
For the uninitiated, Gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from northern Mali and Mauritania. Often called “the Moroccan blues," Gnawa music is played on an array of unique instruments — from the lute-like sintir that the maâlem uses to call the tune, to the metal qarqaba (castanets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keep time and pound out clattering, hypnotic rhythms. Innov Gnawa make great use of this traditional repertoire, but add their own, contemporary spin with additional African and Latin percussion.
Sam O.B. (fka Obey City) has a unique energy. This soft-spoken New York native is at once a producer, deejay, label boss, tastemaker, and champion of the New York underground.
What started as casual experimentation and beat making for rappers and friends has evolved over the last 10 years into an unrelenting solo passion, resulting in a steady stream of soul-drenched bedroom music that avoids trends in favor of the enduring.
His new music under the name Sam O.B. expands upon this musical background, but ends up being a truer reflection of his artist and spirit than ever before. He has continued collaborating with exciting new musicians and vocalists outside of his own solo endeavors.
Square Peg Round Hole is a percussion-driven instrumental rock trio, pulling elements from post-rock, electronic, ambient, and contemporary classical genres. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live.
Their latest record, Juniper, is the ultimate headphone album: luxurious with the energy of unison drums, the serenity of bowed vibraphones, the fascinating timbres of found objects/scrap metals. It's a bold artist statement from a fearless creative force, at once expansive and intimate, managing to convey a range of human emotions despite its lack of a single sung word.
Miles Francis has learned from the best, and it shows. As a working musician, Miles has collaborated and performed with The Roots, tUnEyArDs, Sharon Jones, Amber Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Action Bronson, Allen Toussaint, Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) and many others; toured the world with Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Antibalas and EMEFE; and appeared on shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman.
His debut EP, Swimmers, melds indie rock with Miles' R&B vocabulary. It’s smart, but not cocky — these are songs from someone who knows what he wants to say, how to say it, and, most importantly, how to keep you listening.
Chuño is an experimental music duo originated by two Argentinian, New York City-based musicians: percussionist Franco Pinna and singer Sofia Tosello. They blends the rhythms and melodies of South and Central America using the “Arpa Legüera," an instrument (invented by Franco) that evokes the sounds of a Charango, African Kora, and Asian Koto.
In April 2018 they released their first album, “CHUÑO." With this recording, a larger audience will experience their unique combination of folkloric and popular musicality with an experimentalism more often associated with jazz. The album’s eleven tracks include two originals and seven arrangements of traditional and popular songs.
2nd Best Dance Company has been interested, since their founding in 2016, in how conceptual questions manifest in movement and how movement can effectively move an audience. Everyday relationships and situations are re-explored through dance, exemplifying the way dance brings emotional clarity while tackling complicated subject matter. Additionally, 2nd Best is interested in how dance broadens an audience’s idea of self-expression, how non-linear dances evoke emotional responses, and how watching dance can be a personal and universal experience.
Pursuing these interests, their work has gone past the traditional dance proscenium to include collaborations in sculpture, animation, theater, film, and site-specific works. Led by Hannah Garner, 2nd Best continues to seek multidisciplinary partnerships, explore limits of the body, and find solace in the humor of being human.
Davalois is a Bessie award-winning dancer born on the island of Jamaica and raised in The Bronx, New York. Her choreography has been presented by prestigious venues such as Joyce Theater and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mike is a multi-reedist and composer unbound by stylistic barriers. His penchant for experimentation has led him to work with a dizzying array of artists — from jazz innovators like Anthony Braxton, Alice and Ravi Coltrane, Hank Roberts, Ben Goldberg, Steve Coleman, and Lonnie Plaxico, to indie rock mainstays Yo La Tengo, to the Afro-Baroque Stew & the Negro Problem.
Esther Baker-Tarpaga & Heidi Wiren Bartlett are performance artists, and co-founders of Propelled Animals, an interdisciplinary arts and social justice collective. Their collaborative projects have been exhibited throughout the country including Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), Grace Exhibitions Space and Panoply Performance Laboratory (Brooklyn, NY); they have an upcoming residency at Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA).
Baker-Tarpaga co-directs Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, a transnational performance company based in Burkina Faso and Philadelphia. She recently performed at The Englert Theatre, Baad!Ass Women’s Festival Bronx, LabBodies LightCity Baltimore, Tamadia Arts Festival France, Bali Spirit Festival, InOut Festival Bobo Dioulasso, and CECUT Tijuana.
Bartlett is concerned with the portrayal, oppression and subversive existence of women in America today. She recently received an Iowa Arts Council Project Grant and has been nominated for the United States Artists (USA) Fellowship. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art and DFRL8R Performance Art Gallery.
Fana Fraser is a performer living in New York City. Born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, her performance work is rooted in a contemporary Caribbean aesthetic and framed by narratives of women's erotic agency, desire, and sexuality in the Caribbean.
Martell Ruffin hails from the South Side of Chicago. He has been working with Fana since 2016, performing at Brooklyn Museum, Knockdown Center, and Movement Research at the Judson Church.
Jenni Hong, born in Taiwan, is the artistic director and founder of Jenni Hong Dance. Influenced by contact improvisation, her multicultural background, and interdisciplinary experiences in dance and social psychology, Jenni creates physical and theatrical work that seeks to peel the layers of artifice to reveal what lies beneath.
Jonathan González is a Bessie-nominated performer, choreographer, and dance educator based in his native New York City. He initiates questions of corporeality to compose materials and choreographies as they relate to economies of creative labor, black (non)life, and abstraction.
His collaborator, Angie Pittman, is a New York based Bessie award-winning dance artist, dance maker, and dance educator. Her work investigates how her body moves through ballad, groove, sparkle, spirit, spirituals, ancestry, vulnerability, and power.
Katie Workum has, since 2013, made improvisational forms the bedrock of her work. Her current work, with long-term company members Eleanor Smith and Weena Pauly, takes form as a shifting and temporary monument to self, community, and the present. They meld improvisational performance and practice together as an alternate, feminist model of working and presenting work.
Paula Josa-Jones is a dance artist, choreographer, author, visual artist and movement educator and therapist known for her visually rich, emotionally charged dance theater. Her work includes choreography for humans, inter-species work with horses, dancers and riders, film, and video. Josa-Jones has been called "one of the country's leading choreographic conceptualists" by the Boston Globe and the Village Voice describes her work as "powerful, eccentric, and surreal." Her dances have been produced in Russia, Europe, Mexico and throughout the United States.
THE SPACE WE MAKE is a multidisciplinary performance collective based in Brooklyn, NY and Portland, ME. Co-founded and directed by dancer Simon Thomas-Train and musician Caitlin Scholl, the group has been making site-specific, immersive, and interdisciplinary performance, film, and community events since 2012.
yon Tande (né Whitney V. Hunter). Dance/performance artist/culture worker committed to #cultureascatalyst for nurturing and cultivating individual and communal spirit through performance, education and curation. Recent performances: Walk the (pink) Elephant, BLACK SEED: Birth Rite, Body Count: Counting the Dead #101 (Body Count Collective: Preach R Sun and Lisa Lewis). Company performances: Martha Graham Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, Martha Clarke, Ralph Lemon, Fiona Templeton, Daria Faïn and Robert Kocik, John Jesurun, Kankouran West African Dance Company and others. He was a Movement Research AiR (2013-15), a founding member/curator of Social Health Performance Club, and is co-director of Denizen Arts: with Jude Sandy.
Coming soon! We'll have a full slate of short films curated by Michael Litwak.
Our 2018 summer exhibition, Change of State, features art from over 50 emerging contemporary artists and sprawls throughout all seven floors of Maxon Mills, a refurbished grain mill from the 1940s. Stop by and explore all you want.
Over the course of the day, we'll host a series of talks with our summer exhibition artists. Stop by and hear how they made their pieces, learn about their artistic processes, and ask plenty of questions.
The Art Nest is kind of like a big treehouse. Located above our main office in Maxon Mills, it’s a free artmaking space for kids — drop in from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM and we’ll have project ideas ready (perfect for parent-child teams), complete with any and all materials. Our Education Director, Education Fellows, and interns will be there to help out with all projects, too.
Coming from NYC? We’re located right at the end of Metro-North’s Harlem line, a ~2-hour ride from Grand Central. Our Getaway Package saves you up to $20 round-trip, and $5 of your ticket price gets donated back to the Wassaic Project.
Driving? Parking is available at Maxon Mills, The Lantern, and Pawling Rubber Factory (across from the mill). Limited street parking is available as well. But parking might be tight — try to carpool.
More details on getting to Wassaic here.
Food and Drink
We'll have a fleet of food trucks lining the Luther Barn field, and The Lantern will be serving up fresh Brooklyn-style pizza as well.
Beer (and other drinks) will also be available for sale.
We'll take all the hands we can get. Sign up to help out on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and get perks like t-shirts, drink tickets, and camping.