Isabel Garcia

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This Friday marks the beginning of the seventh annual Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival (BWSF). Over the course of 10 days, the festival will feature more than 150 live performers, spanning 15 events. The festival will feature live music, art shows, multimedia presentations, tech meet-ups, comedians, DJs, poets and more. 

Many of the events will be held at venues throughout Bushwick, many of which are nontraditional, DIY spaces. Some of the more personalized events will be at homes and backyards that belong to friends of Chris Carr, the co-founder and organizer of BWSF.

The idea for BWSF began when Carr, a photographer, artist, and musician, first moved to New York and found it difficult to get booked as a rapper. Realizing it would be easier to do it himself he booked whole nights, brought in bands, vocalists, and did the marketing campaigns. 

Artists, performers, and musicians from previous festivals.

Since BWSF is independently run with no corporate sponsors, there will be no advertisements. “It’s really about the community and the culture and the people that are [t]here,” says Carr who funds the festival out of pocket. With years of experience organizing events, he’s developed relationships with an expansive network of artists and venue owners. 

The artists, who range in gender, age, race and sexual orientation, are as diverse as the types of performances that will be featured at BWSF. “The beauty of it for me is that it’s always been inclusive,” says Carr of the festival, “I never wanted it to be monolithic.”

Performance from previous festival.

Impressed by a one of Carr’s spoken word and live music performances, British visual artist, moldNshit, followed Carr on Instagram. After finding out about BWSF through Carr’s Insta, he asked to be part of the show, and will be showcasing his work About Britain at the festival. 

“The artists we book are emotionally expressive and I feel like right now we’re told that loneliness is such a problem for young people, and this is one of the solutions. It’s getting people out in a space where they’ve never been, but can still be comfortable,” says Carr. “As a Black person, it’s hard to say I believe in safe spaces. But as much as possible, this is one of those.”

Brooklyn WildLife Summer Festival Recap from Ralph Francoeur on Vimeo.

Tickets to events range from free to $20 per event, or $80 for all 10 days, making BWSF accessible to the public and to career artists. “Money shouldn’t be a barrier to art and creativity and love,” says Carr who hopes everyone who is a part of the festival can “share and mix up the creative energy.” He also hopes that the festival inspires the community to start their own DIY spaces and community building activities. 

The festival will be held from August 30 through September 8. The opening event will be held at Bushwick Community Darkroom, located at 110 Troutman St. Brooklyn, NY 11206. You can purchase tickets and view the schedule of events here

All images courtesy of Brooklyn Wildlife.

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