Aug. 11, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Big City Folk, an umbrella group that brings musicians from all over the city together, is putting on a free two-day folk festival at LIC Bar this weekend.
The festival, which takes place every two years, will feature 24 acts over Saturday and Sunday, with doors opening at 12 p.m. and music running from 1 to 8 p.m.
“It’s a celebration of the independent music scene, and you may not have heard of a lot of the people, but it’s really top quality music,” said event organizer Niall Connolly.
Over the two days of music, acts such as Youth in a Roman Field (featuring Claire Wellin and Tiffany Topol of Broadway’s Once), August Wells (featuring Kenneth Griffin of Rollerskate Skinny), St. Lenox, The Morning Sea, Sterling Rhyne, Lanusa, and Connolly himself will perform.
Though there is no cover, there is a suggested donation of $10 per day to help cover the musician’s costs.
Connolly started Big City Folk about ten years ago, soon after moving to New York from Cork, Ireland.
“I missed the tradition of sharing songs that you would often have at a house party or in the music scene in Cork,” Connolly explained, so he started gathering musicians in the area to local bars each week to perform. “We would keep each other on our toes and be competitive and collaborative in positive way,” he said.
Those weekly music nights grew to the point where now Big City has gatherings four times per week for musicians to come and share their work. Over the years, Connolly has seen bands form from musicians who met through his network, and knows of three different married couples who met through Big City Folk gatherings.
He has also seen many talented performers pass through his group, including Lucius, Christopher Paul Stelling, and Lizzie Grant (better known now as Lana del Rey).
“Big City Folk as a collective puts an emphasis on being a safe space for new songs and being creative,” Connolly said.