The Downtown Ithaca Alliance enthusiastically announces its dynamic lineup for its CFCU Summer Concert Series which kicks off at 6 p.m. on June 20 and continues each Thursday until September 12 — with the exception of a Wednesday show during the week of Grassroots Festival, and a one-week hiatus for the Fourth of July — at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Ithaca Commons in Downtown Ithaca.
The series will cover a variety of genres, ranging from Latin to jazz and hip-hop to soul, funk, and pop.
NEO Project is kicking off this highly anticipated series with its seven piece, high energy party music band that will get you up and dancing. August First, a Massachusetts-based band celebrating the life of Jerry Garcia through a style they define as “Blues-Grassicana,” will offer a toe-tapping performance the following week.
There will then be a break in the series for the first week of July to honor our nation’s Independence Day before our July 11th performance by Empire Kings, an Ithaca-based hip-hop group featuring Ave Mack, DJ Cdz Nuts, Shido, and Izzy B. They will begin by creating a live painting on stage, accompanied by their DJ, followed by a high energy set of music about current events that also make you want to dance.
El Rumbon is going to make the series sizzle when it brings its hot Latin salsa tunes to the Bernie Milton on Wednesday, July 17, and, then local favorite Kitestring will make you wanna rock out as they play hits from their latest album “Seven Years Luck” during their July 25 performance. Kitestring last rocked the CFCU Summer Concert Series in 2017, when they won the Battle of the Bands finale. Opening for Kitestring is progressive rock band Noon Fifteen, an Ithaca-based group that blends rich vocal harmonies, vintage keyboard and guitar tones, and funk-tinged bass and drum grooves into catchy, original songs that are full of surprises.
Just when you thought the series couldn’t get any more entertaining, New Paltz-based band The Big Takeover will amaze you with its powerhouse, Jamaican-born singer and songwriter NeeNee Rushie and its horn-powered band showcasing its deep fluency in reggae and world music along with hints of soul and Motown and their own infectious brand of pop classicism. This multi-talented group will be performing Aug. 1, the halfway point of the series.
Also, in August, you’ll see performances from country singer Janet Batch who is opening for Rose & The Bros, a powerhouse ensemble specializing in irresistible Zydeco and Cajun dance grooves resonating with sweet vocal harmonies and crooning country roots, on Aug. 8. Ithaca’s own Maddy Walsh & The Blind Spots (Aug. 15) and The Gunpoets (Aug. 22) will once again be part of this incredible series along with local favorites Fall Creek Brass Band (Sept. 5.)
Rounding out this fantastic lineup are Honey Cave, an Ithaca-based quartet featuring harmony and strings. They’ll be opening for Staten Island-based hip hop musician HeeSun Lee on Aug. 29. Closing out the series is Ithaca’s all-star funk band The Comb Down. Focusing specifically on the musical styles of 1960’s-1970’s funk, the musicians in this group have been seen with acts such as John Brown’s Body, Dispatch, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Big Mean Sound Machine.
The concerts will happen rain or shine with The Range (above Autumn Leaves Used Books on the Commons) hosting any of the concerts affected by adverse weather.
While you’re attending the Summer Concert Series, visit the concession stand where you’ll find a grand selection of refreshing beers from Seneca Beverage Corporation and tasty wines from Wagner Vineyards. Please have your state ID ready when purchasing alcoholic beverages.
“This year’s lineup is jam-packed with highly talented musicians and singers with diversified sounds. You won’t want to miss a single show. We are truly grateful for CFCU and all of our other sponsors for helping to keep this crowd-pleasing tradition alive,” says Downtown Ithaca Alliance Special Events Director Summer Keown.
CFCU Community Credit Union (CFCU) returns as title sponsor of the CFCU Summer Concert Series and will be continuing their support of the United Way through a fundraiser with exciting prizes. Concertgoers can buy a reusable cup, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the United Way, and be entered to win a grant prize at the final concert: concert tickets, courtesy of DSP Shows (more information to come) and an overnight stay at the Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons.
“CFCU has been the main sponsor of the Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series for several years,” says Carolyn Hamaker of CFCU. “We believe in supporting the arts in our community and are excited for everyone to enjoy the wide variety of artists who will be performing at this year’s CFCU Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series. In the near future we will be opening our new CFCU Transformation Center on the Ithaca Commons. We can’t wait to showcase this amazing new space. Be sure to stop in and see why we’re so excited.”
This year, the series is also made possible by significant support from Seneca Beverage Corporation, Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons, City Centre Apartments, Wagner Vineyards, Maguire Family of Dealerships, and Cayuga Radio Group.
For more information about the CFCU Summer Concert Series and other Downtown Ithaca summer events, visit www.downtownithaca.com or visit Downtown Ithaca’s Facebook Event Page. To listen to a selection of music from some of this year’s performers, check out our 2019 Summer Concert Series Playlist on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/59TAnyfi9cMtCUHX3zVyEW.