Brooklyn Wildlife kicked off its biggest summer festival yet at The Paper Box in East Williamsburg on Saturday, and it continues throughout the week. The opening show for the fifth annual fest featured over 60 performers spread over three stages for a 12-hour showcase as diverse musically as it was culturally.
Brooklyn Wildlife founder Christopher Carr was on the scene in his short shorts, coordinating vendors and live visual artists. Both BK Wildlife veterans and those new to the scene worked together to keep gaps to a minimum; as soon as one band was over you were instantly able to visit another raging stage and return within minutes to find a new band up and running. The genre-spanning acts not only shared the spotlight but also performed together, as when rocker Jules Chaveco of fusion band Flying Machine Collective played guitar alongside rapper Kerry Blu after meeting just that night.
In Paper Box’s tented backyard, another stage featured a steady hip-hop roster that included Sidney Fenix, Watusi and Tribe of Asaru. Inside, rockers Hill Haints played alongside more experimental acts as Kita P and Issac Sawyer. The Paper Box’s owner, Eric Varela, who has hosted the festival for the past four years, was there to enjoy the music himself and took a front row seat in the festival’s group photo.
The Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival continues every day this week with a show tonight at Sunnyvale and concludes with a five-venue marathon on Saturday. Carr described the festival as “the largest gathering of indie artists in Brooklyn,” and told me it “has no boundaries, no genre and no corporate influence. A real grassroots thing that’s actively trying to cultivate the uber-expressive and all are accepted no matter their gender or race or anything. Everyone is welcome as long as they wanna show love.”