Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Antifolk Festival, now in its 20th year, is underway at Sidewalk Cafe

From the EVG inbox…

Over the last 20 years the back room at the Sidewalk Cafe on Avenue A and East Sixth Street has been an incubator, laboratory and town square for a dynamic community of performing artists. It helped launch the careers of singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor, Adam Green, Kimya Dawson, and Jeffrey Lewis, and today is one of the few remaining Manhattan venues that welcome and nurture emerging performers.

More than 80 artists who represent a cross-section of standout talent from the scene will appear in the Winter Antifolk Festival 2014, running Feb. 18 through Feb 28. Among the notable performers scheduled are Hamell on Trial, Debe Dalton, Crazy & the Brains, Larkin Grimm, Fayaway, and Jason Trachtenburg. Special guest artists will also appear. Sidewalk Cafe is located at 94 Avenue A at East Sixth Street. There is no cover charge, although there is a one-item food or drink minimum.

The biannual Antifolk Festival was launched in the mid-1980s by a group of young songwriters who created the event as an alternative to the more mainstream New York Folk Festival. The Antifolk scene then coalesced around a regular open mic session, the Antihoot, that was spearheaded by the songwriter Lach and moved from spot to spot before settling in at Sidewalk Cafe in 1993. Lach was Antifolk’s ringleader and impresario until 2008 when he handed the baton of leadership to Ben Krieger. Today the landmark Monday night open stage is still the focal point of the Sidewalk scene, although the club offers shows seven nights per week. Krieger now oversees the Sidewalk stage in partnership with Somer Bingham.

So, what is Antifolk? Many participants have said that it describes a community of artists rather than a particular style. “Antifolk revolves around conviction and passion, and is inclusive of many different types of sounds,” said Krieger. “The best way to learn more about it is to come to Sidewalk Cafe and listen to the artists playing today.”

Check out the full list of performers here.

In other Sidewalk-related news, American Songwriter reported yesterday that Ben Krieger is stepping down as Sidewalk's booker. Somer Bingham, who has been running sound there the past six years, will be taking over. Krieger will still be hosting the Monday Night Open Stage.

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