On Saturday, August 23, from 1 – 6pm, the Summit Music Festival will turn Lippitt Park, that haven for toddlers, farmers marketers, and frisbee throwers, into a huge neighborhood party. And if a beer and wine garden by Trinity Brewhouse, activities for the kids, food trucks, and craft vendors aren’t enough to bring you out, the world-class line-up of musicians should do it. Performing at the event will be pianist Johnny Lingo, 16-year-old singer/songwriter Emeline Easton, Dr. Jones & the Shiners, which features members of The Sugar Honey Iced Tea and The Mighty Good Boys, Smith & Weeden, Selwyn Birthwood Band, and Brooklyn’s Red Baraat. Dean Weinberg, who organizes the festival every year, is excited about all of the performers, but is particularly excited about Red Baraat. “Red Baraat is off the charts awesome,” Weinberg said. “This is the first time they’ve played here since the FirstWorks Festival that happened in Kennedy Plaza a few years back. It’s going to be a huge dance party.”
The Summit Music Festival was first put on five years ago by the Summit Neighborhood Association after they received a grant from the city’s department of arts, culture and tourism. The festival was funded by this grant for three years, but the association didn’t receive the grant for the fourth year. Determined to make the festival work, Weinberg called the department of arts, culture and tourism and proposed a solution. If the city granted use of the stage and park, the neighborhood association would fund the festival with donations from local businesses. The city agreed and Weinberg put his plan into action. “We raised nearly three times the grant amount and that festival was our best ever.” The city and the Summit Neighborhood Association made the same agreement this year, making this truly a neighborhood party.
“I think that this model is a good example of how government grant programs should work,” said Weinberg. “The city got us started, and once we had some traction, they gave the money to others in need.” By providing the stage and park and easing the permitting process, both the city and the neighborhood win. “The goal is to have great free programming for the community, and the city allows us to provide our little share of that.”
With the scope of the Summit Music Festival, attendees might find it hard to believe that it’s a one-man production. When asked about plans for next year, Weinberg said, “Putting on a festival of this size is a lot of work.” And he’s ready to pass the torch. “This could be the festival’s last year.”
The Summit Music Festival is a can’t-miss party; this year especially with its future in question. So if you’re looking for something to do on Saturday, follow the sound of the music to Lippitt Park.
The Summit Music Festival takes place on August 23 from 1 – 6pm at Lippitt Park on the corner of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard. Admission is free.