By Bill Parry
A unique, community-driven and free concert series is now underway at Gantry Plaza State Park.
LIC Concerts showcases emerging local artists over the next four Sundays, with the generous support of area businesses.
“There are a lot of concert series all around the city,” co-founder Jason Sagebiel said. “But there aren’t a lot that tie a whole neighborhood together to allow for maximum exposure.”
More than 700 people attended last Sunday’s performances by Shelly Bushan and Jeneen Teranna to kick off the third season for the series, started by the owner of Sage Music, the school at 44-02 23rd St., and John Hubela, of The Compact Disc Jockeys, a Long Island City-based firm that provides DJs for parties.
“It was always our intention to connect audiences with the artists and the businesses that support us,” Sagebiel said.
Of the series’ 27 sponsors, 24 are based in Long Island City, such as Vernon Wine & Liquor, Food Cellar, Matted LIC and City Vet.
“I’m really excited to be a part of it,” Modern Spaces co-founder Eric Benaim said. “The more activities the better. Anytime you’re doing a free concert in the neighborhood, you’ll get my support.”
The sentiment was echoed by John Brown Smokehouse owner Seth Bowen.
“Are you kidding? Supporting LIC Concerts is a no-brainer,” he said. “They’re bringing arts right down the street. I was probably one of their easiest marks — $500 is nothing crazy, it didn’t put us out of business. It’s good to feel a part of the ongoing evolution of the neighborhood.”
Sagebiel explained that each sponsor supported by giving varying sums tied to the amount of exposure they wanted throughout the series.
“We’ve produced a wide variety of marketing materials for LIC Concerts, ranging from a large banner that is hanging at Gantry Plaza State Park for two months to a mailer sent to everyone living in LIC, and lots of digital marketing” he said. “Sponsors who wanted a larger space on the marketing materials we offered, or a table at the concerts would spend more than the others. So it varies from business to business.”
This Sunday’s sunset concert features Sol Liebeskind, a soul singer from Argentina who now lives in Long Island City, and Lux De Ville, a jazz and hip-hop band that has a lead guitarist who teaches in LIC. Wishes and Thieves performs Aug. 31. Sept. 7 is a special Health and Wellness Day and the final show Sept. 14 is dedicated to kids and families.
It’s that kind of programming that has allowed Sagebiel and Hubela to use the space at the Gantries.
“Our first year it was pretty difficult getting the permits from the state, but last year it wasn’t so hard,” Sagebiel said. “This year the state called us. I hope that means they trust us to put on clean, family-friendly concerts.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.