The citizen-run Art City organization said last month that it planned to turn each August weekend into free, themed, citywide arts events, and it’s happening – starting Sunday with two events turned over mainly to music: four hours of classical music at Winthrop Park in Harvard Square; and Jamapalooza, which runs from noon to 8 p.m. in Jill Brown-Rhone Park, near Central Square, with eight bands and two comedians accompanied by art installations and a clothing vendors.
In coming years, Art City will grow beyond the weekends into a nearly constant and omnipresent month of happenings, co-founder Amyko Ishizaki said, but for now the group has achieved astonishing things for just a few thousand dollars.
Next Saturday is a Community Film Festival taking place from noon to 6 p.m. at Lesley University’s Hall Amphitheater, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square; Aug. 16 brings an “Outdoor Dance Museum” from 5 to 7 p.m. back in Winthrop Square, and an Aug. 17 “Jump In: Day of Dance” at The Dance Complex, 536 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square; Aug. 24 brings an 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Art Walk in the Park at University Park Commons, near Central Square; and the month ends with comedy nights Aug. 27-29 at East Meets West, 934 Massachusetts Ave., between Central and Harvard squares.
First, here’s the rundown on Jamapalooza, whose bands include:
Covey, an indie folk band fronted by guitarist and vocalist Tom Freeman. Formed at the Berklee College of Music in February 2013, the band has a harmony-driven, group vocal sound with ambient textures. The band cites influences including Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, Daughter, the Lumineers, Milo Greene and Fleet Foxes.
Cordelia & the Buffalo draws its name from Cordelia Vizcaino, a Mexican-American musician, singer, songwriter and producer from Texas who draws her musical inspiration from Mexican Indian tribes and Native American cultures, but the band includes another six members from Japan, Venezuela, Norway and Alaska who have combined into an indie-rock-electronic band with influences including Local Natives, Friendly Fires, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Florence and The Machine, The Kooks, Nine Inch Nails, Kings of Convenience, Foster the People, Gotye, MGMT, Imogen Heap, Atlas Genius and Little Dragon.
Leafcutter, a four-piece band started as a singer-songwriter project of Stephen LoVerme and now forging an eclectic sound that, while rooted firmly in Americana rock, stretches into psychedelic, hard rock and jam band territory.
The Raunchy Randos, a trio from Newmarket, N.H., launched last year and playing psychedelic rock, blues and world music.
Amy & the Engine, a five-piece indie-folk-pop band features the songwriting of Amy Allen, formed last winter at the Berklee College of Music and inspired by the music of The Beatles, Paul Simon, Dr. Dog, Scissor Sisters and Fleetwood Mac.
Night Lights, a five-piece Boston-based band formed in 2012 and boasting warped soundscapes, intricate riffs, melodic bass lines, colorful rhythmic creations, captivating melodies and otherworldly voice effects designed to give listeners “an unparalleled audio adventure” – meaning hooky melodies, danceable music, intriguing harmonic progressions and profound lyrics dealing with deep themes.
David Tanklefsky has been playing the guitar and writing songs since he was 11 and growing up in Boston, leading to membership in the folk-rock-jazz band Grimis as well as work with Emil & Friends, Post Panda, Craig Martinson and the Starlight Girls. In 2011, he released his first solo EP, “The Sun and the Shadows,” followed by this year’s full-length solo album, “Be Brave.”
Mariko spent the first five years of her life in Japan before moving to the suburbs of Boston, where she was handed her first guitar at 15. She has performed her honest, soulful singing with upbeat, addictive rock riffs at countless venues across the Northeast, on ABC and Fox television stations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut and played on the Vans Warped Tour 2012 and last year at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival.
Comedians at the show include Kenice Mobley and Jake McDowell, and artist Melissa Sackerman Glick, a Cambridge resident working out of the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, will have an art installation alongside The Magic School Busk and clothing sales by Inkkas Shoes via Rockers Group and Goodbye Bunny.
Sunday weather is expected to be mostly cloudy with highs of 78 degrees. There’s a peak 35 percent chance of rain at noon, prompting Robin Lapidus, president of the Central Square Business Association, to reassure late Saturday that the events will go on as planned, and if any performances are postponed due to rain “we will make every effort to reschedule them” for Aug. 24.
This post was updated Aug. 3, 2014, with a weather update and comment from Robin Lapidus.