Bryant Park's Emerging Music Festival to Feature Maybird, Space Captain and More

Bryant Park's Emerging Music Festival to Feature Maybird, Space Captain and More

Returning for its third year, Bryant Park Presents' Emerging Music Festival (EMF) features a strong roster of on-the-rise indie rock, pop and folk bands, performing on one of the biggest stages of their career. All artists hail from the greater New York area, making EMF one of the city's largest local-only summer rock festivals.

Thousands of music lovers will pack Bryant Park to experience some of the city's most exciting new music including rock, soul, blues, folk, pop, jazz, and everything in between, all for free. Between sets, attendees can purchase beer and wine near the Lawn, eat food from local vendors curated by Hester Street Fair, borrow a free picnic blanket, learn to juggle, and play giant lawn games.

This year's EMF takes place over two days, on August 18 and 19. Artists currently slated to perform on August 18 include Adam Schatz's art pop combo Landlady, indie rockers Mail the Horse, growling balladeer Luke Elliot and psychedelic soul stars 79.5. The August 19 lineup will spotlight dreamy country rock guitarist Breanna Barbara, post-punk rockers RIPS, psych-rock cosmonautsSpace Captain and melodic indie folk band Maybird.

"This city is an incredible hotbed for what's next in music" says series curator Dan Fishman. "We invite audiences to come for the new and electrifying bands and stay for a summer picnic surrounded by a beautiful New York skyline."

Emerging Music Festival Day 1

Landlady, Mail the Horse, Luke Elliot, and 79.5

Friday, August 18

6pm - 10pm


Adam Schatz's art pop band is filled with "brainy indie rock, offbeat rhythms, jazzy interludes and hooky choruses" (Washington Post)

Landlady is a Brooklyn five-piece whose 2014 Hometapes debut, Upright Behavior, boldly disrupts the notion of genre and reveals the soulful and continually-resonating work of Schatz and core band members Ian Chang, Ian McLellan Davis, Booker Stardrum, and Will Graefe, as well as a cast of New York City-based contributors gathered from Schatz's tandem walks of life as a solo musician, improviser, organizer, collaborator, promoter, and writer. Compared to rock and roll juggernauts like The Band and Talking Heads, Landlady merge vast skill, a bend toward experimentation, and a proven belief that songs can be a true extension of the human experience. The result is timeless and charted by their recorded works and transformative live shows - both critically-acclaimed and ever-evolving. The next era was revealed this summer: Their EP Heat was recently released for free to fans worldwide and will be exclusively available on cassette tape on their US tour.

Mail the Horse

"Sun-baked indie rock" (Pop Matters) influenced by The Rolling Stones at their easiest and twangiest

Mail the Horse is a country clunker of a five-piece careening down a highway laid to waste with Stones psychedelia and heartbroken hymnals. Their new EP, Magnolia (recorded with Hunter Davidsohn, who has worked with Porches and Frankie Cosmos), channels the vibes of mid to late 70s Stones and elements of Springsteen. The album's sonic resonance with the rock Gods of the past should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Mail the Horse live. Their songs simmer with a sincerity and twang that has blown the doors off of basements in Brooklyn and captivated crowds at festivals across the country. Their pedal steel player slinks through the tunes while the band's two crooners belt out anthems and spellbinding harmonies with a casual gaze.

Luke Elliot

"A force to be reckoned with" (No Depression), Elliot's music is regularly compared with the dark ballads of crooners Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits

New Jersey musician Luke Elliot found a love for creating music at an early age. After years on the club circuit in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City, Luke was discovered in 2014 by Rihanna's former manager, Christa Shaub. Soon after, Luke's music career blossomed overseas, hitting hardest in Scandinavia, before spreading throughout the rest of Western Europe. Elliot released his debut full length album, Dressed for the Occasion in Europe, which was produced by Indie icon, John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile). Dressed for the Occasion has since garnered endless praise by top media outlets.


"Honeyed vocalists, street flautists, and psych guitarists" (The New Yorker) make up this infectious seven-piece 21st century disco band

Hard to categorize, easy to love, 79.5 has been making tons of noise around New York City for the past two years. With three lead vocalists, Kate Mattison, Nya Parker Brown and Piya Malik, alongside a band that pulls influence from every corner of a record store, it's no wonder they're already taking the scene by storm with their unique and infectious energy.

Emerging Music Festival Day 2

Breanna Barbara, Cassandra Jenkins, RIPS, Space Captain, and Maybird

Saturday, August 19

4pm - 10pm

Breanna Barbara

Blues singer with striking vocal strength and rock that's "undeniably the product of steamy Southern summers" (Consequence of Sound)

There is a particular place you get to without directions. you've been a thousand times but never once stayed past a moment. You pin the map each visit but it's always too dull to stick. You return to where you begin and aren't sure if you ever left. Is this voodoo? A southern occultist juxtaposed in the middle of New York City, Breanna Barbara writes songs that make your soul dance, songs that make you question how many lives you've led, and if you ever lived at all. Barbara's debut album, Mirage Dreams, is now available via No Roads Records.

Cassandra Jenkins

Singer-songwriter's laid-back yet "confident folk" (The Fader) mixes hushed, mellifluous vocals and wistful instrumentals

New York City-based Cassandra Jenkins, a songwriter who "knows how to leave an impression" with "elegantly celestial climaxes, emerald green-glowing guitar work" (Pitchfork), recently released her much-anticipated debut album, Play Till You Win. Ghosts of All Things Must Pass haunt the record's melodies as a constant stylistic lodestar, with nods woven throughout to Lee Hazelwood's Hollywood-and-Vine country surrealism or Angeles Badalamenti and David Lynch's work for Julie Cruise, resulting in a tapestry that is "tender and trance like" (Interview Magazine). What makes her new collection of songs stand out from fellow acolytes of psychedelic burritos and dusty journeys through gilded palaces of sin, is that her vision and scope of influences are broad, idiosyncratic and ever-changing.


70's NYC rock and shoegaze inspired band "making a name for themselves" (Brooklyn Vegan) with energetic rock

Brooklyn based RIPS have quickly built a reputation amongst NYC showgoers, winning them over with their virtuous melodies and sheer ferocity amidst an endless flurry of shows. Their songs may channel late '70s New York City bands like Television and The Feelies, but Rips propels these references into something new. Their self-titled debut, produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts, is eleven tracks of buzzing guitar riffs driven by a charged rhythm section, all set under lyrics that are actually worth a damn. Rips (the record) takes cues from the moonlighting era of rock, while delivering a set of songs distinctly fit for the modern age. Once described as a "hyperreal rock n' roll group", the phrase "borne forward ceaselessly into the future" is more what they're going for here.

Space Captain

Six-piece future soul ensemble "blend[s] the sampleadelic innovations of J Dilla ... with sprawling psychedelic rock" (Wire)

Space Captain is a Brooklyn based psych-soul band with Maralisa Simmons-Cook (vocalist/lyricist), Alex Pyle (bass and production), GRay Hall (guitar and production), Mike Haldeman (guitar), Joey Ziegler (drums), Joy Morales (keyboard) and Lessie Vonner (trumpet). They have appeared with BADBADNOTGOOD, Ghostface Killah, J. Views, Dresses, Kendra Morris and more. Lauren Laverne of BBC Radio 6 Music calls them "really interesting ... a sound of their own." In a period of open-minded experimentation via live shows and studio jams, Space Captain have alighted on a progressive fusion of R&B and psychedelic rock with tentacles spinning out into soul, hip hop, electronica and noise. Their EP In Memory finds singer/lyricist Simmons-Cook exploring darker, more personal subjects with themes of mourning, the life cycle, lightness verses darkness, death and rebirth. In Memory has since seen notable play on Spotify's Fresh Finds Playlist and Bandcamp Weekly, among others.


Expansive and evocative rockers channel "fleeting youth and chasing dreams" (NPR)

Josh Netsky is the singer and principal songwriter of the Brooklyn/Rochester-based band Maybird. Along with Sam Snyder, Kurt Johnson and Josh's brother, Adam, the band self-released their debut album, Down and Under, in 2013. The ambitious, independent record caught the ear of producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells) who approached the band to sign to his Columbia Records imprint, 30th Century Records. In 2016 Maybird released Turning Into Water, an EP that fuses expensive psychedelia with evocative roots rock accents. NPR debuted the video for the song "Looking Back" stating, "It's a poignant, profoundly emotional ode to childhood, fleeting youth and chasing dreams." Later last year, the band spent time in Nashville working with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys at his home recording studio. The new set of songs is set to be released this year and the band will spend the rest of the year on the road.

Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a private not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park in New York City. BPC is funded by income from events, concessions and corporate sponsors, as well as an assessment on neighboring properties, and does not accept government or philanthropic monies. In addition to providing security and sanitation services and tending the park's lush lawn and seasonal garden displays, BPC provides public amenities and activities, including movable chairs and tables, cafe umbrellas, restaurants, food kiosks, world-class restrooms, and a wide range of free events throughout the year. The Midtown Manhattan park is visited by more than six million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. BPC's website,, is available for more detailed information and a schedule of upcoming events. Go to or follow on Twitter: @BryantParkNYC and Instagram:@BryantParkNYC.

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