Co-founded by three New York music industry vets and longtime friends, Lorimer Beacon‘s founder and head Mike Bell, Kanine Records‘ founder and label head Lio Kanine and Kepler Events‘ and Dedstrange Records co-founder Steven Matrick, The New Colossus Festival over the course of the past couple of years have featured a few hundred handpicked, emerging indie bands and artists from across Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the States.
By design the festival normally takes place about a week or so before SXSW; the festival’s co-founders have long viewed New Colossus as a pre-SXSW stopover that will give its lineups an opportunity to organically gain exposure, while filling a critical void in the city’s festival circuit.
Obviously, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Colossus wasn’t able to happen as scheduled last year, but New Colossus and 18th Ward Brewing hosted a live, outdoor concert series featuring local and regional acts at the brewery’s Bushwick location.
This year, New Colossus happened — and I saw a lot of great acts. More on that much later. The outdoor concert series has now gone on to its second summer. I haven’t been to every single show because of some prior engagements and my beloved New York Rangers making a deep postseason run, but I’ve gone to a handful of the shows so far. (I’ve been incredibly busy over the past few months and admittedly as a result, I’m behind on my photo editing. But let’s be honest, this kind of busy is a good thing.)
Yesterday, I was at 18th Ward Brewing for another Summer Sunday showcase. During one of the sets, I was able to catch New Colossus Festival co-founder and Kanine Records head Lio Kanine playing with the afternoon’s favorite boy, Finn.