2016-06-22 / Front Page

Louis Armstrong Festival

Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College announced the third annual Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival. This rich curation of music, art, and food celebrating the life and legacy of Louis Armstrong will take place on July 16th at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, steps away from the UTSA and home of the Mets.             
Dr. John will headline this year’s festival, which channels the rich jazz of New Orleans, where Armstrong was born and came into his own as one of the world’s greatest and most influential jazz trumpeters. Soulive and Kermit Ruffins will also perform on the festival’s stage. Local acts with international flair will round out the line-up, showcasing Louis Armstrong’s influence on a variety of music genres and staying true to his mantra, “You gotta listen to all types of music.”             
In addition to the musical line-up, Louis’ Backyard Bash – which will take place throughout the park – will feature live DJs and lounge areas in the Queens Museum and Queens Theatre, family-friendly activities including face painting, stilt walkers, arts and crafts, music for kids, and more. The Queens Museum will also offer a number of exciting options for festival-goers, including highlights of notable jazz spots in their world famous Panorama.             
This free festival is for all ages, and will take place from 1 pm to 8 pm. Registration is available at the festival website. A limited number of preferred access tickets are available for $20, which includes reserved seating directly in front of the Main Stage and free access to indoor beer gardens in the Queens Museum and Queens Theatre for patrons 21 and over. For tickets and more information, visit armstrongswonderfulworld.com.
Jeffrey Rosenstock, Executive Director of Kupferberg Center for the Arts said, “Not only did Louis Armstrong call Queens his home, he believed in ‘listening to all kinds of music,’ music that can be heard daily throughout our borough’s multicultural communities. Louis traveled around the world sharing his music. Our goal this year is to celebrate his New Orleans roots, and showcase some of the incredible music being played in and around Queens by artists whose origins span the globe.”             
Louis Armstrong had deep ties to Queens – he lived at 34-56 107th Street in Corona from 1943 until his death in 1971. The house is a National Historic Landmark and is now the site of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, which is available for viewing during the festival. The Louis Armstrong House Museum will curate a special exhibit at the festival, which will include rarely-seen photos of Louis, plus a special presentation by the foremost expert on all-things-Louis Armstrong, Ricky Riccardi, Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of “What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years.”                 
Last year’s festival attracted thousands of New Yorkers to pay tribute to the jazz icon and received praise from Vibe, The Huffington Post, and The Village Voice. 2015’s headliner was Grammy winner Lauryn Hill and also featured Antibalas, Ozomatli, Rebirth Brass Band, and Shannon Powell’s Traditional All-Star Band. “Jazz has always been about community and about uniting different forms, infusing rhythmic structures and tonal structures, and I think that’s represented in the fabric of the people here,” Astoria resident Paula Wilson told NY1 News. Learn more at NY1 News: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/06/21/annualfestival- pays-tribute-to-legendary-queens-musician-louis-armstrong.html.                 
Queens, already the most diverse of New York’s boroughs, has become a formidable cultural capital. Lonely Planet, which named Queens the #1 Place to Visit in 2015, described the borough as “[the] hippest... with microbreweries springing up, new boutique hotels, a reinvented seaside, a world-class art scene, and a truly global food culture” Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World festival aims to be an encapsulation of this very idea, showing off Armstrong’s favorite borough to the world.
“This summer is our third festival, and along with our first two festivals, sets the stage for us to become an iconic New York City event (in Queens)! We are grateful for the continued support and guidance of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, and also to a new sponsor, GoldenVoice, for supporting us in many ways this year,” said Jeff Rosenstock.             
The 2016 Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Festival is produced by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. Partners include Queens College/CUNY, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Queens Museum, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Major funding is provided by the Kupferberg Family. Additional funding is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Goldenvoice is a sponsor, with generous support from the Panorama Music Festival, which provides booking, marketing, and financial support. Additional partnerships and sponsors are in formation. Stay tuned for more announcements on the music lineup, food, and art exhibits.

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