Home / News / Robyn, Fever Ray, 0PN, Harry Belafonte, More for Red Bull Music Festival New York 2018

Robyn, Fever Ray, 0PN, Harry Belafonte, More for Red Bull Music Festival New York 2018

Red Bull Music Festival New York returns this May with another diverse program of original events, world premieres, and talks with icons and innovators. Returning for a sixth year, the widely praised annual festival has become a New York City institution featuring performances by today’s most forward-looking musicians; tributes to legendary artists, scenes, and sounds; and conversations with impactful, innovative musicians. The shows will unfold throughout the boroughs at some of NYC’s most unique settings from iconic institutions to uncharted spaces completely re-configured for the occasion.

Over the past six years, Red Bull Music Festival New York has been a go-to home for artists to explore large scale ideas and event concepts. This year is no exception and will serve as the world premiere of Oneohtrix Point Never’s MYRIAD – a multi-level, daring, immersive performance built specifically for one of New York’s greatest performing arts spaces, the Park Avenue Armory; renowned modern composer and sound artist Tristan Perich will premiere Drift Multiply – a piece for 50 violins and 50 self-built 1-bit speakers taking place at one of the largest churches in the world, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine; and serpentwithfeet – whose work is both sensual and spiritual in its intensity, interwoven with sparse and dramatic productions, and punctuated by classical instrumentation – will elaborate on his delicate vision in a unique performance space with both moons; and John Maus will bring his visceral and haunting take on synth-pop to Coney Island for new live experience.

The festival is not only a celebration of New York City but also of the international sounds and musicians that influence its culture. Celebrating the Caribbean and Latin communities’ deep ties throughout New York City, the month will feature a conversation with one of the most successful Jamaican-American artists in history – 91-year old musician, actor, social activist and icon Harry Belafonte, who will reflect on his life and career through the lens of the city he has long called home, New York; a night exploring reggaeton’s underground beginnings with a rare reunion of The Noise; and live installments of Red Bull Radio shows The Federation Sound, hosted by dancehall and reggae aficionado Max Glazer, and Bien Buena, which explores reggaeton and dembow with hosts Riobamba & Uproot Andy.

This year will also feature two of Sweden’s most unique and dynamic musicians: unpredictable Swedish experimental electronic artist Fever Ray will kick off her North American tour with two performances at Brooklyn Hangar in support of her new album Plunge; and Swedish singer, songwriter, label owner and producer Robyn will sit down for an in-depth conversation with her friend and fellow musician Kindness.

The festival will also include tributes to cultural game changers by the young artists they have influenced. Red Bull Arts New York will present RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder, the largest survey to date of the legendary artist, graff writer, hip-hop pioneer, Gothic Futurist theoretician, and New York cult icon. from May 4 through August 26. The opening night of the festival will feature young artists continuing in his multi-disciplinary footsteps including Wiki, Show Me the Body, 700 Bliss (Moor Mother and DJ Haram), Onyx Collective, Mike, Standing On The Corner, and more. Betty Davis, one of the most important and influential voices of the funk era, shattered the limits of R&B, funk and feminism. The festival will host the New York City premiere of a documentary about the elusive legend, Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different. Brujas are a current day, limit-shattering young collective infused with the inclusiveness of skate and queer cultures, who will close out the festival with the third annual Brujas Anti-Prom.

The festival programming also includes: Dream Machine, an immersive concert installation and an extended live meditation on Bryon Gysin and William Burrough’s seminal experiential invention – led by director-musician Sophia Brous, multi-instrumentalist/composer Dave Harrington (Darkside), and designers Wild Dogs, who will bring together a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of music luminaries including legendary Moroccan Sufi trance ensemble The Master Musicians of Jajouka, British cellist Oliver Coates and harpist Zeena ParkinsTeeth & Nails will feature a group of young and ruthless rappers inspired by horror flicks – including Bali Baby, Asian Doll, Lil Wop and Rico Nasty – and whose digital DIY output is filled with menacing chopped and screwed sounds that draws you in like a slasher film; and the third Red Bull Radio Live event will feature Vivian Host‘s daily show Peak Time.

Since the festival launched in 2013 for the New York installment of the world-travelling Red Bull Music Academy, program highlights have included public conversations with D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Brian Eno, James Murphy, George Clinton, A$AP Rocky and Werner Herzog; Giorgio Moroder’s first ever DJ set; world premieres of live shows including Anohni’s Hopelessness, FKA twigs’ Congregata and Solange’s An Ode To at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and the Larry Levan Street Party which brought out more than 20,000 New Yorkers.

The New York Times noted of the 2017 festival, “The company’s commitment is strong, and also thoughtful: Its concerts tend to double as history lessons, often spotlighting underappreciated artists and scenes. In the music world, it has been, with exceptions, a rare example of corporate largess deployed with aesthetic care, making for one of the most invigorating musical series in the country.”

Tickets for Red Bull Music Festival New York go on sale Thursday, March 22 at 10am ET. See more details on the individual events, sign up for the festival newsletter and purchase tickets at nyc.redbullmusicfestival.com.

In addition to the events, Red Bull Music Festival New York will tell original stories through editorial content on RedBullMusic.com. Red Bull Radio (www.redbullradio.com) will also feature a month of NYC-focused programming, including event live streams, special broadcasts from Red Bull Arts New York, and more.


May 03: If This Knowledge Scares You, The Equation Is Working with Wiki, Show Me The Body, Standing on the Corner, MIKE, Sporting Life, Onyx Collective, Tony Seltzer, 700 Bliss (Moor Mother + DJ Haram)

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ inhabited a world of his own creation. The enigmatic graffiti-writer, artist and MC was a fixture of New York’s dynamic downtown scene in the late ’70s and ’80s. In tandem with the opening of a Red Bull Arts New York retrospective, If This Knowledge Scares You, The Equation Is Working is a showcase of young NYC musicians directly or spiritually influenced by the late, great RAMMΣLLZΣΣ. These include Letter Racer collective members Show Me the Body; young New Yorkers Wiki and Sporting Life; and beat maker and producer Tony Seltzer. Also performing will be Philly noise duo 700 Bliss (Moor Mother and DJ Haram); rising talent MIKE; jazz ensemble Onyx Collective; and the eclectic Standing On The Corner.

May 04: John Maus 

Over the course of four albums, musician, singer and producer John Maus has put forth his own distinctive musical vision. Known for a visceral and haunting take on synth-pop, his recent album Screen Memories featured the immersive sounds of self-built modular synths and was written with both classical and computer-based compositional techniques. A longtime friend and collaborator of Ariel Pink and an academic with a PhD in political philosophy, Maus will come to Coney Island and present his music in a way that you’ve never heard it before.

May 04: RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder @ Red Bull Arts New York

The cultural impact of the equation known as The RAMMΣLLZΣΣ (1960-2010) – legendary artist, graff writer, hip-hop pioneer, Gothic Futurist theoretician, and New York cult icon – laid the groundwork for today’s interdisciplinary creative hyphenates. Taking over the entirety of Red Bull Arts New York, RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s largest survey to date examines the evolution of the artist’s diverse body of work. From seminal post-graffiti works to his rare but robust formal output throughout the 1980s, and important artworks and sculptures created over the last 20 years of his life. The exhibition gathers archival materials and artworks from RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s estate, collections around the world, and oral histories recently commissioned by Red Bull Arts New York. This historic survey aims to introduce a new generation to the artist-prophet from the edge who found himself, again and again, in the center of everything.

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder is on view from May 4 – August 26. The exhibition is organized by Red Bull Arts New York Chief Curator Max Wolf and cultural critic Carlo McCormick, with Associate Curators Christian Omodeo, Jeff Mao, and Candice Strongwater.

May 05: A Conversation with Harry Belafonte

Three-time Grammy Award-winning musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte is one of the most successful Jamaican-American artists of all time, renowned for bringing the Caribbean sound to the international mainstream. Just as he is seen as an advocate of world music, Belafonte is acclaimed for his lifelong commitment to political and humanitarian activism. A close friend and adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Belafonte was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement and continued to campaign for racial equality and global peace long after Dr. King’s death. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, the Kennedy Center Honoree and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador will join us for a conversation reflecting on his career through the lens of the city he has long called home, New York.

This event is co-presented with Jill Newman Productions. At the artist’s request, all revenue from ticket sales will be donated to Sankofa, Harry Belafonte’s social justice organization.

May 08: Red Bull Radio Live: The Federation Sound with Max Glazer

Join us as Federation Sound’s Max Glazer brings his Red Bull Radio show live to the Red Bull Music Festival New York. Founded in 1999 by Max Glazer, Kenny Meez, and Cipha Sounds, Federation Sound have been sharing their musical expertise on Red Bull Radio since 2016. A dancehall and reggae aficionado, Glazer has been instrumental in creating a platform for soundsystem culture since his early days as a DJ and hip-hop journalist. He has since worked with some of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall and through his weekly show on Red Bull Radio, including the likes of Kranium, Jesse Royal, Chronixx and Konshens. Armed with the hottest dubplates, remixes, and exclusive premieres, join us as Max takes us to Kingston, the diaspora and back.

May 09: Tristan Perich: Drift Multiply with Lesley Flanigan @ Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, renowned modern classical composer and sound artist Tristan Perich will premiere his most ambitious project yet: A piece for 50 violins and 50 self-built 1-bit speakers. Perich investigates the spaces where the physical world meets the abstract world of computational electronics, writing intricate arrangements that blend lo-fi 1-bit sound – the lowest possible digital representation of audio – with cascading melodies performed by classically trained musicians. The piece will be brought to life with music director Doug Perkins, an acclaimed percussion soloist, chamber musician, event producer and composer, and a member of the percussion faculty at the Boston Conservatory. Also performing will be Lesley Flanigan, the experimental electronic musician and instrument designer. Flanigan takes a sculptural approach to sound design, layering the sounds of her self-built devices with traditional instrumentation, including her voice. This event is co-presented with The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

May 11: Dream Machine with Master Musicians of Jajouka (Morocco), Oliver Coates (UK), Zeena Parkins, Dave Harrington Group, Sophia Brous & Special Guests @ Pioneer Works

A dazzling combination of mesmeric light, color and sound, Red Bull Music Festival New York presents the historic live reimagining of Bryon Gysin and William Burroughs’ seminal experiential invention, the dream machine. Described by Gysin as “the world’s first work of art designed to be viewed with eyes closed,” the invention brought about vivid hallucinations of brilliant color through the repeat exposure of high-intensity flicker light. In this immersive concert installation, multi-instrumentalist/composer Dave Harrington (Darkside), director-musician Sophia Brous and designers Wild Dogs come together to create an extended live meditation on the landmark invention, combining high-intensity strobe, immersive lighting and ceiling projection and a live dream soundtrack performed by a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of music luminaries, including legendary Moroccan Sufi trance ensemble The Master Musicians of Jajouka, British cellist Oliver Coates, harpist Zeena Parkins, Dave Harrington, Sophia Brous and more special guests to be announced. An unrepeatable event best experienced lying down and eyes closed.

Created by Sophia Brous, Dave Harrington and Wild Dogs International

Musical Directors: Dave Harrington and Sophia Brous

Set and lighting design: Wild Dogs International

Produced by SODA X Wild Dogs

Originally created for Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

May 12 & 13: Fever Ray with Nidia @ Brooklyn Hangar

One half of electronic duo The Knife, Swedish experimental electronic music artist Karin Dreijer made a solo debut as Fever Ray in 2009 with a hauntingly spectacular self-titled album. The record received international acclaim with its eerie, stripped-down vocals and piercing beats and melodies. While The Knife continued to release music, the future of the Fever Ray project remained uncertain to listeners until, without any prior announcement, Dreijer released their second album, Plunge, in October of last year. The album is distinctly more energetic and dynamic than its predecessor, both in its eclectic beats and lively melodies but also in its themes of sexual politics, feminism and sexuality. Celebrating the album’s release, Fever Ray brings a six woman strong live band to play their first US show in eight years. Expect a love bursting, joyful and explosive performance at this immersive event.

May 16: Red Bull Radio Live: Bien Buena with Riobamba and Uproot Andy

Join us live as Uproot Andy and Riobamba explore the diverse music that connects New York City to Latin America and the Caribbean at the Red Bull Music Festival New York. Highlighting the interconnectivity of genres like reggaetón, dembow, Latin trap, cumbia, baile funk, plena, champeta and many more, our hosts dive into the localized communities driving forward Latinx music culture. In this special show in front of a live audience, they’ll not only bring big tunes from the newest underground movements, Uproot Andy and Riobamba will trace the roots that form the foundation of these sounds, following the culture with a critical perspective toward history and context. Prendelo pero aprendelo.

May 17: serpentwithfeet: both moons

With his 2016 EP blisters and a recent duet with Björk on a remix of her track “Blissing Me,” Brooklyn-based artist serpentwithfeet has established himself as one of the most exciting new voices in music. Born and raised in Baltimore, his training in jazz, opera and choral singing is evident in his work, which is both sensual and spiritual in its intensity, interwoven with sparse and dramatic productions, and punctuated by classical instrumentation. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, serpentwithfeet will elaborate on his delicate vision in a unique Chelsea performance space.

May 18: Teeth & Nails with Bali Baby, Asian Doll, Rico Nasty, Lil Wop, Chicken, HANZ, DJ Kenn

A group of young and ruthless rappers inspired by horror flicks is disrupting hip-hop. Their digital DIY output–filled with menacing chopped and screwed sounds–draws you in like a slasher film, keeping you on the edge of your proverbial seat and sending chills down your spine. Part of the YouTube generation, each of these artists has quickly developed a cult-like following. Kill the suspense: Join us for a party with special performances and the most mayhem that hip-hop has to offer.

May 19: Reggaeton: Hasta Abajo  with The Noise (live), DJ Lobo, Rosa Pistola, Riobamba

Born out of the confluence of dancehall, hip-hop, and reggae en español, Reggaeton has evolved enormously from the mixtapes recorded in San Juan’s marquesinas to produce some of the world’s biggest stars. In celebration of the genre, Red Bull Music Festival New York will be reuniting early pioneers of the sound, The Noise. Founded in San Juan in the early 1990’s, the iconic collective of DJ’s, rappers and producers gave an early platform to current legends of Reggaeton. On support will be game-changers in the genre such as DJ Lobo, Rosa Pistola, and Riobamba.

May 20: Red Bull Radio Live: Peak Time with Vivian Host

Red Bull Radio’s Peak Time is your daily guide to everything fresh in music, from the best new tracks to breaking news, in-depth artist interviews to cultural commentary, event coverage and so much more. Each day, music journalist and DJ Vivian Host curates the world’s most interesting artists and sounds into two lively hours of radio that keep you up to date on what’s happening in music now. Normally taped live at Red Bull Radio’s Manhattan studios, Peak Time takes the stage in front of a live audience during the Red Bull Music Festival New York; expect an array of special guests and surprises.

May 21: A Conversation with Robyn, moderated by Kindness

Robyn’s career reads a bit like a film script: Swedish star hits the top of the charts, sidesteps the pop game for a more personal sound, and ends up self-sufficient and even bigger than before. This second chapter has included five Grammy nominations, appearances on Saturday Night Live and other television shows across the globe, iconic videos with millions of views, and a festival aimed at encouraging young women interested in programming, robotics, 3D printing, game development, electronic music, and more. In short, it’s been an incredible ride for this inspiring role model for artists everywhere. In this conversation moderated by artist and friend Kindness, Robyn will talk about how she got to this point – and what’s coming next.

May 22 + 24: Oneohtrix Point Never: MYRIAD @ Park Avenue Armory

Oneohtrix Point Never will premiere MYRIAD, a concert featuring his first full live touring ensemble together with special guests and visual collaborators, as part of Red Bull Music Festival New York. Using the scale of the Park Avenue Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall to explore disorienting forms at the intersection of theater, installation art, and music performance, the world premiere of MYRIAD will be presented as a four-part epochal song cycle.

(Note: This event is co-presented with the Park Avenue Armory, as part of their 2018 season. Part American palace, part industrial shed, Park Avenue Armory is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and supporting unconventional works in the visual and performing arts that need non-traditional spaces for their full realization. Citi and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the Armory’s 2018 Season Sponsors.)

May 23: ‘Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different’ NYC Film Premiere

One of the most important and influential voices of the funk era, Betty Davis is a pioneer who, through her genre-bending music, shattered the limits of R&B, funk and feminism. A woman ahead of her time, she has been a major influence on the generations of musicians who came up after her, not to mention the impact she had on her contemporaries including former husband Miles Davis. In the late 2000’s the rediscovery of her records reignited the flame that Davis so bravely set off over 40 years ago with her self-titled debut album. Nevertheless, it took five more years to bring her story to the screen. Since 2013, documentarian Phil Cox and his team have been working with Davis on a documentary about her life entitled They Say I’m Different, and will present the New York premiere at Red Bull Music Festival New York.

May 25: Brujas x Performance Space New York: Anti-Prom @ Performance Space New York

Founded in 2014, Brujas is a collective of radical gender self determined activists and skaters. What began as a group of friends pushing back against white and male-dominated skate culture has turned into an active movement against spaces steeped in traditions of bias and oppression. With forays into events and streetwear, the latter of which has been celebrated by major institutions and designers alike, Brujas’s core remains political and grassroots. Through a pilot streetwear project titled 1971 they raised awareness during a nationally coordinated prison strike and created a legal fund for for community members affected by the orisin system – and one of their many events, Anti-Prom, created a safe space for non-binary gender expresssion through fashion and dance. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, we’re proud to partner with Brujas to host their third annual Anti-Prom in conjunction with Performance Space New York.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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