Ten weeks of free, family-friendly outdoor concerts return to Downtown Utica this summer.
The Levitt AMP Utica Music Series announced its lineup of artists who will perform at Kopernik Park in Downtown Utica this summer. Concerts will take place on Monday nights from 6-9 pm, June 20 – August 29 (no concert on the 4th of July).
The 2022 season will feature headlining artists from New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, Iowa, Virginia, Rhode Island, Canada, and right here in New York State. The concerts also feature opening local and regional acts and youth intermission acts. The diverse lineup of high-caliber talent spans genres like pop, soul, country, R&B, hip hop, and more.
6:00 pm: opening bands
7:00 pm: youth intermission acts
7:30 pm: headliner bands
The series welcomes the most diverse audience in the city, in a family-friendly, non-alcoholic, joyful, welcoming environment. It is a space where social bonding can happen week-to-week and the community can share a common experience with free live music as the vehicle. The concerts help increase communal well-being and connectedness and add a quality of life enhancement that complements the many economic development projects that are happening in Utica.
The concerts are sponsored in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national funder of creative placemaking that empowers communities to inject new life into underused public spaces through free, outdoor concerts. The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is a presenting sponsor for the sixth season of live concerts. Partners in the series include Rust 2 Green Utica, DeSales Center, the City of Utica, and Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Utica Monday Nite is the fiscal sponsor for the series. Premier season sponsors include Empire Recycling, the M&T Bank/Partners Trust Bank Charitable Fund, Bank of Utica, and The Fountainhead Group.
The public is invited to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs to the concerts. The series will also offer art activities for young concert-goers and food trucks will be on site.
Kopernik Park is located at 317 Genesee Street at the corner of Eagle Street and Park Avenue near DeSales. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Utica is one of 18 small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to win a Levitt AMP Grant Award of $25,000 in matching funds to present a free concert series at Kopernik Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 series was postponed and the funding applied to the 2021 season. The grant was automatically awarded to all grantees for the 2022 season and the Levitt AMP Utica team has recently submitted a new grant application for multi-year funding to bring this popular free series back to Utica for the 2023-2025 seasons.
Utica Monday Nite (UMN) is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, UMN (Utica Monday Nite) For The Arts is the brainchild of founder Lynne Mishalanie, whose passion for shining a light on the brilliance of the community’s arts created an enduring legacy of economic benefit and civic pride. Continuing to provide the community with a broad spectrum of artistic experiences, its primary purpose is to act as advocates and activists in support of the arts, and in recognition of their valuable contributions to the region’s quality of life.
The non-profit organization currently serves as a fiscal sponsor for the Levitt AMP Utica Music Series.
Visit Facebook.com/Utica-Monday-Nite for more information.
The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is a national funder of creative placemaking that empowers towns and cities across America to transform underused public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2019, more than 550 free Levitt concerts will take place in 26 towns and cities, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high-caliber talent. Learn more at levitt.org.
The 2022 Levitt AMP Utica Lineup:
June 20 – The New Respects
Opener: Ladies of Soul and Their Gentlemen
The New Respects are a “pop, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll” family affair and have been named the Levitt Foundation’s National Touring Band for 2022. The Fitzgerald siblings – Darius and twins Alexandria “Zandy” and Alexis “Lexi” — and their cousin Jasmine Mullen deliver funky, high-energy, exuberant blues-rock.
Nashville-based, they grew up around the city’s vibrant Christian music community, started their band in high school, and grew their style and sound from indie rock to all-out rock. With all members of the quartet in their twenties, you’ll hear hints from their inspirations – Lenny Kravitz, Alabama Shakes, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones. Their music emulates freedom and fun and family.
June 27 – Roberta Lea
Opener: J. Schnitt
With a voice like cinnamon and a pen like butter, Roberta Lea is a rising artist, ready to give the world a taste of what she’s made of. Fellow artists have called her Hampton Roads’ best-kept secret. It’s as though she’s a family recipe, kept hidden until now.
Not pursuing music until age 35, she is now in line to be one of the next iconic artists and hitmakers to come out of Virginia. She goes from classic country to country soul, country rock, pop country, and country folk. As a songwriter, she has no limits when it comes to expressing herself through song and telling a good story.
July 11 – B2wins
Opener: Filled to the Brim
Walter and Wagner Caldas, 31-year-old identical twins better known as the Brazilian 2wins or “B2wins” bring youthful exuberance and optimism to the stage with instrumental music ranging from pop to hip hop and iconic classics reimagined. Every song drips with originality and is coupled with thick musicianship. This is why everyone from jazz junkies and reggae lovers, to classical aficionados and hip hop heads, all leave smiling with their own comparisons of who they sound like. Growing up poor in the very dangerous slums of Rio de Janeiro, playing the violin was their escape from that reality and has taken them around the world. Now, their mission is to make the world smile.
July 18 – Argonaut & Wasp
Opener: The Rollin’ Rust
They formed over a love for house/dance music while living in Burlington, Vermont among a thriving jam scene. Now hailing from Brooklyn and obsessed with ’70s fashion, ’80s synths, and ’90s culture, Argonaut & Wasp are a quirky amalgamation of indie vibes, alternative edge, electro, dance, and funk grooves whose music has been described as the perfect soundtrack to NYC. Their new album – written during lockdown – is about looking up and getting beyond yourself, and needing the opportunity to get a larger perspective to guide us in the future.
July 25 – Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
From: New Orleans
Curley Taylor and his band, Zydeco Trouble, hail from the heart of Creole country in Louisiana. Curley’s soulful, bluesy vocals and the band’s hard-driving zydeco beat blend to create their unique style of zydeco and blues that keeps audiences dancing. Curley began his career at 16 playing drums in his father’s band and by his twenties, he was playing with some of Louisiana’s musical legends and he picked up the accordion. Curley’s music is true to its roots in Zydeco and Blues, but contemporary enough to appeal to a broad range of music lovers.
August 1 – Bassel & the Supernaturals
Opener: The Lower Tolpa
Syrian Heart. Chicago Soul. Bassel & The Supernaturals tells the story of Bassel Almadani’s experience as a first-generation Syrian-American using soulful melodies, funk-inspired rhythms, and captivating lyrics regarding love, loss, and the war in Syria. In addition to performing in major festivals, performance halls, concert series, and clubs – the group works closely with organizations on events and residencies that build awareness and empathy for Syrian refugees. Inspired by Otis Redding, Bassel became fascinated by the ability of artists to effectively tell a story through their music, even in deeply divided times.
August 8 – The Big Takeover Band
From: Hudson Valley, NY
Opener: Uncle Charlie and the Meatballs
Fronted by the charismatic Jamaican-born singer and songwriter Nee Nee Rushie, the seven-piece New York band The Big Takeover plays original music that is rooted in and reverent toward the genres and rhythms of Jamaican pop: reggae, rocksteady, ska.
They are devotees of Desmond Dekker and the way the old school did it. At the same time, The Big Takeover crosses lines and blends traditions like global pop fusionists. Their deceptively complex arrangements and big hooks connect with the spirit of Motown and the uptown sophistication of the 21st-century retro soul and R&B revival scene.
August 15 – Miranda Writes
Genre: Hip Hop
From: New York City
Two Openers: Nazzy and Leeky XIV
Miranda Writes is a hip-hop artist from New York known for her modern yet back-to-basics sound with strong lyrics and diversified beats. She throws down wicked wordplay, Caribbean beat, and feel-good vibes along with a raw, classic New York style.
Despite not being signed to a major label, Writes’ 2018 single “Too Blessed” rose to number five in the Digital DJ Pool charting alongside Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, and Ciara. Her music has always featured positive messages and a focus on her community.
Featured in Forbes Magazine earlier this year, she is celebrated as a Burton ambassador, that is she is the first biracial female hip hop artist to cross over into the snowboarding market.
In 2018, Writes became the NYC Ambassador for the Chill Foundation, which Burton Snowboards founders Jake Burton Carpenter and Donna Carpenter founded in 1995 and works with approximately 3,000 kids annually. Her single “Be About It” features the Chill NYC youth, with all proceeds donated to the organization.
August 22 – Ariel Posen
Genre: Rock/Electric Americana
From: Winnepeg, Canada
Opener: Cait Devin
Hailing from Winnipeg, Ariel Posen is “one of the most exciting guitar players around” with show-stopping extended solos and a rootsy sound that nods to his influences — heartland rock & roll, electrified Americana, blue-eyed soul, R&B, and Beatles-inspired pop. Guitar Player wants you to know that “you will witness slide and single-note sleight-of-hand that leaves your jaw on the floor.”
Spending music of his childhood on the road with his musical parents, the Canadian guitar genius began playing at nine years old, kicking off a career that eventually found him traveling the globe for his own gigs, including shows as a member of the Juno Award-winning, roots-rock band The Bros. Landreth.
August 29 – Eh Shawnee
From: Providence, Rhode Island
Opener: ZZ Trio
Shawnee Taveras is a Dominican-American singer-songwriter from Providence, Rhode Island who brings the heat to the stage with high-energy salsa and a multi-faceted band that provides a layered sound that’s impossible not to dance to.
In 2019, Taveras was awarded the Premio Conga de la Salsa in the Dominican Republic for best new musical act.
She has had top ten singles in the Dominican Republic and has toured extensively in that country as well as on the US East Coast. She is a media personality at Telemundo in Providence.