Little Island Unveils Free Monthlong Festival With Over 450 Artists

The festival, which runs from Aug. 11 to Sept. 5, features a flurry of music, dance, and comedy performances from both established and emerging artists.

Little Island was dreamed up as a haven for the performing arts on the Hudson River, and in its first months, it is also being put forward as a playground for artists who have been kept from the stage for far too long.

The operators of the island announced on Tuesday that it would host a free monthlong arts festival starting in mid-August that would feature more than 450 artists in more than 160 performances.

There will be dance, including works curated by Misty Copeland, Robert Garland and Georgina Pazcoguin. There will be music, including the pianists Jenny Lin and Adam Tendler, the composer Tyshawn Sorey and the saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and her band. And there will be live comedy, with television stars like Ziwe and Bowen Yang in the lineup.

The festival — which is being produced by Mikki Shepard, formerly the executive producer of the Apollo Theater — is another major effort by New York’s performing arts community to revive the arts after the pandemic darkened theaters and concert halls for over a year. For the performers, it is an opportunity to get paid to create new work and explore where their art is heading after months of pandemic restrictions, and in the wake of racial justice protests that swept the country.

“We wanted artists to have a voice in terms of, where are they now?” Shepard said. “Coming out of this pandemic, where do they want to be?”

By offering free performances, the festival’s objective is to host an audience that combines typical arts patrons with people who might not normally buy tickets to see live music or dance. The performances in Little Island’s 687-seat amphitheater will be

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