This festival is ordering up burgers with a side of fright.
“The Burgers, Bourbon & Beethoven Festival” is bringing sliders, booze and classical music to one place — between the headstones and mausoleums of Green-Wood Cemetery.
On May 25, from 7 to 10 p.m., Green-Wood’s tombstone-saturated lawn will be full of the living, who will use the Burger Club app to vote on which purveyor makes the better hamburger — Harlem Public or Madcap Cafe — and enjoy live musical performances all night.
The event kicks off with a jazz band and some chamber music amid the mausoleums, plus sliders being served from the two providers. Once everyone has rated their sliders on the app (results will be shown on a live leader board), the winning joint will win the “golden spatula.”
Everyone will then gather back at the cemetery’s main entrance for a live performance of Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.
Andrew Ousley, who created the Burger Club — a “merry band of meat marauders” who search the city for the finest hamburgers — is organizing the festival and says that it will be the “best event ever conceived in the history of humanity.”
The event is essentially the culmination of Ousley’s life — he is also the curator of The Crypt Sessions and The Angel’s Share, a pair of classical concert events with whiskey tastings that are held in the city’s cemeteries, so he is very comfortable at Green-Wood.
“There are three very different aspects to this festival, but they are very important and glorious ones,” he told amNewYork.
Hanging out among the dead was not so creepy as it seems to be today, either.
“The cemetery used to be more popular than Central Park … but then zombie movies came out and people got freaked out and the macabre filtered into our culture,” he said. “It was usual to sit among your loved ones from the past.”
But why Beethoven?
Ousley wants other people to understand classical music the way he does. It’s not pretentious; it should be accessible to everyone, he said.
“Beethoven is one of the reasons why I work in classical music,” he said. “It was the first classical music that grabbed me and appealed to me and told me a story without being able to read scores or musical structures … it’s incredibly emotional and yet still rich, complex and powerful.”
If you go: Buy your tickets for the May 25 event at green-wood.com. They are $80 per person and only for those 21 and older. There will be vegan options available. The rain date is May 26.