Come for the canal and stay for the music at the first-ever Gowanus Block Party and concert series at The Bell House this September.
The block party, which is free to all, celebrates all things Gowanus and acts as a fundraiser for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and as a way to spread awareness of the environmental issues there.
While the neighborhood still struggles with sewage overflow, it’s a quickly budding area that has a community worth celebrating.
On Sept. 8, Gowanus will transform into a festival with beer gardens, ticketed games and installations including a native plant sale, representations by local businesses, like the Gowanus Souvenir Shop, and art installations by Arts Gowanus, Maggie Guardino Photography, Alicia Degener and Marlene Weisman and others.
Brooklyn’s dance party extraordinaire, The Rub, is providing the music, so expect to cut a rug.
In a “fortuitous accident,” the block party has been scheduled to coincide with a concert series at The Bell House that celebrates its 10th anniversary, according to the venue’s owner, Jim Carden.
The music hall/comedy stage/recording studio, which was founded in 2008, is bringing back its all-time favorite bands to perform 8 p.m. shows on Sept. 7 to 10.
- Sept. 7: Ex Hex (rock) with EZTV
- Sept. 8: Hot Snakes (indie rock) with The Gotobeds and SAVAK
- Sept. 9: Waxahatchee (indie rock) with Night Shop and Anna St. Louis
- Sept. 10: Shellac with E (post-rock, sold out)
The shows are $25.
The bands have played at the Bell House before and are The Bell House’s favorites, Carden told amNewYork.
“They’re always fantastic shows,” he said. “People can come knowing it’ll be a fun experience and they’ll see some really great bands.”
Looking over the past decade, Carden said that the Bell House has become a venue for new and veteran acts to experiment due to the open-mindedness of the audience.
“One of the things we look forward to in the next 10 years is continuing what has been our philosophy of providing a platform that gives artists the freedom to experiment, which you can’t often do in other places,” Carden said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time that translates into a really interesting audience experience. When they’re in front of a Bell House audience, they can try things and if they fail, they’re not failing in front of people who are not open-minded.”
That open environment has remained the same over 10 years, despite the neighborhood blossoming around it with new businesses, including Whole Foods.
“I have lived all over Brooklyn and I always knew Gowanus was a gem of a neighborhood because there was so much opportunity,” he said. “It’s literally surrounded by really interesting neighborhoods and it seemed like a great testing ground. It offered cheaper rents and more space, which was a big appeal. I felt like it was inevitable that the neighborhood would come around. It’s a really cool, fun place to be when a neighborhood is developing in a way where there are new and exciting things happening.”
The block party runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Sept. 8, on Seventh Street, between Second and Third avenues.
Check out tickets for the anniversary events at thebellhouseny.com.