NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - October 16, 2013) - Hundreds of thousands of people filled Times Square on a picture perfect fall day to experience the 2nd Annual CBGB Music and Film Festival's largest event: a concert featuring My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, Divine Fits, The Wallflowers, Lisa Loeb, a DJ set by James Murphy of DFA/LCD Soundsystem and dozens of other bands performing on multiple outdoor stages.
My Morning Jacket's set featured guests Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, TuNeYaRds' Merrill Garbus and Antibalas' horn section. Jakob Dylan joined the band for a rousing performance of "Don't Do It", echoing The Band's performance encore from the seminal film The Last Waltz.
Jim James of My Morning Jacket described his experience of performing on the CBGB Festival Stage in Times Square as "incredibly surreal and beautiful, like playing Red Rocks if Red Rocks was made of computers and light. The crowd had a great spirit! God Bless NYC!" The annual outdoor festival each Columbus Day Weekend will surely soon be one of the largest music events in North America.
The stages and festival grounds started on Broadway at 46th Street and stretched north towards Central Park for as far as the eye could see. Massive digital billboards and additional festival activities also extended south to 42nd Street giving the show an unmistakable feeling of New Year's Eve in Times Square but with better weather, better music and better food.
The CBGB Festival filled the streets with much more than music. Fans enjoyed extreme sports demos and booths with carefully curated music, clothing and crafts. This was a day that offered something for everyone -- including, in true punk spirit, a "smashing pumpkins" booth where kids could do just that.
The live music portion of the festival ended well past midnight on Saturday with an incredibly powerful performance by Ice T in the East Village. His show left the capacity crowd in awe as he displayed his unmatched ability to ignite excitement and passion in people.
Other festival highlights were the keynote addresses by Duff McKagan (Guns n' Roses/Velvet Revolver) and Van Toffler (President of Viacom's Music and Logo Group).
As an integral part of some of the most successful rock bands in history, Duff McKagan delivered the CBGB Music Festival Keynote. Leading the charge of rock music for three decades, McKagan continues to be a potent and venerable noisemaker in the industry. In his address, he laid out his advice for artists clearly: "New bands should be true and honest. F*** commerce. What you're doing should be in your heart. Money will come and you can deal with that all later."
Van Toffler delivered the overall Conference Keynote Speech on the state of the music industry in 2013. Toffler, who oversees a collection of the most successful and vibrant brands in music and entertainment as President of Viacom's Music and Logo Group, delivered a clear-eyed compelling assessment of the hierarchy of artists and media in the current environment.
In reviewing MTV's key role as a platform for the most creative artists, Toffler traced a line from Madonna to Nirvana to Kanye to Miley saying, "Speaking for MTV, we've been used, abused, and trampled upon by the best. Madonna played MTV like a mandolin…and we also never know what to expect when Kanye comes through the door, but we know enough to stand back and let him do his thing."
Summing up the festival, CBGB co-owner and festival executive producer, Tim Hayes said. "We want to make every Columbus Day weekend a time when the whole world can celebrate Hilly Kristal's dream of presenting live music to the largest audience possible. There is no better spot than the crossroads of the world, Times Square."
The CBGB Music and Film Festival aims to transform Columbus Day Weekend into a six-day, annual celebration that will include the largest outdoor concert in North America along with hundreds of other music themed events, "firsts" and special moments across New York City.
This week's CBGB Music & Film Festival featured 525 bands in over 175 venues. The festival also hosted more than 125 speakers and 60 new music based films and documentaries including Green Day's "Broadway Idiot."
James Murphy of DFA/LCD Soundsystem
Photo: Getty Images for CBGB. For a photoset from the Festival click here
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