Daylong festival to feature bouquet of East Side arts, music, food & history
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, in collaboration with the BPO diversity council, the Central Terminal Restoration Corp. and New York State Sen. Timothy Kennedy, will present a free one-day East Side Festival celebrating the cultural heritage of the East Side neighborhood of Buffalo and the 90th anniversary of the Central Terminal, the historic Art Deco landmark railroad station nestled on Buffalo’s East Side.
The festival will be held at the terminal from 1:30-9 p.m. Saturday, July 13, and is free and open to the public – no tickets or reservations required. Throughout the day, visitors to the terminal will experience the rich history of Buffalo’s East Side as seen through the lens of the cultural and culinary organizations that still thrive there, including concessions from Mad Sauces Catering and Broadway Market vendors, and talent from Buffalo’s Colored Musicians Club, Pine Grill Reunion, the African American Cultural Center, Harmony Polish Dancers, the German-American Musicians Association, and All City Gospel Youth Choir. Arts and cultural organizations will comprise a Cultural Row, and East Side artists will sell their artwork in the Artisan Gallery, representing the East Side collective devoted to the arts, entertainment, culture and history of the East Side. Additionally, free docent-led tours of the Central Terminal will take place at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
The festival culminates with a full symphonic performance by the BPO at 7:30 p.m., featuring music from the era in which the Central Terminal first opened its doors in 1929, and repertoire reflective of the neighborhood from 1830 to present time. WIVB-TV Channel 4 news anchors Jacquie Walker and Don Postles, media sponsor of the festival, will introduce the performance.
Organizers said, “The East Side of Buffalo has long been one of the most devitalized areas in the city.”
After years of abandonment, the Central Terminal, a once-thriving railway hub until its closure in 1979, is now owned by the nonprofit preservation group Central Terminal Restoration Corp., which is working to restore and re-purpose the complex.
Organizers added, “The BPO has the unique and exciting opportunity to take its world-class musicianship out of the concert hall and into a nontraditional space much in need of awareness and rejuvenative support.”
“Through the East Side Festival, we are privileged to feature businesses, cultural partners, artists and performers that are committed to, and representative of, those who live and do business on the East Side of Buffalo, in the past, present and future,” said Daniel Hart, BPO executive director. “The BPO is committed to presenting live symphonic music for all Western New Yorkers. We are thrilled for this opportunity to bring the music of the BPO to East Side audiences.”
Event co-chairs, and chairs of the BPO’s diversity council, Otis N. Glover and the Rev. Melody Rutherford, said they are pleased the BPO is able to provide the East Side Festival to the community free of charge.
“There can be barriers to our neighbors seeing their orchestra – perhaps due to the financial commitment or because of lack of transportation to Kleinhans Music Hall,” Glover said.
Rutherford added, “People who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience this beautiful orchestra and the historically significant music it will be performing will be able to do so because the orchestra is bringing the music to them.”
Kennedy said, “When my office approached the BPO about partnering on this concert, they were instantly onboard and excited by the opportunity to bring our city’s cultural and art providers together at such an iconic Buffalo landmark. My office has been proud to work alongside their incredible team, the tireless advocates at the CTRC, and my fellow colleagues in government to bring this vision alive. Our hope is that this is just the beginning of restoring this piece of Buffalo’s history to its full glory.”
“We hope that the East Side Festival will raise much-needed awareness for the Central Terminal,” said Paul Lang, vice chairman of the Central Terminal Restoration Corp. board of directors. “Although much work still needs to be done to stabilize and repair the complex, the festival will open eyes to the possibilities of this beautiful landmark space, the redevelopment of which we see as an important centerpiece toward the revitalization of the East Side of Buffalo.”
“M&T is delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor this festival, which celebrates the history and cultural diversity of Buffalo’s East Side," said Brad Dossinger, group vice president, community development, M&T Bank. "As a bank, we understand the importance of supporting and promoting diverse talent and voices, which strengthen our institution, just as it strengthens our community. We join with the BPO and the partners in this project to make this festival a day to celebrate Buffalo’s East Side.”
Interest and participation from the community grew as word of the East Side Festival reached the community. The schedule for the daylong East Side Festival is as follows (note an earlier start time than previously announced):
Cultural Row participants include: African American Cultural Center, BPO diversity council, Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Jericho Road Community Health Center and Torn Space Theater.
The Artisan Gallery will feature the work of eclectic East Side artists hand-selected by the BPO diversity council in collaboration with Juneteenth Festival. The following artists will sell their work with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the artist: A Joyful Impression & Divinity Holistics, Classic Knot, Kathy’s Kloset Boutique and Muhammad Z. Zaman.
Additional community partners include the Buffalo Public School Parent Engagement Office and Northland Workforce Training Center.
Food concessions will be available for purchase by East Side business Mad Sauces Catering, with specialty desserts and treats also for sale from the following Broadway Market vendors: Chrusicki Bakery, Sweet Temptations du Jour and Sweet Whisk. Wine, beer, soda and water will be available for purchase by East Side company Pretty Girls on the Rocks.
Additional support for the BPO’s East Side Festival has been provided by Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund at Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Iroquois Bar Corp., National Grid, Councilman David Franczyk, Councilman Christopher Scanlon, Councilman David Rivera, Councilman Ulysees Wingo Sr., Congressman Brian Higgins, Majority Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Mayor Byron Brown.