Emerging Music Festival

Friday, August 23, 6:00pm–10:00pm

Sammy Rae & The Friends, Morningsiders, Celisse, and The Muckers

Eight on-the-rise bands perform on one of the biggest stages of their young careers.

Emerging Music Festival returns for its fifth year on August 23–24 with thousands of music lovers packing the Bryant Park lawn for New York's best new music, including indie rock, soul, singer-songwriter, and more.

Friday’s lineup:

Singer/songwriter and bandleader Samantha Bowers began writing songs at age 12 and, by age 18, had written and released three LPs. In 2016, Sammy Rae & The Friends (SR&TF) were born from a collection of talented musicians and friends. SR&TF would play shows around the NY Metro area as Sam kept composing and sharpening her craft, culminating in the July 2018 release of the self-produced EP The Good Life’ premiered to a sold-out crowd at C’Mon Everybody in Brooklyn. The release marked a fresh start for the seasoned vocalist showcasing her skills as a composer, arranger, lyricist, and bandleader on her fourth release. Since the release of their single ‘Saw It Coming,’ The Friends have enjoyed 6 sold-out shows in New York at well-known venues such as Knitting Factory, Bowery Electric, DROM, and Rockwood Music Hall. The lyrics focus on themes of coming-of-age, defiance, and self-expression. Her genre blending performances are high-energy, honest and quirky, influenced by the great performances of her childhood classic rock heroes.

Morningsiders are a duo who started making music together in college. After actively touring for a couple years, they decided that they’re big fans of making music together, but not fans of being conjoined at the hip in a stuffy rental car worrying that they’re gonna miss soundcheck. Now Magnus lives in Boston, pursuing a doctorate in Philosophy and nursing his obsession of the folk ballads of the British isles. Reid is in New York pursuing music through a solo project and studio work, and works as a part-time wedding officiant. They continue to write, record, and release music on Spotify and other streaming platforms as much living in different cities allows. Their music has appeared in several movies and commercials, and has been featured on several prominent Spotify Playlists, such as Feel-Good Indie Rock, Totally Stress-Free, New Music Friday in several countries, Songs Taylor Loves (yes, Taylor Swift) and several others.

Celisse Henderson is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer and spoken word artist. Her deep and varied career has seen her in concert, at venues ranging from the Beacon Theater, supporting Mariah Carey, Madison Square Garden supporting Kesha at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, The Greek Theater in Trey Anastasio’s Ghosts of the Forest, and the Apollo Theater with Melissa Etheridge; as well starring in the recent revival of Godspell at Circle in the Square Theater, singing in Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom at Joe’s Pub at The Public; and appearing on television, in PBS’s The Electric Company, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, The Big C and more. But it’s her prodigious talents as a singer-songwriter and musician that have defined Celisse the most as an artist. Her original music, powered by her soulful voice, is hard-rocking and blues-tinged with infectious hooks that stay with you.

Dubbed "one of New York’s most exciting new bands" by DIY Magazine, The Muckers formed in the city of Tehran, Iran, before landing in NYC in the summer of 2017, where they’ve forged a reputation for an exhilarating live show, supporting the likes of Shannon and The Clams, Broncho, Jacuzzi Boys, and Rey Pila. Last November, they released a 3-track effort boasting unapologetic funk-laden disco grooves tied together with early-aughts-MTV-era guitar licks, lauded “a record that shimmers with fire and possibility” in a recent Rolling Stone profile retracing the band’s formation, “a story of sacrifice, conviction and persistence against huge odds,” which frontman Emir Mohseni also recounted in details via Billboard.

Check out the Picnic Performances page to see the full summer lineup and plan your visit!

Part of the Emerging Music Festival program.