Free festival presented by Revolutionary Spaces and featuring Chanon Judson, Grace Galu Kalambay, Pyeng Threadgill, Frank London, and Porsha Olayiwola kicks off 250th Tea Party Commemoration
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sloane Wilton
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BOSTON — Revolutionary Spaces presents the Raising Voices Festival: A Celebration of Music, Art, and the Power of Protest on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, 2023. The free, multi-disciplinary festival in the heart of downtown Boston will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party—one of the most influential protests in American history. Featured artists include Chanon Judson, Co-Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women; Grace Galu Kalambay, a vocalist, actor, and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist; Pyeng Threadgill, a vocalist/songwriter who performs a mix of soul, jazz, folk and blues; Frank London, a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and member of the Klezmatics; and Porsha Olayiwola, the current poet laureate for the City of Boston, who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas.
The public is invited to walk in the footsteps of revolutionaries who came before us during this weekend-long event featuring a range of performances and attractions from local and national artists and community partners. Revolutionary Space’s Washington Street campus—from the Old State House to Old South Meeting House and beyond—will be activated with experiences for people of all ages. Festival-goers will encounter musicians, dancers, actors, poets, and artists, as well as community pop-ups, food vendors, sidewalk and storefront activations, and a family area with a sensory-friendly zone. The street festivities will take place from 11:00 am-6:00 pm on Saturday and from 11:00 am-5:00 pm on Sunday.
“The Raising Voices Festival was created to uplift and celebrate voices of revolution from the past, present, and future,” said Revolutionary Spaces President & CEO Nathaniel Sheidley. “As we prepare to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party later this year, we honor Boston’s rich history as the birthplace of American protest and the cradle of change that has shaped our nation. Revolutionary Spaces is proud to set the stage and amplify diverse voices and the spirit of revolution, and to engage the Greater Boston community in this important conversation around democracy and free speech.”
Along Washington Street will be the Raising Voices’ Artist Village with the fine arts and crafts of local creators on display and available for purchase as these artists explore mutual aid as a form of protest through community-building.
“The ultimate goal of the Artist Village is to provide a safe space for connection and opportunities for all involved,” said Thamar Jean Fedestin, curator of the Raising Voices’ Artist Village and co-founder of Creatives of Color Boston. “Vendors will be encouraged to barter with each other, which will allow them to build connections and grow their network. Festival attendees will also be encouraged to participate in the Mutual Aid tent, where they will be able to connect, trade goods, and share stories.”
Summer Street will also feature a beer garden hosted by Democracy Brewing, a downtown Boston-based, worker-owned brewery and pub. Other food and beverage vendors will cook up delicious eats at the Boston Irish Famine Memorial on Washington Street, while highlighting food activism and food insecurity issues.
On both Saturday and Sunday evenings, Revolutionary Spaces will host its Raising Voices Presents programs at Old South Meeting House. On Saturday at 7:30 pm, Raising Voices Presents “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music”: Film Screening & Discussion with Taylor Mac. Audiences will view the documentary about Taylor Mac’s one-time-only, 24-hour immersive theatrical experience followed by an engaging conversation with the MacArthur Genius Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist. On Sunday at 7:00 pm, Raising Voices Presents Garage Dance Ensemble. Based in O’Kiep in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, this dance company demonstrates the redemptive and healing power of the creative and performing arts even in the most desolate of circumstances.
The Raising Voices Festival is free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of Meet Boston and the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District. Additionally, Porsha Olayiwola’s program at Faneuil Hall is made possible by support from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, the National Parks of Boston, and the National Parks Service’s Interpretation & Education Civil Rights Fund. Pre-registration for the festival is highly encouraged. To pre-register and for schedule and artist updates, visit: revolutionaryspaces.org/explore/raising-voices. Tickets to the Raising Voices Presents programs will be available in early August.
ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY SPACES
Formed in January 2020 through a merger between the Bostonian Society and Old South Association, Revolutionary Spaces tells the interwoven stories of two of Boston’s most iconic sites—the Old State House and Old South Meeting House. Revolutionary Spaces brings people together to explore the American struggle to create and sustain a free society. We steward these buildings as gathering spaces for the open exchange of ideas and the continuing practice of democracy, inspiring all who believe in the power of people to govern themselves.
Constructed in 1713, the Old State House was the center of royal government in the Massachusetts Bay colony and the focal point for many of the Revolution’s most dramatic events, including the Boston Massacre. Built in 1729, the Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston and the site of the most stirring mass meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution. Today, these historic sites and museums—located just two blocks from each other in the heart of downtown Boston—provide thought-provoking exhibits, compelling walking tours, exciting educational offerings, and engaging public programs.
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