Arts Watch: CBGB Alive and Well at the CBGB Festival

CBGB, the legendary rock club long associated with the bands that spawned the punk-rock music scene, may have closed its doors six years ago but its music still lives on. And this week, in homage to the club that once lived on the Bowery, the CBGB Festival makes its debut with an incredible line up of live music stages, film premieres and screenings, and conference panels at 40 venues over  four days.

Founded by Hilly Kristal in 1973 on the principle of only showcasing artists who performed original material, CBGB became an incubator for the diverse underground scene of New York in the 1970s and early ’80s. As early as 1976, it was a hot bed of what would later be considered “iconic music talent” including the Ramones, Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, Blondie, Television, The Dead Boys, Suicide and The Fleshtones, to name a few.

Staying true to the original mission of CBGB & OMFUG, (for those of you who don’t know, CBGB and OMFUG stands for Country, Blue Grass and Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers) the CBGB Festival will focus on new music and emerging young bands, with the goal of helping new artists grow, gain visibility and be seen by the music industry. “We are thrilled to provide bands the opportunity to open for a headliner or one of their musical inspirations,” said Tim Hayes, Producer of the CBGB Festival.

Over 300 bands will showcase their  talent this week in venues all over town including several on the LES: Fontana‘s, The Living Room, The Delancey, and Pianos. In additionThe Landmark Sunshine Cinema on East Houston street will play host to a series of rock themed film premieres, screenings and Q/As, including the world premiere of  “The Rise and Fall of The Clash,”  a documentary about the untold story of the implosion of the legendary band at the height of success.  The festibal touts two days of music industry panels with industry veterans that will be informing young artists on how to succeed in today’s ever-changing music business.

The Keynote Speaker, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, opens the conference on Thursday.  Other festival highlights include Agnostic Front reprising their infamous performance from 1989s, Live at CBGB at Webster Hall with NY hardcore favorites, Madballthe Cro-Mags, Vision of Disorder and Sick of It All.

Complimenting the festival’s incredible roster is a line up of rock ‘n roll comedy and improv shows curated by the Upright Citizens Brigade and SiriusXM’s Jake Fogelnest at the UCBEast Theater in the East Village.

For detailed information on line up schedules and to purchase festival passes go to