Prefacing the annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, in its inaugural year, The New Colossus Festival is trying to satiate the void that was left by the College Music Journal Music Festival. The last iteration of the CMJ music festival was held in 2015 and since then at least a dozen of those music venues that participated annually have been shuttered or swallowed up by a live entertainment conglomerate, namely the likes of the Cake Shop and The Mercury Lounge. With the lukewarm reception for the traditional music festival in the New York-area, the multi-venue buffet-like music event was the only type that seemed to feel right.

Rather than trying to recreate the ambitious scale of CMJ, The New Colossus Festival is contained within close proximity in Lower East Side, with a partnership between the cluster of venues that remain there. Attendees are treated to a multitude of sets, both day and night, across the span of three full days with bands local to the New York metro area and international bands passing through the Northeast to SXSW.

The participating venues; Coney Island Baby, Piano’s, The Bowery Electric, The Delancey, Arlene’s Grocery, and Berlin; host roughly 5 - 7 bands per night, more if there are additional performance spaces within. Over the course of three days, we were treated with sounds of the divine to the searing, as well as everything in between.

Beautiful sets from Yohuna, Living Hour and MUNYA, left us dreaming long after experiencing them. Go Cactus, Kings of the Beach and Body Type had us grooving, with the Fruit Tones, flirting and Basement Revolver delivered dynamic sets.

In its first year, The New Colossus Festival brings a missed joy of venue hopping and indulging on a multitude of sets over the course of a few days. We’re certainly hoping for its success in years to come.