As we get closer to the kick-off of the much anticipated High Line Festival, let's take a closer look at what's to come, and at the man who co-founded and curated the whole thing, David Bowie. The eleven days of music, film, art and comedy starts Wednesday at Radio City Music Hall. Who else to play the first event at the inaugural festival than Bowie-beloved Arcade Fire? Pair 'em up with Brooklyn's The National and you've got a lineup that already beats most out there.
The NY Times reports that the point of the festival events, according to Bowie himself, is to “put on what I would go and see. I love that word ‘curate.’ One of the definitions is someone who oversees a zoo.” So What Would David Bowie Do (and see)?
He's booked old and new friends and favorites, so it wasn't a surprise to see Arcade Fire on the bill, nor was it to see Laurie Anderson, TV on the Radio, The Secret Machines and Ricky Gervais. He also has some not as well known acts on there that seem a bit obscure, though he tells the Times that the point “is not to dig out as many obscure and unknown acts as possible. It’s to put on what I would go and see. There are certain artists you just never miss; when they come into town you go and see them. That’s how I treat virtually all of the people that are on this.” So if you were thinking of skipping 87-year old “word jazz” artist Ken Nordine or “kamikaze cabaret” performer Meow Meow, maybe think twice.
The festival is taking a page from the UK's Meltdown Festival, which is going on its 14th year and uses a guest curator each time (this year, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker). So who will curate the High Line next year? The other founders of the festival (David Binder and Josh Wood) say that “one year we might have an iconic rock music figure, the next a rap star or a film director or fashion designer,” but that no one has been chosen for 2008 yet. No doubt Bowie will leave some tough shoes to fill. Check out the full schedule of events here, and Time Out New York's preview here.
One thing we hope they clarify by that time, and what's pretty interesting right now, is the connection to the High Line itself (you know, the thing that started this entire brand). While many of the events of the festival take place near the High Line and some of the proceeds go to benefit its conservation efforts, Bowie himself said he had never been on the High Line and had “no particular feelings about it.”