Putin Speaks Out On Ukraine, Crimea And US Relations – Video Of Interview

 

“We do not intend to revive the Russian Empire”

Vladimir Putin faced a barrage of tricky questions from French media ahead of his meeting with world leaders at the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Here are his best replies on key issues: Ukraine, Crimea and relations with the US. Posted June 05, 2014

 

Information Clearing House

Posted June 05, 2014

 
Putin to French media: Russian troops in Ukraine? Got any proof? (FULL INTERVIEW)
 

 

 

 

Transcript

QUESTION (via interpreter): Good afternoon Mr President. Good afternoon, President Putin. Thank you very much for agreeing to give this exclusive interview to Radio Europe 1 and the TF1 TV channel at your Sochi residence. On Thursday evening you will meet with President Francois Hollande in the Elysee Palace, and the next day you will attend the D-Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration. This will be your first trip to the beaches of Normandy, and you will be the first Russian President to attend the ceremony. What do you as a Russian citizen think about being invited to this exceptional ceremony?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: This will be an important event for Europe and the rest of the world. We will pay tribute to those who prevented Nazism from enslaving Europe, and I believe that Russia’s attendance is a momentous event. The thing is that Russia and the anti-Hitler coalition countries, including France, were allies in that struggle for freedom, and my country played a vital and maybe even the decisive role in defeating Nazism. But we’ll never forget the French Resistance fighters and the French soldiers who fought side by side with us on the Soviet-German front, which is also called the Eastern front. I believe that this should not only remind us about our history, but also help to promote our relations now and in the future.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Of course, you and Russia will take your rightful place on the beaches of Normandy. You lived in the Soviet Union until you were 40, you saw its collapse, and now you are actively contributing to Russia’s revival. What would you like to see happen now? What are your goals? Is Russia’s strategy a path of dialogue or expansion and conquest?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, a policy of expansionism and conquest has no future in the modern world. We’re confident that Russia can and should be a partner with its traditional allies, in the broad sense, now and also in the future.

This is what we want, and this is what we will keep working towards. We see no other way to develop relations with our neighbours and all other countries.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you want to defend the Russian nation or to become the symbol of Russian nationalism and the Russian Empire? We remember what you said about the Soviet Union’s dissolution. You said that it was the worst geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. You also said that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those who want to restore it have no brains. You have brains. What do you propose: Russian nationalism, or the restoration of the Russian Empire to its previous borders?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We will not promote Russian nationalism, and we do not intend to revive the Russian Empire. What did I mean when I said that the Soviet Union’s collapse was one of the largest humanitarian – above all humanitarian – disasters of the 20th century? I meant that all the citizens of the Soviet Union lived in a union state irrespective of their ethnicity, and after its collapse 25 million Russians suddenly became foreign citizens. It was a huge humanitarian disaster. Not a political or ideological disaster, but a purely humanitarian upheaval. Families were divided; people lost their jobs and means of subsistence, and had no means to communicate with each other normally. This was the problem.

QUESTION (via interpreter): And what about the future?

Do you want to restore the empire within the former borders or do you want to continue developing your country within your own borders?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We want to develop our country within our own borders, of course. But – and this is very important – like other countries in other parts of the world, we want to use modern policies to improve our competitive advantage, including economic integration. This is what we are doing in the post-Soviet space within the Customs Union and now also within the Eurasian Union.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr Putin, we are now talking about why a neighbouring country, Ukraine, is being torn apart by war. There is no other word for it. Now pro-Russian forces want to breach Ukraine’s borders. Who can stop them and what is your policy?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I wouldn’t call them either pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian. They are people who have certain rights, political, humanitarian rights, and they must have a chance to exercise those rights.

For example, in Ukraine governors are still appointed by Kiev. After the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev last February, the first thing the new authorities tried to do was deprive the ethnic minorities of the right to use their native language. This caused great concern among the people living in eastern Ukraine.

QUESTION: You did not let this happen but are you saying that we are on the verge of another Cold War?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I hope we are not on the verge of any war. Second, I insist that people – wherever they live – have their rights and they must be able to fight for them. That’s the point.

QUESTION: Is there any risk of a war? Now, as we see tanks on their way from Kiev, many people in France are asking this question. Were you tempted to send troops to eastern Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: This is an interview, which implies short questions and short answers. But if you have patience and give me a minute, I will tell you how we see it. Here’s our position. What actually happened there? There was a conflict and that conflict arose because the former Ukrainian president refused to sign an association agreement with the EU. Russia had a certain stance on this issue. We believed it was indeed unreasonable to sign that agreement because it would have a grave impact on the economy, including the Russian economy. We have 390 economic agreements with Ukraine and Ukraine is a member of the free trade zone within the CIS. And we wouldn’t be able to continue this economic relationship with Ukraine as a member of the free trade zone. We discussed this with our European partners. Instead of continuing the debates by legitimate and diplomatic means, our European friends and our friends from the United States supported the anti-constitutional armed coup. This is what happened. We did not cause this crisis to happen. We were against this course of events but after the anti-constitutional coup – let’s face it, after all…

QUESTION: But now we see so much tension in politics. Yet despite this, you will be in Normandy speaking about peace while Barack Obama keeps urging Europe to arm itself.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, we must always talk about peace but we should understand the causes and nature of the crisis. The point is no one should be brought to power through an armed anti-constitutional coup, and this is especially true of the post-Soviet space where government institutions are not fully mature. When it happened some people accepted this regime and were happy about it while other people, say, in eastern and southern Ukraine just won’t accept it. And it is vital to talk with those people who didn’t accept this change of power instead of sending tanks there, as you said yourself, instead of firing missiles at civilians from the air and bombing non-military targets.

QUESTION: But, Mr President, the United States and the White House claim they have evidence that Russia intervened in the conflict, sent its troops and supplied weapons. They claim they have proof. Do you believe that?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Proof? Why don’t they show it? The entire world remembers the US Secretary of State demonstrating the evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, waving around some test tube with washing powder in the UN Security Council. Eventually, the US troops invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein was hanged and later it turned out there had never been any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You know, it’s one thing to say things and another to actually have evidence. I will tell you again:  no Russian troops…

QUESTION (via interpreter): Are you saying the US is lying?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, it is. There are no armed forces, no Russian ‘instructors’ in southeastern Ukraine. And there never were any.

QUESTION (via interpreter): So you do not want to annex Ukraine and you never tried to destabilise the situation there?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We never did that. The Ukrainian government must now sit down and talk with their own people instead of using weapons, tanks, planes and helicopters. They must start the negotiating process.

QUESTION(via interpreter): The new Ukrainian president was elected on May 25 through a democratic vote. Do you recognise Mr Poroshenko as a legitimate president?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ve already told you and will say it again: we will respect the choice of the Ukrainian people and we will cooperate with Ukrainian authorities.

QUESTION (via interpreter): In other words, if youmeet him on 6 June on the beaches of Normandy, and if President Hollande helps to make this meeting possible, will you shake hands with him? Will you talk with him?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, I don’t plan to evade anyone. President Hollande kindly invited me as the representative of Russia to attend this commemoration, even though the event it will commemorate was tragic. I was pleased to accept his invitation, and I’m grateful to the President for inviting me. There will be other guests, and I’m not going to avoid any of them. I will talk with all of them.

QUESTION (via interpreter): But will you meet with Poroshenko? You said you would only work with him on the condition that he would not totally yield to US influence.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I didn’t say that he shouldn’t yield to US influence. He is free to accept any influence he wants. Ukrainians voted for him, and he is free to develop a policy. If he chooses to accept anyone’s strong influence, let him. But I wouldn’t…

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you recognise Ukraine’s sovereignty and its neutral stance with respect to relations between Russia and the West?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, we recognise its sovereignty. Moreover, we’d likeUkraine to act as a sovereign state. Joining any military bloc or any other rigid integration alliance amounts to a partial loss of sovereignty. But if a country opts for this and wants to cede part of its sovereignty, it’s free to do so. Regarding Ukraine and military blocs, this is what worries us, because if Ukraine joins, say, NATO, NATO’s infrastructure will move directly towards the Russian border, which cannot leave us indifferent.

QUESTION: Mr President, Russian troops annexed Crimea recently. Will you ever give it back?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It’s a delusion that Russian troops annexed Crimea. Russian troops did nothing of the kind. Frankly…

QUESTION:  But Crimea has been included on the map of Russia, the kind of maps we used in school. It’s part of Russia now. What was it, annexation or reunification? Which word should we use?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you’ll let me finish, I think you’ll see what I mean.

Russian troops were in Crimea under the international treaty on the deployment of the Russian military base. It’s true that Russian troops helped Crimeans hold a referendum on their (a) independence and (b) desire to join the Russian Federation. No one can prevent these people from exercising a right that is stipulated in Article 1 of the UN Charter, the right of nations to self-determination.

QUESTION: In other words, you will not return Crimea [to Ukraine]?Crimea is Russia, is that it?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: In accordance with the expression of the will of people who live there, Crimea is part of the Russian Federation and its constituent entity.

I want everyone to understand this clearly. We conducted an exclusively diplomatic and peaceful dialogue – I want to stress this – with our partners in Europe and the United States. In response to our attempts to hold such a dialogue and to negotiate an acceptable solution, they supported the anti-constitutional state coup in Ukraine, and following that we could not be sure that Ukraine would not become part of the North Atlantic military bloc. In that situation, we could not allow a historical part of the Russian territory with a predominantly ethnic Russian population to be incorporated into an international military alliance, especially because Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia. I am sorry, but we couldn’t act differently.

QUESTION (via interpreter): So, Francois Hollande has invited you to France, to Paris and Normandy. You know him very well. Can you move further forward, and can you describe your relations as confidential?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, I think so.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think so, or are you sure?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ve always thought so. I see no reasons to think otherwise. We have very good interstate relations, but we have much to do yet to promote our economic ties.

But our personal relations have always been trust-based, which helps in work as well. I hope it will stay this way.

QUESTION (via interpreter): You are talking about trust-based relations – both in defence and the economy. You have paid over a billion euros for two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, and Russian naval officials are to visit Saint-Nazaire in a few days. Have you given them special permission to go to France?

VLADIMIR PUTIN:  Yes, of course. I believe we are living in a civilised world and we will all continue to fulfil our obligations and contractual commitments. I’ve heard a lot of talk about these ships going to Russia and some people believe that Russia shouldn’t get them. You know, here in Russia we had a lot of opposition to this contract. France is entitled to decide against selling the ships, but in that case we should get out money back. This would mean that out countries won’t have an opportunity to develop ties in the defence sector – but overall we are ready to expand our cooperation and even to place new orders, if our French partners are interested.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Despite external pressure, you have asked France to supply these assault ships – and if France does it you may place other orders as well, right?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We expect our French partnersto fulfil their contractual obligations, and if everything goes as we agreed, we will not rule out the possibility of further orders – and not necessarily in naval shipbuilding; they may concern other sectors as well. Overall, our relations in this area are developing well, and we would like to continue strengthening them – in aviation, shipbuilding, and other sectors. We have successful cooperation experience in space exploration, at the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think France is a sovereign and independent state whose opinion is respected? What do you think of Germany? You speak with Angela Merkel in both Russian and German, while François Hollande doesn’t speak Russian and you don’t speak French. Do you have a common language of communication?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The fact that I don’t speak French and Mr Hollande doesn’t speak Russian is not a barrier for us. It does not prevent us from speaking a common language, and we understand each other well even via an interpreter.

Speaking of the level of sovereignty, I will say it again – any country that becomes a member of a military alliance gives away some of its sovereignty to a supranational body. For Russia, this would be unacceptable. As for other countries, it has nothing to do with us. They have to decide such matters for themselves. In this regard, I think of the Gaullist tradition and General Charles de Gaulle, who protected France’s sovereignty. I think this deserves respect. And there’s another example: François Mitterrand, who spoke of European confederation, with Russia as its member. I think this opportunity still exists and we will have it in the future.

QUESTION (via interpreter): My next question concerns the United States. You will meet with Barack Obama in a few days, you will sit a few metres away from him. But he doesn’t seem to be willing to speak to you. What will this meeting be like and how will relations develop between the world’s richest country and its largest country? How can you avoid speaking to each other when there’s a real need for this since the war is not too far off?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, you’re exaggerating about the war being not far off. You seem to be feeling aggressive. Whatever gave you this idea, and why are you determined to frighten us all? As for…

QUESTION (via interpreter): Because Ukraine is near Russia.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: So what?

QUESTION (via interpreter): And this is where the war is going on. When he mentioned the war, he said it is not far off.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: There isa punitive operation launched by Kiev’s government against the country’s own citizens. It is not a war between states, it is something entirely different. As for…

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think it should be stopped immediately?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I think Mr Poroshenko, who has no blood on his hands so far, has a unique chance to halt this punitive operation now and start a dialogue with people in southeastern Ukraine.

As for my relations with Barack Obama, I have no reason whatsoever to believe he is not willing to talk to the President of Russia. But ultimately, it is his choice. I am always ready for dialogue, and I think that dialogue is the best way to bridge any gaps. We have been in contact until now, we have talked on the telephone regularly.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Russia and the United States are experiencing some problems. Are these problems between two powers or between two people, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Problems between countries always exist, especially between such big countries as Russia and the United States. There have always been some issues, but I don’t think we should go to extremes. At any rate, it wouldn’t be our choice. I’m always willing to talk to any of my partners, including President Obama.

QUESTION (via interpreter): So you are willing to talk and you regret what is happening? But don’t you think the United States is trying to surround Russia, to make you weaker as a leader and perhaps isolate you from the world? You are being very diplomatic now but you know the facts.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Facts? You’ve said it yourself: Russia is the biggest country in the world. It would be very difficult to surround it, and the world is changing so fast that it would basically be impossible, even in theory.

Of course, we can see attempts by the United States to pressure their allies by employing their obvious leadership in the Western community, in order to influence Russia’s policy.

Russia’s policy is based solely on its national interests. Of course, we take the opinions of our partners into account but we are guided by the interests of the Russian people.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr President, it is very convenient that you are meeting with Mr Obama on June 6. Perhaps, it would be worse if you were meeting with Hillary Clinton. Only a few days ago, she said that what Russia is doing in Eastern Europe resembles what Hitler was doing in the 1930s.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Women must be respected, of course, and I’m sure you respect them. Do you think she went too far? There is a lot of mockery and cartoons in the media – including those showing you. What was your first reaction? Were you angry? Did you want to get back at her or laugh? We have never seen you laugh.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh together at some good joke. But when I hear such extreme statements, to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments. Speaking of US policy, it’s clear that the United States is pursuing the most aggressive and toughest policy to defend their own interests – at least, this is how the American leaders see it – and they do it persistently.

There are basically no Russian troops abroad while US troops are everywhere. There are US military bases everywhere around the world and they are always involved in the fates of other countries even though they are thousands of kilometres away from US borders. So it is ironic that our US partners accuse us of breaching some of these rules.

QUESTION (via interpreter): But you have taken some decisions regarding your defence budget. Are you as President taking any special decisions on security and defence now, because the general environment is more risky?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Regarding the defence budget. I’d like to say, for reference’ sake, because only the analysts know this, that the defence budget of the United States, which we talked about only yesterday, is larger than the combined military budgets of every country in the world – every country – combined. So who’s pursuing an aggressive policy?

As for our [defence] budget, it has hardly grown in terms of percent of GDP, barely by one-tenth of a percent. But we want to rearm our army and navy based on modern, advanced technology, by reducing quantity and improving quality. We have a relevant rearmament programme, and it was not adopted yesterday or in response to the Ukrainian crisis. It has been our policy, which we will continue to implement.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr President, Syrian leader Bashar Assad has been re-elected president without much effort. Can you influence him? Can you ask him to order his army to stop its atrocities, to stop fighting their own people?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: All sides are guilty of atrocities there, but primarily the extremist organisations that are thriving in Syria. We are mostly worried about…

QUESTION (via interpreter): Religious, Islamic [organisations]…

VLADIMIR PUTIN: …those organisations that are directly connected with Al Qaeda. There are many of them there, which no one tries to deny any longer. It’s a general fact. But we are mostly worried that the wrong action could turn Syria into another Afghanistan, a completely uncontrollable spawning ground for the terrorist threat, including for European countries. All the terrorists who are operating there now would eventually move to other countries, including in Europe.

QUESTION (via interpreter): We don’t quite understand why you, Vladimir Putin, the man who wants to modernise Russia, support a person who is killing his own people, who is covered in their blood. How can this be?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ll explain very simply and clearly, and I hope that the majority of the French people who are watching and listening to this interview will understand me. We very much fear that Syria will fall apart like Sudan. We very much fear that Syria will follow in the footsteps of Iraq or Afghanistan. This is why we would like the legal authority to remain in power in Syria, so that Russia can cooperate with Syria and with ours partners in Europe and the United States to consider possible methods to change Syrian society, to modernise the regime and make it more viable and humane.

QUESTION (via interpreter): I’d like to ask you about your country, Russia. How would you describe its current political regime? Some describe it as a democracy, while others argue that Russia is so huge that it needs an iron hand. How does Vladimir Putin define the Putin regime?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The current regime is not connected to any particular person, including the incumbent President. We have common democratic state institutions, although they reflect Russia’s needs. What are they? The overwhelming majority of Russian citizens tend to rely on their traditions, their history and, if I may say so, their traditional values. I see this as the foundation and a factor of stability in the Russian state, but none of this is associated with the President as an individual. Moreover, it should be remembered that we only started introducing standard democratic institutions recently. They are still in the process of evolving.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Can a person stand in opposition to the authorities in Russia without fear of losing his ties and reputation, without being punished?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have many opposition parties, and we have recently liberalised the procedure for registering political parties. We have dozens of parties that participate in municipal and regional elections.

QUESTION (via interpreter): But is it possible to be a personal opponent of Vladimir Putin without exposing oneself to risks?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you listen to some of our radio stations and watch some TV shows, I assure you, you are unlikely to find anything similar to this kind of opposition in France.

QUESTION (via interpreter): There have always been periods of strict order and authoritarian power in Russia. But in the age of the Internet, can a country develop by restricting freedoms?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It is impossible and we are not restricting the Internet. We have certain… You know, whatever we do, someone tries to find something that goes against democratic principles, including the Internet. Are there any restrictions in Russia? I don’t believe so. Some of our opponents say there are unacceptable restrictions. What kind of restrictions do we have? For example, we have banned the promotion of suicide, drugs and pedophilia. These are our restrictions. What’s wrong with that?

QUESTION (via interpreter): And homosexuality. It is not pedophilia, it’s a different story.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: That’s not true, we did not ban homosexuality. We banned the promotion of homosexuality among minors. You see, these are two different things. In the United States, since we talked about it, homosexuality is illegal in some states. We impose no criminal liability whatsoever. We banned only promoting homosexuality among minors. It is our right to protect our children and we will do it.

QUESTION (via interpreter): We would like to talk about the end of your term in 2018. We would like to talk about labour camps. We find such things surprising in the West. For example, Pussy Riot were sentenced to a term in labour camps, and it wasn’t just an ordinary prison. Will you close those camps by the end of your term?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: These are not camps. These are places where the inmates’ freedom is limited but they can live a more or less normal life. These are not prisons where people are not allowed to work.

Prisons where people can’t even work is the worst punishment you can think of. And I don’t think we should put all convicts in such facilities where people are deprived of their freedom. I think it is much worse than what you are describing.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Who convinced you that you are carrying out a special mission for Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Why do you think that I believe I’m carrying out a special mission? I have the trust of my voters. Over 63% of Russian citizens voted for me. I believe I hold a national mandate to carry out domestic and foreign policy, and I will fulfil my obligations under this mandate.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you have a role model in the Russian history? Are you guided by Soviet or Russian politics?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have great love and respect for Russian history and culture. But the world is changing and Russia is too. Russia is part of the modern world, not the world of the past but the modern world. And I believe it has an even greater future than some other countries that can’t take care of their young people, of the new generations, of their children, and believe that they can just let things slide.

QUESTION (via interpreter): And the last question, Mr President. In 2013, Forbes rated you as the most powerful person in the world. Were you flattered by this title?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, I’m an adult and I know what power means in the modern world. In the modern world, power is mainly defined by such factors as the economy, defence and cultural influence. I believe that in terms of defence, Russia is without any doubt one of the leaders because we are a nuclear power and our nuclear weapons are perhaps the best in the world.

With regard to cultural influence, we are proud of the Russian culture – literature, the arts and so on.

As for the economy, we are aware that we still have a lot to do before we reach the top. Although lately, we have made major strides forward and are now the fifth largest economy in the world. It is a success but we can do more.

QUESTION (via interpreter): We don’t know yet how Vladimir Putin’s era will go down in history. What would you like to be remembered for? And would you like to be seen as a democrat or an authoritarian leader?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to be remembered as a person who did his best for the happiness and prosperity of his country and his people.

QUESTION (via interpreter): Thank you very much. Have a good trip to France, Mr President. Good-bye.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you.

America’s Real Foreign Policy: Global Corporatization by Force – By Noam Chomsky

US soldiers participating in live fire drills during NATO training in Germany. (Photo: flickr / cc / MATEUS_27:24&25)

US soldiers participating in live fire drills during NATO training in Germany. (Photo: flickr / cc / MATEUS_27:24&25)

 

Whose security is the U.S. military and foreign service protecting?

 

The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs.  In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.  First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.  Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it.  Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. — and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices.  The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.

There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse.  It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.

There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine.  One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989?  Answer: everything continued much as before.

The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains — but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat.

Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America.  Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining.

All routine.  And all forgotten (which is also routine).

From El Salvador to the Russian Border

The administration of George H.W. Bush issued a new national security policy and defense budget in reaction to the collapse of the global enemy.  It was pretty much the same as before, although with new pretexts.  It was, it turned out, necessary to maintain a military establishment almost as great as the rest of the world combined and far more advanced in technological sophistication — but not for defense against the now-nonexistent Soviet Union.  Rather, the excuse now was the growing “technological sophistication” of Third World powers.  Disciplined intellectuals understood that it would have been improper to collapse in ridicule, so they maintained a proper silence.

The U.S., the new programs insisted, must maintain its “defense industrial base.” The phrase is a euphemism, referring to high-tech industry generally, which relies heavily on extensive state intervention for research and development, often under Pentagon cover, in what economists continue to call the U.S. “free-market economy.”

One of the most interesting provisions of the new plans had to do with the Middle East.  There, it was declared, Washington must maintain intervention forces targeting a crucial region where the major problems “could not have been laid at the Kremlin’s door.”  Contrary to 50 years of deceit, it was quietly conceded that the main concern was not the Russians, but rather what is called “radical nationalism,” meaning independent nationalism not under U.S. control.

All of this has evident bearing on the standard version, but it passed unnoticed — or perhaps, therefore it passed unnoticed.

Other important events took place immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ending the Cold War.  One was in El Salvador, the leading recipient of U.S. military aid — apart from Israel-Egypt, a separate category — and with one of the worst human rights records anywhere.  That is a familiar and very close correlation.

The Salvadoran high command ordered the Atlacatl Brigade to invade the Jesuit University and murder six leading Latin American intellectuals, all Jesuit priests, including the rector, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuría, and any witnesses, meaning their housekeeper and her daughter.  The Brigade had just returned from advanced counterinsurgency training at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and had already left a bloody trail of thousands of the usual victims in the course of the U.S.-run state terror campaign in El Salvador, one part of a broader terror and torture campaign throughout the region.  All routine.  Ignored and virtually forgotten in the United States and by its allies, again routine.  But it tells us a lot about the factors that drive policy, if we care to look at the real world.

Another important event took place in Europe.  Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow the unification of Germany and its membership in NATO, a hostile military alliance.  In the light of recent history, this was a most astonishing concession.  There was a quid pro quo.  President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker agreed that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East,” meaning into East Germany.  Instantly, they expanded NATO to East Germany.

Gorbachev was naturally outraged, but when he complained, he was instructed by Washington that this had only been a verbal promise, a gentleman’s agreement, hence without force.  If he was naïve enough to accept the word of American leaders, it was his problem.

All of this, too, was routine, as was the silent acceptance and approval of the expansion of NATO in the U.S. and the West generally.  President Bill Clinton then expanded NATO further, right up to Russia’s borders.  Today, the world faces a serious crisis that is in no small measure a result of these policies.

The Appeal of Plundering the Poor

Another source of evidence is the declassified historical record.  It contains revealing accounts of the actual motives of state policy.  The story is rich and complex, but a few persistent themes play a dominant role.  One was articulated clearly at a western hemispheric conference called by the U.S. in Mexico in February 1945 where Washington imposed “An Economic Charter of the Americas” designed to eliminate economic nationalism “in all its forms.” There was one unspoken condition.  Economic nationalism would be fine for the U.S. whose economy relies heavily on massive state intervention.

The elimination of economic nationalism for others stood in sharp conflict with the Latin American stand of that moment, which State Department officials described as “the philosophy of the New Nationalism [that] embraces policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses.” As U.S. policy analysts added, “Latin Americans are convinced that the first beneficiaries of the development of a country’s resources should be the people of that country.”

That, of course, will not do.  Washington understands that the “first beneficiaries” should be U.S. investors, while Latin America fulfills its service function.  It should not, as both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations would make clear, undergo “excessive industrial development” that might infringe on U.S. interests.  Thus Brazil could produce low-quality steel that U.S. corporations did not want to bother with, but it would be “excessive,” were it to compete with U.S. firms.

Similar concerns resonate throughout the post-World War II period.  The global system that was to be dominated by the U.S. was threatened by what internal documents call “radical and nationalistic regimes” that respond to popular pressures for independent development.  That was the concern that motivated the overthrow of the parliamentary governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954, as well as numerous others.  In the case of Iran, a major concern was the potential impact of Iranian independence on Egypt, then in turmoil over British colonial practice.  In Guatemala, apart from the crime of the new democracy in empowering the peasant majority and infringing on possessions of the United Fruit Company — already offensive enough — Washington’s concern was labor unrest and popular mobilization in neighboring U.S.-backed dictatorships.

In both cases the consequences reach to the present.  Literally not a day has passed since 1953 when the U.S. has not been torturing the people of Iran.  Guatemala remains one of the world’s worst horror chambers.  To this day, Mayans are fleeing from the effects of near-genocidal government military campaigns in the highlands backed by President Ronald Reagan and his top officials.  As the country director of Oxfam, a Guatemalan doctor, reported recently,

“There is a dramatic deterioration of the political, social, and economic context.  Attacks against Human Rights defenders have increased 300% during the last year.  There is a clear evidence of a very well organized strategy by the private sector and Army. Both have captured the government in order to keep the status quo and to impose the extraction economic model, pushing away dramatically indigenous peoples from their own land, due to the mining industry, African Palm and sugar cane plantations.  In addition the social movement defending their land and rights has been criminalized, many leaders are in jail, and many others have been killed.”

Nothing is known about this in the United States and the very obvious cause of it remains suppressed.

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles explained quite clearly the dilemma that the U.S. faced.  They complained that the Communists had an unfair advantage.  They were able to “appeal directly to the masses” and “get control of mass movements, something we have no capacity to duplicate.  The poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich.”

That causes problems.  The U.S. somehow finds it difficult to appeal to the poor with its doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor.

The Cuban Example

A clear illustration of the general pattern was Cuba, when it finally gained independence in 1959.  Within months, military attacks on the island began.  Shortly after, the Eisenhower administration made a secret decision to overthrow the government.  John F. Kennedy then became president.  He intended to devote more attention to Latin America and so, on taking office, he created a study group to develop policies headed by the historian Arthur Schlesinger, who summarized its conclusions for the incoming president.

As Schlesinger explained, threatening in an independent Cuba was “the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands.”  It was an idea that unfortunately appealed to the mass of the population in Latin America where “the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes, and the poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living.” Again, Washington’s usual dilemma.

As the CIA explained, “The extensive influence of ‘Castroism’ is not a function of Cuban power… Castro’s shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change,” for which his Cuba provides a model.  Kennedy feared that Russian aid might make Cuba a “showcase” for development, giving the Soviets the upper hand throughout Latin America.

The State Department Policy Planning Council warned that “the primary danger we face in Castro is… in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries… The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the U.S., a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half” — that is, since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, when the U.S. declared its intention of dominating the hemisphere.

The immediate goal at the time was to conquer Cuba, but that could not be achieved because of the power of the British enemy.  Still, that grand strategist John Quincy Adams, the intellectual father of the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny, informed his colleagues that over time Cuba would fall into our hands by “the laws of political gravitation,” as an apple falls from the tree.  In brief, U.S. power would increase and Britain’s would decline.

In 1898, Adams’s prognosis was realized. The U.S. invaded Cuba in the guise of liberating it.  In fact, it prevented the island’s liberation from Spain and turned it into a “virtual colony” to quote historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.  Cuba remained so until January 1959, when it gained independence.  Since that time it has been subjected to major U.S. terrorist wars, primarily during the Kennedy years, and economic strangulation.  Not because of the Russians.

The pretense all along was that we were defending ourselves from the Russian threat — an absurd explanation that generally went unchallenged.  A simple test of the thesis is what happened when any conceivable Russian threat disappeared.  U.S. policy toward Cuba became even harsher, spearheaded by liberal Democrats, including Bill Clinton, who outflanked Bush from the right in the 1992 election.  On the face of it, these events should have considerable bearing on the validity of the doctrinal framework for discussion of foreign policy and the factors that drive it.  Once again, however, the impact was slight.

The Virus of Nationalism

To borrow Henry Kissinger’s terminology, independent nationalism is a “virus” that might “spread contagion.” Kissinger was referring to Salvador Allende’s Chile.  The virus was the idea that there might be a parliamentary path towards some kind of socialist democracy.  The way to deal with such a threat is to destroy the virus and to inoculate those who might be infected, typically by imposing murderous national security states.  That was achieved in the case of Chile, but it is important to recognize that the thinking holds worldwide.

It was, for example, the reasoning behind the decision to oppose Vietnamese nationalism in the early 1950s and support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony.  It was feared that independent Vietnamese nationalism might be a virus that would spread contagion to the surrounding regions, including resource-rich Indonesia.  That might even have led Japan — called the “superdomino” by Asia scholar John Dower — to become the industrial and commercial center of an independent new order of the kind imperial Japan had so recently fought to establish.  That, in turn, would have meant that the U.S. had lost the Pacific war, not an option to be considered in 1950.  The remedy was clear — and largely achieved.  Vietnam was virtually destroyed and ringed by military dictatorships that kept the “virus” from spreading contagion.

In retrospect, Kennedy-Johnson National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reflected that Washington should have ended the Vietnam War in 1965, when the Suharto dictatorship was installed in Indonesia, with enormous massacres that the CIA compared to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.  These were, however, greeted with unconstrained euphoria in the U.S. and the West generally because the “staggering bloodbath,” as the press cheerfully described it, ended any threat of contagion and opened Indonesia’s rich resources to western exploitation.  After that, the war to destroy Vietnam was superfluous, as Bundy recognized in retrospect.

The same was true in Latin America in the same years: one virus after another was viciously attacked and either destroyed or weakened to the point of bare survival.  From the early 1960s, a plague of repression was imposed on the continent that had no precedent in the violent history of the hemisphere, extending to Central America in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, a matter that there should be no need to review.

Much the same was true in the Middle East.  The unique U.S. relations with Israel were established in their current form in 1967, when Israel delivered a smashing blow to Egypt, the center of secular Arab nationalism.  By doing so, it protected U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, then engaged in military conflict with Egypt in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia, of course, is the most extreme radical fundamentalist Islamic state, and also a missionary state, expending huge sums to establish its Wahhabi-Salafi doctrines beyond its borders.  It is worth remembering that the U.S., like England before it, has tended to support radical fundamentalist Islam in opposition to secular nationalism, which has usually been perceived as posing more of a threat of independence and contagion.

The Value of Secrecy

There is much more to say, but the historical record demonstrates very clearly that the standard doctrine has little merit.  Security in the normal sense is not a prominent factor in policy formation.

To repeat, in the normal sense.  But in evaluating the standard doctrine we have to ask what is actually meant by “security”: security for whom?

One answer is: security for state power.  There are many illustrations.  Take a current one.  In May, the U.S. agreed to support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria, but with a proviso: there could be no inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel.  Or by Washington, though it was really unnecessary to add that last condition.  The U.S. is uniquely self-immunized from the international legal system.  In fact, there is even congressional legislation authorizing the president to use armed force to “rescue” any American brought to the Hague for trial — the “Netherlands Invasion Act,” as it is sometimes called in Europe.  That once again illustrates the importance of protecting the security of state power.

But protecting it from whom? There is, in fact, a strong case to be made that a prime concern of government is the security of state power from the population.  As those who have spent time rummaging through archives should be aware, government secrecy is rarely motivated by a genuine for security, but it definitely does serve to keep the population in the dark.  And for good reasons, which were lucidly explained by the prominent liberal scholar and government adviser Samuel Huntington, the professor of the science of government at Harvard University.  In his words: “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen.  Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”

He wrote that in 1981, when the Cold War was again heating up, and he explained further that “you may have to sell [intervention or other military action] in such a way as to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting. That is what the United States has been doing ever since the Truman Doctrine.”

These simple truths are rarely acknowledged, but they provide insight into state power and policy, with reverberations to the present moment.

State power has to be protected from its domestic enemy; in sharp contrast, the population is not secure from state power.  A striking current illustration is the radical attack on the Constitution by the Obama administration’s massive surveillance program.  It is, of course, justified by “national security.” That is routine for virtually all actions of all states and so carries little information.

When the NSA’s surveillance program was exposed by Edward Snowden’s revelations, high officials claimed that it had prevented 54 terrorist acts.  On inquiry, that was whittled down to a dozen.  A high-level government panel then discovered that there was actually only one case: someone had sent $8,500 to Somalia.  That was the total yield of the huge assault on the Constitution and, of course, on others throughout the world.

Britain’s attitude is interesting.  In 2007, the British government called on Washington’s colossal spy agency “to analyze and retain any British citizens’ mobile phone and fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet,” the Guardian reported.  That is a useful indication of the relative significance, in government eyes, of the privacy of its own citizens and of Washington’s demands.

Another concern is security for private power.  One current illustration is the huge trade agreements now being negotiated, the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic pacts.  These are being negotiated in secret — but not completely in secret.  They are not secret from the hundreds of corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions.  It is not hard to guess what the results will be, and the few leaks about them suggest that the expectations are accurate.  Like NAFTA and other such pacts, these are not free trade agreements.  In fact, they are not even trade agreements, but primarily investor rights agreements.

Again, secrecy is critically important to protect the primary domestic constituency of the governments involved, the corporate sector.

The Final Century of Human Civilization?

There are other examples too numerous to mention, facts that are well-established and would be taught in elementary schools in free societies.

There is, in other words, ample evidence that securing state power from the domestic population and securing concentrated private power are driving forces in policy formation.  Of course, it is not quite that simple.  There are interesting cases, some quite current, where these commitments conflict, but consider this a good first approximation and radically opposed to the received standard doctrine.

Let us turn to another question: What about the security of the population? It is easy to demonstrate that this is a marginal concern of policy planners.  Take two prominent current examples, global warming and nuclear weapons.  As any literate person is doubtless aware, these are dire threats to the security of the population.  Turning to state policy, we find that it is committed to accelerating each of those threats — in the interests of the primary concerns, protection of state power and of the concentrated private power that largely determines state policy.

Consider global warming.  There is now much exuberance in the United States about “100 years of energy independence” as we become “the Saudi Arabia of the next century” — perhaps the final century of human civilization if current policies persist.

That illustrates very clearly the nature of the concern for security, certainly not for the population.  It also illustrates the moral calculus of contemporary Anglo-American state capitalism: the fate of our grandchildren counts as nothing when compared with the imperative of higher profits tomorrow.

These conclusions are fortified by a closer look at the propaganda system.  There is a huge public relations campaign in the U.S., organized quite openly by Big Energy and the business world, to try to convince the public that global warming is either unreal or not a result of human activity.  And it has had some impact.  The U.S. ranks lower than other countries in public concern about global warming and the results are stratified: among Republicans, the party more fully dedicated to the interests of wealth and corporate power, it ranks far lower than the global norm.

The current issue of the premier journal of media criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review, has an interesting article on this subject, attributing this outcome to the media doctrine of “fair and balanced.” In other words, if a journal publishes an opinion piece reflecting the conclusions of 97% of scientists, it must also run a counter-piece expressing the viewpoint of the energy corporations.

That indeed is what happens, but there certainly is no “fair and balanced” doctrine. Thus, if a journal runs an opinion piece denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the criminal act of taking over the Crimea, it surely does not have to run a piece pointing out that, while the act is indeed criminal, Russia has a far stronger case today than the U.S. did more than a century ago in taking over southeastern Cuba, including the country’s major port — and rejecting the Cuban demand since independence to have it returned.  And the same is true of many other cases.  The actual media doctrine is “fair and balanced” when the concerns of concentrated private power are involved, but surely not elsewhere.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, the record is similarly interesting — and frightening.  It reveals very clearly that, from the earliest days, the security of the population was a non-issue, and remains so.  There is no time here to run through the shocking record, but there is little doubt that it strongly supports the lament of General Lee Butler, the last commander of the Strategic Air Command, which was armed with nuclear weapons.  In his words, we have so far survived the nuclear age “by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” And we can hardly count on continued divine intervention as policymakers play roulette with the fate of the species in pursuit of the driving factors in policy formation.

As we are all surely aware, we now face the most ominous decisions in human history.  There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war.  For the first time in history, we face the possibility of destroying the prospects for decent existence — and not in the distant future.  For this reason alone, it is imperative to sweep away the ideological clouds and face honestly and realistically the question of how policy decisions are made, and what we can do to alter them before it is too late.

CoS, Top 10 Music Festivals in North America: Summer 2014 Power Rankings

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Photo by Ben Kaye

In this installment, Michael Roffman, Frank Mojica, and Carson O’Shoney adjust the power rankings on this year’s Top 10 North American music festivals. Agree or disagree, let us know what you think.

Michael Roffman (MR): “We’re gonna build something this summer.” Craig Finn’s words of wisdom are all I can hear while assembling our latest round of rankings. Yes, it’s officially summertime (even if it’s felt that way for months now), two of the Big Four fests are behind us, and we’re only just kissing July. Oy. We have a lot of work cut out for us, gentlemen.

I guess the first thing to discuss is our Spring No. 1, Bonnaroo. It’s now been a few weeks since The Farm shut its doors, and yet we’re still reeling from the four-day extravaganza — and I didn’t even attend! So, what do we think? Was it a success? Does it deserve No. 1? Sure, it was by far the safest installment in the fest’s history, but Kanye’s set wasn’t the heroic comeback it needed to be, Frank Ocean didn’t debut any new material, and maybe it’s just a lack of social networking, but I don’t think people walked away from Elton’s set as “changed” as they were from McCartney’s.

Still, according to our own Alex Young, Jack White put on one of the best sets of his career and of the festival, and as Carson pointed out (and several readers agreed), Nick Cave might have done the same thing. I think there’s a lot to discuss here, and I’m certainly not the authority considering I spent that weekend watching comedians at AV Club’s comedy festival and my team fumble their fourth NBA Finals appearance. So, what say you, Mr. O’Shoney?

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Bonnaroo // Photo by Amanda Koellner

Carson O’Shoney (CO): Bonnaroo just keeps getting better somehow. The event has changed so much since I started going in 2007, and it’s (almost) all for the better. It’s a finely tuned machine at this point, firing on all cylinders. Getting there isn’t as much of a chore as it used to be, the lines to Centeroo have been cut down considerably, water stations are now plentiful, the grounds have expanded and remain beautiful, the Food Truck Oasis/Kalliope Stage setup was perfect this year, and it really helped that they removed the center division at the What Stage pit. As you mentioned, it was the safest Roo ever, and what’s more, the weather cooperated and kept everyone cooler than normal. All in all, it was easily one of the best festivals I’ve personally attended. No lie: Bonnaroo’s “Radiate Positivity” mantra really did translate into a good vibe at the fest, even amidst the persistent “Fuck Kanye” graffiti.

Sure, Elton John didn’t leave the crowd ‘changed’ like Macca did in 2013, but maybe people don’t have an emotional connection to Elton like they do with Paul. Instead, they were just there to sing along and have a good time, which they did by the tens of thousands. Throw in Jack White and Nick Cave and the countless other acts who knocked it out of the park this year, and you’ve got a lineup that stands up to the best lineups in the past — both in theory and execution. There were very few disappointing sets, and even those were seemingly disappointing to a very small, albeit vocal, minority (ahem, Kanye, which I personally loved). Let’s not forget about all the SuperJams this year, which you won’t find anywhere but Bonnaroo. From top to bottom, this year was an absolute success, and if you only took the lineup into account, I think Roo would still be top two at worst. Factor in everything else, and it really cements its place as No. 1 in our power rankings.

Frank Mojica (FM): I really wish I could have gone to Bonnaroo this year. It isn’t often that I actually watch all of the headliners at a festival, and the lineup was solid from top to bottom. Also, a lower emphasis on EDM is always a good thing.

It wasn’t entirely surprising that Yeezus was figuratively nailed to a cross by attendees. Seriously, children, get over 2008, already. As for Sir Elton, I would love to see him and his hit-stuffed set sounded like a blast, even if it didn’t pack the same oomph as McCartney. But then again, what does? Bonnaroo’s SuperJams are a welcome break from the usual festival fare and are once-in-a-lifetime sets, really. I mean, where else can you see Warpaint covering “Pump Up the Jam”?

Speaking of which, I must say, they goofed by not giving Warpaint a longer set. They would have actually taken advantage of the extra time with their penchant for extended jams. Nevertheless, the webcast sounded incredible. It’s disheartening to hear that only a hundred or so people watched Nick Cave, though. At some point, festivals are surely going to stop booking people like Cave if people don’t start actually watching them, so let’s enjoy these bookings while they last.

MR: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down, Frank. We all know how insane you are about Warpaint. You’ve gotta remember, they’re still a rising, young act. I’m actually surprised they were even a part of the SuperJam, so I’d consider them lucky by Roo standards. Also, maybe I just caught them amidst some weird SXSW malaise, but I’ve yet to go bonkers for them on-stage, and I actually enjoy their albums. ANYWAYS…

I guess when it comes down to it, Bonnaroo really does offer a perfect mix of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I was going to start this off by discussing how they place such a precedence on the veterans, but really, that’s just not true anymore. They gave Skrillex a SuperJam set entirely to himself, while Elton John, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Lionel Richie are the only real greying veterans at the top of their lineup. Hell, Vampire Weekend is listed as fifth — fifth! — pitting them ahead of Arctic Monkeys, or Skrillex, or even the festival’s beloved Flaming Lips. Granted, plenty of other fests have done the same thing (e.g., Governors Ball), but Bonnaroo is arguably the weightiest of the colossal Big Four. It just speaks to their eyes and how they’re not looking pre-2000 as much anymore, and that should help as the lineups get more and more difficult to piece together year after year.

“But Lollapalooza did the same thing this year, didn’t they? They booked Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Eminem, and OutKast, who all claimed their spotlight post-2000,” you might argue, and you’d be right. But here’s the difference: story. With the exception of OutKast, who by then will have played over 30 sets, each one of those acts have played Lollapalooza in the past few years, and even worse, they aren’t supporting anything new. Each of their albums will be almost or a little over a year old, and while seeing how Arctic might fare as a headliner is intriguing, it’s not enough of a narrative to really pull you in. With Bonnaroo, they had a heroic return (Jack White), a rematch (Kanye West), the induction of two legends (Lionel Richie, Sir Elton John), and well, just go look at the lineup… it goes on and on. I think that’s what’s really necessary of the Big Four at this point; you need to have a narrative, a story, or at least character. And yeah, I’d have to agree, Bonnaroo did that again.

Here’s what I’d argue, though. Edge vs. narrative. In that department, FYF Fest wins hands down. This is a festival whose idea of a veteran is an act that’s either been dismissed (Interpol) or relatively out of the spotlight (The Strokes), where reunions require a short trip down memory lane (The Blood Brothers, Slowdive), and the greatest acts of today get the banner space they deserve and could host (HAIM, Grimes, Flying Lotus). Personally, this is the only lineup of the year that had me run to the bathroom to see if I actually did pee in my pants just a little. (Of course, I didn’t; it was just green tea.) I’m still taking my leftover Xanax in hopes to feel better about myself for missing this. And have you been to FYF? It’s one of the only festivals I know of where you can easily smooth over the conflicts by running to and from stages. Son of a bitch, how am I missing this?

Please talk amongst yourselves. Topic: How does FYF fare against it’s little cousin FFF? Are these small-scale reunions overhyped or just chances for the lesser known to get their due applause?

FM: Most people don’t care, sure, but for those that do, there’s little more exciting than the prospect of finally catching that beloved band that’s finally back together again. FYF really nailed it this year. Phoenix and The Strokes secured the attendance of the masses, and having several esoteric reunions guaranteed continuing support from their base of regulars. No wonder the event sold out.

MR: Hmm, it would appear as if that’s a common thread of any successful festival — especially a juggernaut like Lollapalooza. A few anchors move the tickets out the door, and the rest, well, they’re colorful shipmates. Going off that measure, do we value the anchors or the shipmates? Are we going in circles here? Look at last week’s news about C3′s Big Day Out! What happens when there’s a lack of anchors? Does the ship then drift away into nowhere? Or do the shipmates stand up? Sorry, apparently last night’s viewing of Master and Commander struck a nerve. Oh, that Russell Crowe.

CO: Going back to FYF/FFF — even though I just sang the praises of Bonnaroo, smaller fests like these are really where my interests lie these days. They don’t need as many ‘anchors’ since they don’t have to attract a small city to their gates. That also gives them freedom to make interesting bookings that aren’t part of your average festival lineup. FYF snagged Slowdive and Blood Brothers, while FFF got King Diamond and Judas Priest, among many others at both. Some of my favorites lineups in the recent past have been put together by Moogfest/Mountain Oasis, Big Ears, Pitchfork, Hopscotch, and other smaller festivals.

In general — to continue the metaphor — early in your festival-going life, I find you’re more likely to be drawn by the anchors. That’s how they draw the masses in, and hook the first-timers into going to their festival. But the more you go to festivals, the more enamored you become by the shipmates. Some of that has to do with the fact that there are only so many headliners to go around, and while some festivals do a solid job of keeping the top of their lineups fresh, others (*cough* Lollapalooza *cough*) seem content to just keep trotting out the same batch of anchors. In cases like that, you have to start getting more into the shipmates; otherwise, it’s pointless to keep going to the same festival to see the same bands over and over again. Even if your festival(s) of choice aren’t recycling their headliners in that fashion, as you get older and go to more festivals, it just feels natural to be more drawn to the smaller, more intriguing acts.

On the other hand, Big Day Out and countless other failed festivals prove the need for big anchors. There are always going to be huge music fans that get pumped about the bottom half of the lineup, but they are far outnumbered. No matter how established a festival is, or how good of an undercard they have, the masses are mostly just looking at the top two or three lines when making a decision on what festival to attend. They don’t care that Ty Segall is playing a late-night set. They don’t know or care what Mogwai represents. They’re there to party and see the bands in big bold letters at the top of the poster. If you don’t strike a chord with them there, you might be shit out of luck. Like it or not, it’s those type of people that make or break major festivals.

MR: And that’s a tragedy in itself, Carson. I recall in my early days of Lollapalooza — around 2005 and 2006 — I’d be riding with folks who wanted to hit up the festival early to see what they were offering, and I thought that was really open-minded of them. For one, they weren’t the biggest music fans, meaning they didn’t hit up the boards or obsess over songs the minute they surfaced, but they wanted to make every dollar of their purchase count. I don’t know if that’s a good way of thinking, but I imagine it’s led to some great discoveries on their part. Still, like you said, they wouldn’t have bought that ticket if Weezer or the Red Hot Chili Peppers weren’t on the lineup. But maybe one experience is worth an annual tradition regardless of the top-billed talent? Probably not.

Keeping this going, I’d like to re-address the story angle of festivals. What festival works off a powerful mythos this summer?

FM: I think the story of the summer could be Pemberton. The first, and only, edition was apparently well attended but plagued with logistical issues such as traffic and a limited capacity dance tent. These issues have been addressed by the new organizers, though. It will be interesting to see what happens with Pemberton’s reboot because I think it has the potential to be the next true North American destination festival due to its beautiful setting and impressive lineup.

 

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And how about that lineup, eh? Truly something for everyone.

MR: It’s definitely a great lineup and one that also gives a fair shake to a variety of genres at the top level. As we saw with Sasquatch! this year, Soundgarden isn’t exactly a genuine sell, so it’s nice to know they’re getting another shot, albeit behind NIN, OutKast, and Deadmau5. The undercard is pretty brilliant, too. Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse, and, um, Randy Newman? Come on. That last addition is the sort of creativity every veteran spot should warrant. Hell, they even nabbed Norm Macdonald in the comedy tent, which should account for 65% of the ticket alone. What do you think, Carson?

CO: I love it when major festivals book something completely out of left field. I’ve already talked about some of the more niche fests and their unique bookings, but seeing names like Randy Newman on a huge lineup makes me smile. Hell, just a few years ago we would have scoffed at the notion of Lionel Richie playing prime-time spots at these types of festivals, but now he’s killed at both ACL and Bonnaroo. Plus a vet like Norm and even someone like Tom Green (both at Pemberton) makes a comedy lineup a lot more interesting than your average festival. More bookings like those, please.

MR: If we’re talking about intriguing stories, I have to bring up Moogfest. Their soft return earlier this year kicked our heads with one of the most unique lineups we’ve been able to appreciate in North America. But ultimately, it was a failure, having lost $1.5 million in the process. Here’s the breakdown, according to Asheville’s Citizen-Times:

Moogfest ticket sales totaled more than $712,000, with food, beverage and merchandise sales at around $29,000. Expenses totaled more than $2.7 million. The majority of the festival costs came from talent. Festival organizers Moog Music spent more than $1.5 million on artists and artists travel, hotel, and meals.

Moogfest 2014, touted as a new economic development tool to coax more technology talent to the area, received $90,000 in funding from the county and $40,000 from the city of Asheville, along with another $50,000 in in-kind services

Ouch. Odds are it’s not coming back after that. Granted, we’ve seen some resilience with troubled festivals in the past years — Langerado and DeLuna, to name a couple — but with no sign of a return from A/C Entertainment’s Mountain Oasis Festival, it would appear that Asheville is off the map for festival season. So, could we really justifiably call this year’s Moogfest a top festival?

Based on creativity and originality, yes. But from an economical standpoint, perhaps, no. Is this another lesson to what we’ve been discussing all along: the importance of anchors? Or is this a premature conclusion, especially since most young festivals lose money in their fledgling years? Sub-question: Is Moogfest really a young festival anymore? Let’s tackle these and then we can hit up our lists.

CO: To answer your question, yes Moogfest is still a young festival. It shares a name with an older festival, but there’s no relation otherwise. They can go through the same growing pains that any other young fest would go through, especially between year one and year two. I will say that Moogfest definitely gets points for trying something different. Not only did they put together perhaps the most unique lineup of the year, they decided to go five days long and have a “day” lineup of presentations and panels, and a “night” lineup of music. It’s a dream festival for anyone who is into that scene on more than just a musical level.

The problem is, by stretching it out to five days, you’re limiting your audience greatly. Anyone with a job and little to no vacation time is automatically out. Some that would have free time might not be able to afford staying in Asheville for five days. Any way you slice it, five days is a long time for a music festival, no matter what other kind of peripheral activities are happening around the music. I’m taking a stab in the dark here, but I’m guessing that contributed to the small turnout — when you’ve got a niche festival like that, you’ve got to make it more accessible to out-of-towners.

I think they need to find the right balance between their vision of Moogfest and AC Entertainment’s versions if they truly want the festival to be a success. I, for one, hope we haven’t seen the last of Moogfest, no matter where they go from here.

FM: Moogfest may have been our last shot at a truly original, one-of-a-kind festival experience. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great lineups this year, but they are all massive outdoor events short on esoteric delights. The intimate, specialized event for the discerning music lover is a dying breed. As was the case with ATP, we apparently can’t have nice things and you can’t pay the bills with creativity points.

I agree with Carson’s assessment that five days may have been a bit much for Moogfest, especially for an event in April. Bad timing probably killed the S.S. Coachella, and it may be a factor here as well.

MR: Timing is everything with festivals and, yeah, five days is just too much. It stopped me from being able to attend and this is my life. You can’t aim to be South by Southwest in the first go-around, which is sort of what they attempted to do, come to think of it. Despite the pitfalls, I think we all agree it was a success, creatively speaking, and deserves its spot amongst the best of 2014. It’s just a shame we won’t be using the term “blockbuster” at all.

BenKayeBostonCalling2014

Boston Calling: Spring 2014 // Photo by Ben Kaye

On the plus side, there are several young festivals that deserve that title already. Look at Corona Capitol! Or Boston Calling’s sister installment for the fall! There are a lot of great junior festivals refusing to pull their punches, and it’s working out well for them.

I think this is about as great a time as any to break into our list. Shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda calls CHVRCHES “Disney commercial music,” CHVRCHES respond

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Back in April, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda caused a minor huff when he made comments to Noisey about the homogeneous nature of the modern music landscape. “There’s so much music out there,” he said. “There’s so much stuff that sounds like HAIM or CHVRCHES or Vampire Weekend that I’m full. The thing I’m hungry for is not that. I turn on the rock station in L.A. and it sounds like Disney commercial music.”

Not to be taken lightly, CHVRCHES have responded to Shinoda’s claims in kind. During an interview with joiz at France’s OpenAir St. Gallen festival, multi-instrumentalist Iain Cook said Shinoda’s remarks were “a pointless dig,” adding, “What does he have to gain from saying that?” For her part, singer Lauren Mayberry called “bullshit” on Shinoda’s claims, explaining that it’s no “coincidence that he’s got a record to sell and he mentions several bands everyone is writing about.”  Update: According to CHVRCHESFans, the translation is wrong and Cook actually said “pointless dig,” not “pointless dick.”

Not quite yet done drawing blood, Mayberry also explained that she doesn’t “like being called a corporate sellout by the man who wrote the theme music for the MTV VMAs.” At which point she pretended to drop the mic.

Still, don’t expect CHVRCHES to get drawn into some rap-rock/synthpop feud (unless Shinoda makes his own response). Rather, Mayberry said that Shinoda’s opinion is “not one I would worry about hugely,” adding, “It’s not my kind of music. They’ve been on the radio for how long, and I just don’t listen to that radio station. That’s a smarter move then saying something for a tagline.”

In a similar display of “wisdom beyond their experience,” multi-instrumentalist Martin Doherty said the trio just tries to ignore any outside comments, be it good or bad. “We’ve developed this near super-human ability to block out whatever people are saying about us,” he said. “From the very first day we were in the public domain, we’ve known it’s as important to not listen to the praise as much as it’s not important to listen to the negative comments. Ultimatley, both have the same affect. We’ve been remarkably focused from day one.”

Even though they released the always perfect Hybrid Theory, this isn’t the first instance Linkin Park have been a bunch of fuddy-duddies as of late. In March, the band reportedly got cops to confiscate the weed belonging to Sublime With Rome while that band was on stage. Linkin Park later denied the rumors, but it’s hard to definitively shake the tag of a “narc.”

Watch the full interview below. The discussion about Shinoda begins around the 9:00 mark:

The Ultimate List of Free Summer Concerts in NYC, 2014

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Get ready to plug this in your bookmarks, iCals, sticky notes, and religious shrines, because the ultimate guide to free summer concerts 2014 in New York City is here! Seriously, scroll down and don’t be stingy — share with your friends. Concerts aren’t fun without friends. We’ll be updating this post over the coming weeks as new shows are released, so be sure to check back all summer long.

BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building:
May 9, 9 p.m.: Jus Post Bellum
May 10, 6 p.m.: Persian and Balkan Break-out!
May 16, 6 p.m.: pILLOW tHEORY
May 17, 6 p.m.: A Brooklyn Tribute to Amiri Baraka
May 23, 10 p.m.: The Earthman Experience featuring DJ Hard Hittin Harry
May 24, 10 p.m.: Late Night Dance Party with DJ Ian Friday
May 30, 10 p.m.: Jeremiah Hosea Trio
May 31, 10 p.m.: Ursa Minor
June 6, 9 p.m.: BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Villalobos Brothers
June 7, 9 p.m.: BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Brown Rice Family

Betsy Head Park:
June 10, 7 p.m.: Duck Down BBQ with Boot Camp Clik & Friends
June 11, 7 p.m.: Sisqó

Brookfield Place Plaza:
July 16, 6 p.m.: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, No BS! Brass Band
July 17, 6 p.m.: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with The Robert Cray Band, John Hiatt & The Combo, James Carter Organ Trio

Brooklyn Bridge Park @ 7p.m.:
May 8: Global Dance Party with Balkan Beat Box, DJ Joro Boro
May 15: Electro-Jamz Dance Party with Cibo Matto, Javelin, JD Samson
May 22: African Dance Party with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Okayafrica Electrafrique with Chief Boima & DJ Underdog

Central Park:
June 7, 7 p.m.: Toquinho Tribute to Vinicius de Moraes, DJ Gaspar Muniz
June 14, 6 p.m.: ROberto Roena Y Su Apollo Soun, La Mecanica Popular, Little Louie Vega
June 15, 6 p.m.: Black Coffee, DJ Spoko
June 21, 7 p.m.: -M-, Emilie Simon
June 22, 7 p.m.: Buika, Marques Toliver
June 23, 8 p.m.: Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas
June 28, 3 p.m.: Sam Sparro, Ultra Nate, Kevin Aviance, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, Norma Jean Wright, Company Freak
June 29, 7 p.m.: Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
July 3, 7 p.m.: Herbert Holer, DJ Cosi, Marc Smooth
July 5, 3 p.m.: Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali,
July 6, 3 p.m.: Okee Dokee Brothers, Hybrid Movement Company, Shaun Parker & Company, Acrobuffos
July 8, 7 p.m.: Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Luke Temple
July 9, 6 p.m.: Beatnuts, Ana Tijoux, Bodega Bamz, DJ Tony Touch
July 12, 3 p.m.: Babasonicos, Juana Molina, La Santa Cecilia
July 13, 6 p.m.: Bonobo, Cibo Matto
July 19, 7 p.m.: Lenine & Martin Fondse Orchestra, Maira Freitas, DJ Tutu Moraes
July 20, 3 p.m.: Mishima, Txarango, Headbirds DJ Set
July 21, 7 p.m.: Amanda Palmer, Anti-Flag, Steve Earle, Michael Glabicki, Rebel Diaz, James Maddock
July 26, 3 p.m.: Chronixx & the Zincfence Redemption, Junior Reid, The Rice and Peas Crew
July 27, 3 p.m.: Rock Steady Crew 37th Anniversary
August 2, 3 p.m.: Dr. John & the Night Trippers, Hurray for the Riff Raff
August 3, 7 p.m.: Gregory Porter & Revive Big Band led by Igmar Thomas
August 9, 3 p.m.: Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Vashawn Mitchell, Kierra Sheard, Micah Stampley
August 10, 3 p.m.: Passenger, Liam Bailey, DJ Natasha Diggs
August 13, 5 p.m.: Gavin Degraw, Matt Nathanson, McMahon
August 16, 7 p.m.: Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, Sean Nicholas Savage
August 17, 7 p.m.: Musiq Soulchild
August 23, 3 p.m.: Alex Sensation
August 24, 6 p.m.: Fania All Stars
September 8, 7 p.m.: Gary Clark JR.

Commodore Barry Park:
August 23, Afropunk Fest
August 24, Afropunk Fest

Crotona Park:
June 24, 7 p.m.: Our Latin Thing with New Swing Sextet
June 25, 7 p.m.: Chuck Chillout, DJ Hollywood, Brucie B, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, LA Luv and 4th Quarter Boyz, hosted by Mick Benzo in association with Universal Zulu Nation and the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop culture
June 26, 7 p.m.: D.I.T.C (Lord Finesse, A.G., Diamond D, DJ Boogie Blind, Large Professor)
July 1, 7 p.m.: The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by pianist Dan Saunders

East River Park Amphitheater:
August 5, 7 p.m.: Típica 73 with guest: Adalberto Santiago, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra
August 6, 7 p.m.: Mobile Mondays LIVE – The Salsoul Edition featuring Joe Bataan, First Choice, Double Exposure, Instant Funk, Ladies of Skyy, Carol Williams
August 7, 7 p.m.: Mykki Blanco

Herbert Von King Park @ 7 p.m.:
June 18, DJ Bent Roc, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Special Ed
June 19, Algebra
June 22, A Tribute to Frankie Knuckles featuring the Soul Summit DJs, DJ Kervyn Mark, DJ Stormin’ Norman, with vocalists Kenny Bobien, Lynn Lockamy

House of Vans:
June 12: Charles Bradley & his Extrordinaires, Mac DeMarco, Benjamin Booker
June 19: Strfkr, Poolside

 

Hudson River Park:
July 10, 6 p.m.: Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit
July 13, 6:30 p.m.: David Berger Jazz Orchestra
July 20, 6:30 p.m.: Los Hermanos Colon
July 24, 6 p.m.: Teenage Fanclub
July 27, 6:30 p.m.: Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks
August 3, 6:30 p.m.: Nu’Lux
August 7, 6 p.m.: Temples
August 10, 6:30 p.m.: George Gee Swing Orchestra
August 23, 2 p.m.: Blues BBQ With Big Sam’s Funky Nation, John Nemeth, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland, Slide Brothers

BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center:
June 5, 12 p.m.: Darlene Love
June 12, 12 p.m.: Nicholas Payton presents Black American Music
June 19, 12 p.m.: The Ohio Players
June 26, 12 p.m.: Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9
July 3, 12 p.m.: Davell Crawford
July 10, 12 p.m.: Fredericks Brown
July 17, 12 p.m.: Third World
July 24, 12 p.m.: Bobby Rush
July 31, 12 p.m.: Snarky Puppy
August 7, 12 p.m.: Lisa Fischer

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts:
July 20, 4 p.m.: A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger featuring: Adira and David Amram, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Michael Moore, Holly Near, The Vanaver Caravan, George Wein, Dar Williams, Paul Winter Consort, Peter Yarrow, and Dan Zanes, plus surprise guests.
July 23, 7:30 p.m.: Larry Harlow’s HOMMY: A Latin Opera, Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo
July 25, 6 p.m.: John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World
July 26, 2 p.m.: Deep Roots of Rock and Roll by Toshi Reagon, Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and special guests
July 26, 6 p.m.: John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World
July 26, 7:30 p.m.: Roberta Flack, Davell Crawford
July 27, 1 p.m.: Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem
July 27, 5 p.m.: Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (Second performance)
July 27, 5 p.m.: Charanjit Singh, DJ Ushka (Dutty Artz), Baiana Play Som, DJ Ripley (Dutty Artz)
July 27, 5 p.m.: BaianaSystem, The Bombay Royale, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Emil Zrihan
July 30, 6:30 p.m.: Amel Larrieux, Avery*Sunshine, The Jones Family Singers
July 31, 7:30 p.m.: José González, yMusic
August 1, 5 p.m.: A Celebration of Jenneth Webster
August 2, 12 p.m.: La Casita: Poetry and Music
August 3, 1 p.m.: Echoes of the Divine: Arts of the Turko-Persian Diaspora
Featuring Ahmet Erdogdular, Shashmaqam, Quraishi, The New York Crimean Tatars
August 3, 3 p.m.: La Casita: Poetry and Music
August 3, 7 p.m.: Tribute to Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez Featuring The Cita Rodriguez Orchestra with special guests Pete Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Allen, Willie Torres, Eddie Montalvo, Ray Martinez and the Alma Moyo Drummers
August 6, 7:30 p.m.: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis
August 7, 7:30 p.m.: Tift Merritt
August 8, 7:30 p.m.: Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers
August 9, 1:30 p.m.: The Devil Makes Three
August 9, 6 p.m.: Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
August 10, 5 p.m.: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, Music Maker Blues Revue Featuring Dom Flemons, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam

Madison Square Park:
June 18, 7 p.m.: Nicole Atkins
June 25, 6 p.m.: Ester Rada, Maya Azucena
July 2, 6 p.m.: The SteelDrivers, Cricket Tell the Weather
July 9, 7 p.m.: John Fullbright
July 16, 7 p.m.: Jacky Terrasson Quartet
July 23, 7 p.m.: Jon Cleary
July 30, 6 p.m.: Forro in the Dark, Debo Band
August 6, 7 p.m.: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater:
August 12, 7 p.m.: Joe
August 13, 7 p.m.: Bobby Sanabria
August 14, 7 p.m.: Byron Cage
August 17, 4 p.m.: Harlem Family Day: Shine and the Moonbeams, Moona Luna, Kojo Odu Roney & Friends, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, DJ-KS 360
August 17, 7 p.m.: A Soul Train Tribute to Women in Music with Jamila Raegan, The Ki Ki Experience, Raye Six, Phyllisia Ross, Winston’s Crew Collective
August 23, 3 p.m.: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: The Wallace Roney Orchestra, Lionel Loueke, Melissa Aldana, Kris Bowers with special guest Chris Turner

McCarren Park:
June 14, 6 p.m.: Thee Oh Sees (Northside Festival)
June 15, 3 p.m.: Chvrches (Northside Festival)

Prospect Park:
June 4, 8 p.m.: Janelle Monae
June 7, 7 p.m.: The Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Lost Bayou Ramblers
June 4, 7 p.m.: Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman Featuring Denardo Coleman Vibe with special guests Afrika Bambaataa, Bill Laswell, Bruce Hornsby, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Joe Lovano, Patti Smith, and many more
June 14, 4 p.m.: Ozomatli’s Ozokidz
June 20, 7:30 p.m.: Amos Lee, Lake Street Dive
June 21, 7 p.m.: Dum Dum Girls, Hospitality, TEEN
June 26, 7:30 p.m.: Warpaint, Yellowbirds
June 27, 7 p.m.: Shovels & Rope, Valerie June, Shakey Graves
June 28, 7:30 p.m.: Luciano, Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter
July 5, 7 p.m.: Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli, Glenn Kotche, Aja Monet
July 10, 7 p.m.: Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas, Choc Quib Town, RVSB
July 11, 7:30 p.m.: Vote, It Ain’t Illegal Yet!
July 12, 7:30 p.m.: Alloy Orchestra: He Who Gets Slapped, Stephane Wrembel
July 18, 7 p.m.: Bebel Gilberto, Vinicius Cantuaria, Netsayi
July 19, 7:30 p.m.: Deltron 3030, Nomadic Massive
July 24, 7:30 p.m.: Nickel Creek
July 25, 7:30 p.m.: Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge’s Second-Hand Reading
August 1, 7:30 p.m.: Jimmy Bosch y Su Estrellas, Pedrito Martinez Group Featuring Ariance Trujillo
August 2, 7 p.m.: Kes The Band, Kuenta i Tambu, DJ Dr Wax, Steel Sensations
August 7, 7:30 p.m.: Altan, Maura O’Connell
August 8, 7:30 p.m.: Asian Dub Foundation: THX 1138, Taylor McFerrin
August 9, 7:30 p.m.: St. Vincent, San Fermin

Queensbridge Park:
July 15, 7 p.m.: Ismael Miranda, Rebel Tumbao, Joe Claussell
July 16, 7 p.m.: J. Holiday
July 17, 7 p.m.: Mobb Deep
July 20, 4 p.m.: Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Rashida Bumbray, Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz

Red Hook Park:
June 3, 7 p.m.: Ty Dolla $ign
June 4, 7 p.m.: Mark McGuire, Marissa Nadler, Delicate Steve
June 5, 7 p.m.: Pro Era

Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
May 16: Mariah Carey
May 23: Tim McGraw
May 26: Austin Mahone
May 30: Rascal Flatts
June 5: Pharrell
June 6: Sara Bareilles
June 13: Train
June 17: Little Mix
June 20: Fall Out Boy
June 27: Phillip Phillips
July 4: Ed Sheeran
July 11: Fifth Harmony
July 18: Jason Mraz
July 25: OneRepublic
July 29: Jennifer Hudson
August 1: Aloe Blacc
August 8: TBD
August 15: Neon Trees
August 22: TBD
August 29: Ariana Grande
September 1: Maroon 5
September 5: Usher

Rumsey Playfield at Central Park:
Good Morning America Summer Concert Series @ 7 a.m.:
June 6: Demi Lovato
June 13: Paramore
June 20: Jennifer Lopez
June 27: Afrojack
July 4: Jason Derulo
July 11: Keith Urban
July 18: Zedd
July 25: Kings of Leon
August 1: Enrique Iglesias
August 8: Luke Bryan
August 15: Florida Georgia Line
August 22: Robin Thicke
August 29: Brad Paisley

South Street Seaport:
July 11, 7 p.m.: Protomartyr, Alvvays
July 12, 1 p.m.: Village Voice 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival with The Julie Ruin, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters
More TBD
July 18, 7 p.m.: Calvin Love, las Rosas
July 25, 7 p.m.: Torres
Aug. 1, 7 p.m.: Snowmine, The Casket Girls
Aug. 8, 7 p.m.: Black Bananas, Shockwave Riderz
Aug. 15, 7 p.m.: Boogarins, Jacco Gardner

Rough Trade NYC:
May 12, 7 p.m.: Asgeir
May 17, 2 p.m.: Talib Kweli
May 24, 2 p.m.: Pujol

Tompkins Square Park:
August 24, 3 p.m.: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman Santana, Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Brianna Thomas

 

On the next list: Each show sorted by date.

June 4th
Mark McGuire, Marissa Nadler, Delicate Steve. 7pm. Red Hook Park
Janelle Monae. 8pm. Prospect Park

June 5th
Pro Era. 7pm. Red Hook Park
Pharrell. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
Darlene Love. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 6th
Sara Bareilles. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series) @ 6 a.m.
Demi Lovato. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Villalobos Brothers. 9pm. BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building

June 7th
The Soul Rebels, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Lost Bayou Ramblers. 7pm. Prospect Park
Toquinho Tribute to Vinicius de Moraes, DJ Gaspar Muniz. 7pm. Central Park
BAMcafé Live curated by Terrance McKnight: Brown Rice Family. 9pm BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building

June 10th
Duck Down BBQ with Boot Camp Clik & Friends. 7pm. Betsy Head Park

June 11th
Sisqó. 7pm. Betsy Head Park

June 12th
Charles Bradley & his Extrordinaires, Mac DeMarco, Benjamin Booker. House of Vans
Nicholas Payton presents Black American Music. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman Featuring Denardo Coleman Vibe with special guests Afrika Bambaataa, Bill Laswell, Bruce Hornsby, Flea, Geri Allen, Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Joe Lovano, Patti Smith, and many more. 7pm. Prospect Park

June 13th
Train. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Paramore. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

June 14th
Roberto Roena Y Su Apollo Soun, La Mecanica Popular, Little Louie Vega. 6pm. Central Park
Thee Oh Sees. 6pm. (Northside Festival) McCarren Park
Ozomatli’s Ozokidz. 4pm. Prospect Park

June 15th
Black Coffee, DJ Spoko. 6pm. Central Park
Chvrches (Northside Festival) 3pm. McCarren Park

June 17th
Little Mix. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

June 18th
Nicole Atkins. 7pm. Madison Square Park
DJ Bent Roc, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Special Ed. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park

June 19th
Algebra. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park
Strfkr, Poolside. House of Vans
The Ohio Players. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 20th
Jennifer Lopez. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Amos Lee, Lake Street Dive. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Fall Out Boy. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

June 21st
-M-, Emilie Simon. 7pm. Central Park
Dum Dum Girls, Hospitality, TEEN. 7pm. Prospect Park

June 22nd
Buika, Marques Toliver. 7pm. Central Park
A Tribute to Frankie Knuckles featuring the Soul Summit DJs, DJ Kervyn Mark, DJ Stormin’ Norman, with vocalists Kenny Bobien, Lynn Lockamy. Algebra. 7pm. Herbert Von King Park

June 23rd
Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas. 8pm. Central Park

June 24th
Our Latin Thing with New Swing Sextet. 7pm. Crotona Park

June 25th
Chuck Chillout, DJ Hollywood, Brucie B, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, LA Luv and 4th Quarter Boyz, hosted by Mick Benzo in association with Universal Zulu Nation and the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop culture. 7pm. Crotona Park
Ester Rada, Maya Azucena. 6pm. Madison Square Park

June 26th
Warpaint, Yellowbirds. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
D.I.T.C (Lord Finesse, A.G., Diamond D, DJ Boogie Blind, Large Professor.) 7pm. Crotona Park
Butler Bernstein and the Hot 9. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

June 27th
Shovels & Rope, Valerie June, Shakey Graves. 7pm. Prospect Park
Phillip Phillips. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Afrojack. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

June 28th
Sam Sparro, Ultra Nate, Kevin Aviance, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, Norma Jean Wright, Company Freak. 3pm. Central Park
Luciano, Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter. 7:30. Prospect Park
Harlem Arts Festival. Richard Rodger’s Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park

June 29th
Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. 7pm. Central Park
Harlem Arts Festival. Richard Rodger’s Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park

July 1st
The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by pianist Dan Saunders. 7pm. Crotona Park

July 2nd
The SteelDrivers, Cricket Tell the Weather. 6pm. Madison Square Park

July 3rd
Herbert Holer, DJ Cosi, Marc Smooth. 7pm. Central Park
Davell Crawford. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center

July 4th
Ed Sheeran. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Jason Derulo. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

July 5th
Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali. 3pm. Central Park
Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli, Glenn Kotche, Aja Monet. 7pm. Prospect Park

July 6th
Okee Dokee Brothers, Hybrid Movement Company, Shaun Parker & Company, Acrobuffos. 3pm. Central Park

July 8th
Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Luke Temple. 7pm. Central Park

July 9th
Beatnuts, Ana Tijoux, Bodega Bamz, DJ Tony Touch. 6pm. Central Park
John Fullbright. 7pm. Madison Square Park

July 10th
Wild Beasts, Mutual Benefit. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Fredericks Brown. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas, Choc Quib Town, RVSB 7pm. Prospect Park

July 11th
Vote, It Ain’t Illegal Yet! 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Fifth Harmony. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Keith Urban. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Protomartyr, Alvvays. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 12th
Babasonicos, Juana Molina, La Santa Cecilia. 3pm. Central Park
Alloy Orchestra: He Who Gets Slapped, Stephane Wrembel. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Village Voice 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival with Dinosaur JR, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters. 1pm. South Street Seaport

July 13th
Bonobo, Cibo Matto. 6pm. Central Park
David Berger Jazz Orchestra. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park

July 15th
Ismael Miranda, Rebel Tumbao, Joe Claussell. 7pm. Queensbridge Park

July 16th
Jacky Terrasson Quartet. 7pm. Madison Square Park
J. Holiday. 7pm. Queensbridge Park
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, No BS! Brass Band. 6pm. Brookfield Place Plaza

July 17th
Third World. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Mobb Deep. 7pm. Queensbridge Park
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival with The Robert Cray Band, John Hiatt & The Combo, James Carter Organ Trio. 6pm. Brookfield Place Plaza

July 18th
Bebel Gilberto, Vinicius Cantuaria, Netsayi. 7pm. Prospect Park
Jason Mraz. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Zedd. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Calvin Love, las Rosas. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 19th
Lenine & Martin Fondse Orchestra, Maira Freitas, DJ Tutu Moraes. 7pm. Central Park
Deltron 3030, Nomadic Massive. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

July 20th
Mishima, Txarango, Headbirds DJ Set. 3pm. Central Park
Los Hermanos Colon. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger featuring: Adira and David Amram, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Michael Moore, Holly Near, The Vanaver Caravan, George Wein, Dar Williams, Paul Winter Consort, Peter Yarrow, and Dan Zanes, plus surprise guests. 4pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Rashida Bumbray, Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz. 4pm. Queensbridge Park

July 21st
Amanda Palmer, Anti-Flag, Steve Earle, Michael Glabicki, Rebel Diaz, James Maddock. 7pm. Central Park

July 23rd
Larry Harlow’s HOMMY: A Latin Opera, Michael Stuart y Su Tremendo. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Jon Cleary. 7pm. Madison Square Park

July 24th
Teenage Fanclub. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Bobby Rush. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Nickel Creek. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

July 25th
John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge’s Second-Hand Reading. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
OneRepublic. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Kings of Leon. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Torres. 7pm. South Street Seaport

July 26th
Chronixx & the Zincfence Redemption, Junior Reid, The Rice and Peas Crew. 3pm. Central Park
Deep Roots of Rock and Roll by Toshi Reagon, Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and special guests. 2pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Roberta Flack, Davell Crawford. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

July 27th
Rock Steady Crew 37th Anniversary. 3pm. Central Park
Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem. 1pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Banda de los Muertos, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem (Second performance.) 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Charanjit Singh, DJ Ushka (Dutty Artz), Baiana Play Som, DJ Ripley (Dutty Artz.) 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
BaianaSystem, The Bombay Royale, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Emil Zrihan. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

July 29th
Jennifer Hudson. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

July 30th
Amel Larrieux, Avery*Sunshine, The Jones Family Singers. 6:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Forro in the Dark, Debo Band. 6pm. Madison Square Park

July 31st
Snarky Puppy. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
José González, yMusic. 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
August 1st
A Celebration of Jenneth Webster. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Jimmy Bosch y Su Estrellas, Pedrito Martinez Group Featuring Ariance Trujillo. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
Aloe Blacc. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Enrique Iglesias. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Snowmine, The Casket Girls. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 2nd
Dr. John & the Night Trippers, Hurray for the Riff Raff. 3pm. Central Park
La Casita: Poetry and Music. 12pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Kes The Band, Kuenta i Tambu, DJ Dr Wax, Steel Sensations. 7pm. Prospect Park

August 3rd
Gregory Porter & Revive Big Band led by Igmar Thomas. 7pm. Central Park
Nu’Lux. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Echoes of the Divine: Arts of the Turko-Persian Diaspora Featuring Ahmet Erdogdular, Shashmaqam, Quraishi, The New York Crimean Tatars. 1pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
La Casita: Poetry and Music. 3pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Tribute to Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez Featuring The Cita Rodriguez Orchestra with special guests Pete Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Allen, Willie Torres, Eddie Montalvo, Ray Martinez and the Alma Moyo Drummers. 7pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

August 5th
Típica 73 with guest: Adalberto Santiago, Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater

August 6th
Mobile Mondays LIVE – The Salsoul Edition featuring Joe Bataan, First Choice, Double Exposure, Instant Funk, Ladies of Skyy, Carol Williams. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis 7:30pm Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. 7pm. Madison Square Park

August 7th
Mykki Blanco. 7pm. East River Park Amphitheater
Temples. 6pm. Hudson River Park
Lisa Fischer. 12pm. BAM’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center
Tift Merritt 7:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Altan, Maura O’Connell. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

August 8th
Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers. 7:30pm Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Asian Dub Foundation: THX 1138, Taylor McFerrin. 7:30pm. Prospect Park
TBD. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Luke Bryan. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Black Bananas, Shockwave Riderz. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 9th
Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Vashawn Mitchell, Kierra Sheard, Micah Stampley. 3pm. Central Park
The Devil Makes Three. 1:30pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale. 6pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
St. Vincent, San Fermin. 7:30pm. Prospect Park

August 10th
Passenger, Liam Bailey, DJ Natasha Diggs. 3pm. Central Park
George Gee Swing Orchestra. 6:30pm. Hudson River Park
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, Music Maker Blues Revue Featuring Dom Flemons, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam. 5pm. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

August 12th
Joe. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 13th
Gavin Degraw, Matt Nathanson, McMahon. 5pm. Central Park
Bobby Sanabria. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 14th
Byron Cage. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 15th
Neon Trees. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Florida Georgia Line. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
Boogarins, Jacco Gardner. 7pm. South Street Seaport

August 16th
Blood Orange, Moses Sumney, Sean Nicholas Savage. 7pm. Central Park

August 17th
Musiq Soulchild. 7pm. Central Park
Harlem Family Day: Shine and the Moonbeams, Moona Luna, Kojo Odu Roney & Friends, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, DJ-KS 360. 4pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater
A Soul Train Tribute to Women in Music with Jamila Raegan, The Ki Ki Experience, Raye Six, Phyllisia Ross, Winston’s Crew Collective. 7pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 22nd
Hunter Hayes. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Robin Thicke. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

August 23rd
Alex Sensation. 3pm. Central Park
Afropunk Fest. Commodore Barry Park
Blues BBQ With Big Sam’s Funky Nation, John Nemeth, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland, Slide Brothers. 2pm. Hudson River Park
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: The Wallace Roney Orchestra, Lionel Loueke, Melissa Aldana, Kris Bowers with special guest Chris Turner. 3pm. Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater

August 24th
Fania All Stars. 6pm. Central Park
Afropunk Fest. Commodore Barry Park
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman Santana, Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Brianna Thomas. 3pm. Tompkins Square Park

August 29th
Ariana Grande. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)
Brad Paisley. 7am. Rumsey Playfield at Central Park: Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

September 1st
Maroon 5. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

September 5th
Usher. 6am. Rockefeller Plaza (Today Toyota Concert Series)

September 8th
Gary Clark JR. 7pm. Central Park