Smells Like Summer Music Fest returning to Forest Park
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Jun 18, 2019 | 2593 views | 0 0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carmine Gonzalez always had a dream to bring local artists together for a free summer festival.

The CEO and producer of Loss4Words Productions has donated the equipment and most of his company’s resources to make the festival happen in Forest Park at the end of this month.

The Smells Like Summer Music Festival, now in its fourth year, features diverse local talent. It will take place on Saturday, June 29, from noon to 5 p.m. at the bandshell in Forest Park.

“It’s a free summer concert,” Gonzalez said. “Not a lot of people can afford ticket prices these days, and it spotlights a lot of local artists who wouldn’t normally be able to do a festival or play outdoors.”

The summer festival has grown substantially since its first year. About 50 people showed up to the first festival, while last year’s event drew about 300.

Gonzalez and his crew, who have been producing live music for 20 years, curates the festival’s lineup.

“We’ve been trying to be as diverse as possible,” he said. “We have young up-and-coming musicians to guys who are in their 50s and have been performing in the Queens area over the last 30 to 40 years. It’s a broad range of different styles of music and a broad range of different generations.”

The Smells Like Summer Music Festival 2019 headliner is Astoria’s own local star from Queens Comfort, James Avatar, and his band, The Blacklist, as well as singer-songwriters Ivan Polanco and Ay-Oh

The lineup will also feature veteran cover bands such as Harmonic Asylum, IROC, Lyxx, Pipe and Damaged Goods, and Brazilian rock band, Midnight Jack, and 15-year-old solo guitarist Marz Covers.

One of the city’s highest-rated Stone Temple Pilots tribute bands, Unglued, will also perform. The event will be hosted by professional wrestler Eric James.

One of the youngest performers at this year’s festival, 13-year-old Emmy Liu-Wang is an up-and-coming Broadway star who will be performing the National Anthem.

In addition to the festival, Loss4Words Productions works with the Bayside High School music program. The production company offers internships to students interested in a career in the music and stage industry, including technical positions at the Smells Like Summer Music Festival.

Gonzalez is also hoping to get the local Boy Scouts involved for the color guard.

“We’re trying to approach all the different angles of giving back to the community by working with the local high school,” he said.

Gonzalez is also working on attracting local artists to display their work, as well as globally inspired food trucks.

“My ultimate goal is to have this become one of the biggest free concerts that there is,” Gonzalez said. “It’s something that, from little kids to older adults, they can all come out and have a good time.”

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