Gate-pass member Alfonso Pastor has participated in the Friends program for five years. Read on to see why he keeps coming back to the Bandshell.
Tell us about yourself.
Alfonso: I came from Honduras in 1972 and when I found out about the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in the eighties, I used to come every now and then but I was not yet a member. To me, coming to BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! three days a week is my summer therapy. I do not let anything get in the way. Everyone at the Friends entrance notices that I’m one of the first ones here and I encourage my neighbors and friends to come and see the concerts.
Why did you first decide to become a member?
Alfonso: It’s so accessible for me to be here. The venue is like an amphitheater, as if I’m at Lincoln Centre or Barclays, only in the open air. I enjoy seeing the different cultures, the different people coming in. Everybody’s really friendly. Just being in the park alone is great. There’s nothing like it in Brooklyn or all of New York.
Do you remember your first concert here at the Bandshell?
Alfonso: The first concert was mostly cultural; the concerts only lasted around 2 hours and it was a very small stage. There were just a few seats; there was not a big hoopla back then. There were no sponsors or anything but nonetheless, I think it was still a great thing because you couldn’t find a festival like this in all of Brooklyn.
Which concert has been the most memorable for you?
Alfonso: Jon Batiste, who came last year, because he got off the stage and walked through all of the aisles during the concert. He played “Amazing Grace” and it really got to everyone. He’s very passionate. And another one spiritually, was Shirley Caesar, a few years back.
Who would you like to see play here?
Alfonso: Gypsy Kings would really be great. Shirley Bassey, Charles Aznavour or a group from Puerto Rico, more artists from Mexico, Argentina or Brazil would really be great. But I come to whatever performance is here. Even if it’s not my favorite genre, I like coming out and watching the people. The camaraderie is just great. The sun goes down, you see the clouds passing by, the stars twinkling, and the nice breeze.