BRIC Stands With Our Black Community

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Friends of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Member Name: Reggie and Simone Ollen

What was the first BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival concert you attended? 

Simone: One of the first ones I remember coming to when my first son was about 8 months old was Beth Orton, so I guess this was about 7 or 8 years ago. We weren’t members yet but we sat up there. 

Reggie: He was about one and he was just mellow the whole show which was just unheard of for us at the time. 

What are some of your favorite, most memorable concerts? 

Reggie: Mike Stern, about three or four years ago.

Simone: Bonnie Rait.  It was a benefit concert. It was a beautiful night and it was breezy and you felt like she was just in your backyard with her guitar. 

Reggie: Burning Spear was always a highlight here, just because the crowd was so into it. 

Reggie: Mother India, the Indian Film. Wow, what a classic. They had live accompaniment – 2 DJs and a drummer. They reduced the film to an hour from five hours.  It was one of the events here that was changing. 

When did you become members?

Reggie: This is our fifth or sixth year. You needed an oasis at the show. You needed a place that had access to an air conditioned bathroom. It made all of the difference!

Simone: Oh, I remember!  It was the summer of 2009.  It was the year our second son, Dash was born and then that summer, I was like, “We’re totally going to become members because we have two kids now!” Reggie would work late sometimes since he works in the film business, so it was a way that I could come and be able to handle them a little bit better. 

Reggie: You have 40 somewhat relationships within the tent when you’re a member. There’s 40 people you kind of know a little bit with interactions at different times and it’s a nice little community. 

What three adjectives would you use to describe the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival?

Reggie: Bedazzling. I’m gonna go there! It’s a jewel. Changing. 

Simone: Multicultural, fun, community, social

How would you describe the Festival to someone from out of town?

Simone: It’s a concert series that brings musicians and dancers and poets from all over the world into our backyard in Brooklyn where we can enjoy it with friends and family. 

Reggie: It’s a chance to see artists you don’t know and leave thinking, “Boy, I’m glad I came.” 

Who would be your dream artist to see at the Festival?

Reggie: Tom Waits. Or Iggy Pop. A night of surfer music. 

What is your Farm on Adderley go-to meal?

Reggie: Kale Salad, Peasant Fries

Simone: Pork Bowl, Panzanella

What impact has the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival had on the Brooklyn community?

Simone: Very positive. It’s made Brooklyn more of a destination where people want to be. We don’t have to travel to Manhattan or anywhere else. It just comes to us. 

Reggie: Bringing in all of the different cultural shows. I find myself in a large Brazilian crowd and it’s this mix of people that are in your neighborhood. I really love when it feels like we’re in India. It’s just so colorful.