Friends of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Member Name: Sandy Jarrett

What are your top three adjectives or words to describe the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival?

Sandy: Fabulous. Diverse, which I think is my favorite adjective because of the variety of the acts, the variety of music that you’re exposed to here. And then, family-friendly, because I’ve been bringing my daughter here for years (although she’s all grown up now).

What’s your all-time favorite concert here?

Sandy: That’s really, really difficult. I think it’s hard because every summer there are really good bands. I’m just going to go with Nick Cave. Because he was just phenomenal. Charmed the pants off me. And then Janelle Monae and Chaka Khan was pretty good too.

What artists would you like to see at the Bandshell?

Sandy: Kanaan. Hiautus Kaiyote. Do you know her? She’s got this dreamy kind of music… Well, Gregory Porter was already here, so that was pretty amazing. If you’d asked me last year, I would’ve said Gregory Porter.

Do you remember what your first concert was? Or when it was? How long have you been a member?

Sandy: I live over on the Ocean Avenue side of the park, get off at Prospect Park, I live two blocks away from the subway, so I think one summer I was walking by as exercise and I heard—it was Philip Glass! So ever since then I’ve been coming to the shows, and then I don’t know, somebody got us into the tent one year and that’s it…never will I ever be out there again. First of all, you don’t have to stand on the line, and second of all, you get the best seats in the house. This is actually a staycation for me. Instead of going away, this is what I do. We bring water, we bring food, and the Farm on Adderley is great, so there’s only pluses here. And I skeeve at public bathrooms so bad. Even in here, it’s clean, but it’s so much better than going out there. It’s a win-win all around.

Where do you spend most of your time when you come here?

Sandy: In the third section, between the third and sixth rows, because I think those are the best seats. On the aisle. I do love the Friends Tent, so for the benefit shows, we sit right up there behind the yellow line, and—is her name Lisa, the security guard? She’s so awesome! She looks out for you. She’s always on it. Always. Sometimes I see them daydreaming, you know, I understand it, but she’s so focused. She’s lovely, she really is. I find that everybody, actually, is really nice. Even the wait staff. And they’re working so hard, I see them, I’m like, “You poor things.” I remember being that age.

What would you say makes the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival stand out compared to other festivals?

Sandy: One year I bought my Governor’s Ball tickets before the schedule came out, and that weekend—it was a 3 day pass, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—and that Saturday, Soul Rebels were here. I didn’t use my Saturday pass! I was like, oh hell no. I think it’s the variety of musical artists that they bring. Like for instance, Governor’s Ball—it’s a certain genre of music, but with here, it’s everything. You don’t know from one week to the next who you’re going to see, and I think… I remember coming off the train one year, and not planning to come, and then I heard this great music. Who is that? I can’t remember the name of the band, it was an LA band, but they were dance music and it was so hot, but we were like “Oh yeah.” So we dropped off our stuff and we came over here, and it was a night like this where it was really hot and humid, but we couldn’t stop dancing! I don’t remember the band’s name now, and I’d never heard of them before, but that’s what makes this so special.

Were you here for Trombone Shorty? That was a day like this too, but I couldn’t stop dancing either.

Sandy: Did you see when they all switched instruments? I didn’t even notice it happening, I was like “what?” Why is he on the drums? I saw them in New Orleans too. I love New Orleans. I lived there for four years. Did you know his real name is Troy? That was such a good night. It was 102 but you couldn’t stop dancing. There was a lady with her walker dancing! She was kicking up a storm. And you know who’s also great? The guy that takes these damn photographs. He’s everywhere! He’s on the roof, he’s over there, and he takes great pictures.

Where did you grow up, and how long have you been in Brooklyn?

Sandy: So I’m Jamaican, I’m the only non-naturalized citizen in my family. Everybody’s an American citizen, I just can’t seem to say, yeah I’m going to give it up, but… I could get dual citizenship, but I don’t know yet. So I came here when I was nine, and I’ve lived in Brooklyn for most of my life. I lived in the city for like 3 years before I had my daughter, I lived in New Orleans, I lived in California, but I’ve always come back to Brooklyn. I lived in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, and I got priced out of Fort Greene, so I ended up right here in Flatbush, which is now Prospect Lefferts Garden, if you don’t know. And I bought a co-op there, and thank God I did when I did, because I couldn’t even afford to rent if I tried right now. It’s like practically the center of the cosmos, you know. I have friends that move from Boston the minute they graduate. I got to say, I love it, but I almost miss that little intimate neighborhood. I gotta say, at least it’s not Williamsburg, that’s all I can say. I remember when I was in high school, I went to Tilden High School, and I couldn’t walk through this park without getting chased out. I’ve been chased in this park in the 70s. But you see, change is good. Look at it now, with Smorgasburg—did you see Lakeside? My daughter, her dad would take her ice skating at that rink when she was growing up and now it’s just The Place, it’s wonderful. They got a little bar, you can sit and hang out.

I know, change is good sometimes. And even better if you own!

Sandy: And I was so worried. I worked three jobs, and I was so scared. I was like, if I lose one, what’s going to happen? My mortgage payments, my daughter was, I think she was about to go to high school, you know high schoolers, they want CDs, they want books, they want to go on trips, and I was terrified. But I’m so glad it worked out. Because it’s such a great place to live. And with this—I buy a membership to SummerStage as well, which I hardly ever use because this is so great. I don’t really have to choose, am I going to go to this one or that one, because they’re staggered.

Do you have any stories for us? Any memorable stories?

Sandy: Only of just pure joy, because music—ohmygod, am I tearing up?—music makes me so happy. And this makes me happy. I’m so glad that I get to enjoy this with my best friend! I’m not much of a celebrity-hound, but ooh it was Chaka Khan, you know who was sitting like—we were sitting right by the barrier and Bjork was like three rows ahead of us. I was like, ohmygod that’s Bjork! That was so cool. She’s a big Chaka Khan fan, cause we saw her hanging out with Chaka Khan later. Every summer, it’s just—all the people that at work know, when there’s a show, I’m out. Because I work in Connecticut! I’m on the 4:30 train, sorry. When people come looking for me, I’m like, sorry I can’t help you, it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. 4:30 train, I’m out!