South Street Seaport was bustling this Saturday for 4Knots. Young people, old people, and families weaving through its colorful food trucks and tents and stopping by the small and main stages to check out the festival’s musical offerings. Throughout the day, the throngs of people grew, music lovers lining up, sweaty under the beaming sun, to see their favorite bands. As an all-ages show, among the festival’s many attendants, of course, were children, holding on to parents’ hands. Why bring kids to a festival, beside the fact that you literally can’t buy this level of entertainment for the family more cheaply anywhere in the city (for real, it’s free)? We stopped a few parents and grandparents to ask what the selling point was for them.
One stand-out couple in the crowd of Speedy Ortiz’s set was Vic and his shy son, the latter perched on Vic’s shoulders watching the spectacle. Vic explained that he and his wife had just started bringing their young kids (they live in New Jersey) to these kinds of events.
“They like the live music,” he said. “They like the energy.”
Judy Schwartz and young grandkids Jadyn Daniels and Julius Avidane (above) perused the 4Knots t-shirt stand before the show began. The two were “having a sleepover” in Manhattan for the weekend, she said, and, knowing what would be in store, stopped at the festival before hopping on a ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
“It’s fabulous,” she said of the festival, “it’s got everything,” Julius adding that he “knew there was gonna be stuff.” He was holding their bag of Fairway swag. They’d gotten, “Two t-shirts, two small trucks, two big trucks and two notepads and one keychain,” said Jadyn.
Mother daughter pair Nicole and Aissata Lam checked out sponsor stands, too, having come, specifically, to see Mac DeMarco, who’d be playing later that evening. They’d seen DeMarco play earlier that summer and took the opportunity to see him for free, explained Aissata, crowding under Nicole’s umbrella for some shade.
“It’s a great experience for children,” said Nicole of free music festivals. “To get them away from computer games and everything.” Plus, she added, it may encourage them “to follow in that direction of becoming a musician.” Aissata herself is a singer in their local JCC choir.