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Art, Music, Festivals: Summer in Easton

The Art of Urban Environments Festival is possibly one of the the coolest things to ever appear on the streets of Easton. At least in my lifetime.

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Here’s something cool you should know about. Now through Columbus Day, Easton’s home to something called Art of Urban Environments Festival–or Urban Arts Fest for short. Expect installations in unexpected places. (More on that in a minute.) If you made it to the opening day of the Easton Farmers’ Market, you probably encountered Asphalt Orchestra−a very cool motley crew of a dozen marching band-style musicians playing originals and rousing, erudite interpretations of say, Frank Zappa and Radiohead. Think New Orleans street music meets downtown New York City intellectualism; it’s no surprise the orchestra is an outgrowth of Bang on a Can.

What you may not have known is that the Asphalt Orchestra was just one small part of two events going on concurrently this summer—the aforementioned Art of Urban Environments and the Chansonette Fringe Festival. The latter takes place all day, every Saturday, from 11am-6pm, in Easton’s West Ward. The fringe fest showcases music that ranges from jazz to blues to folk and back again. More specifically, here’s what to look out for in the next few weeks.

Kids in the Park, Easton. Cathy Stoops and Lucienne di Biase Dooley will be planting flowers with children from Easton Area Community Center and Weed and Seed. Come and get your hands dirty. Saturday, June 11, 11:30am-1:30pm; Centennial Park (12th and Ferry Sts.)

Duo Jalal, Easton. Imagine the traditions of jazz, world, and classical music coming together. Then take those imaginings and throw them out the window. Comprised of violist Kathryn Lockwood and percussionist Yousif Sheronick, Duo Jalal will play two free concerts that are guaranteed to surprise you as they skip you around the globe. Saturday, June 18, 2pm: Historic Chapel at Easton Cemetary, 401 North 7th Street, and at 4pm at An Untamed Place site, on Bushkill Drive behind the Spot, at 300 North 3rd Street.

Wait, what? Did you just say there’s going to be a concert in a cemetary chapel that’s not normally open to the public and near an art installation that looks like nature’s bed? Yes, yes I did. Martha Posner‘s Untamed Place is enchanting and magical, comprised of moss, vines, and honeysuckle and nestled close to the Bushkill. There’s beauty in all kind of surprising places and situations and Easton, which I have long contended is home to the most random, unexpected, serendipitous people, places and things, is pretty uniquely qualified to host such a festival.

Carrie Havranek is a writer in Easton who enjoys the serendipity of living here every day.

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