WasFest, a new festival curated by legendary musician, producer, and Blue Note Records president Don Was will make its debut at the Wang and Shubert Theatres in Boston, MA on June 23rd–25th with a lineup including Dark Star Orchestra, Lettuce, Robert Glasper, and more.
Presented by The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame (FARHOF), an initiative of the Boch Center, WasFest will feature performances by some of Was’s longtime collaborators and friends, with each paying homage to a classic album or performance, whether their own or another artist’s.
“It was a pleasure to put this festival together, pairing some of my favorite artists performing today with some of my all-time favorite records,” said Don Was. “Albums like Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil or Grant Green’s Street of Dreams don’t always get the attention they deserve, and I hope we can bring some incredible music to new audiences with WasFest.”
The festival will kick off on Friday, June 23rd at the Shubert Theatre with singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, who will perform her album Plantation Lullabies in its entirety. Also on the bill for night one are Robert Glasper, playing “The Best of Black Radio 1, 2 & 3”, and special guests Lalah Hathaway, Bilal, and Stokley.
Meanwhile, over at the Wang Theatre, Dark Star Orchestra will recreate the sets the Grateful Dead performed at the same venue on November 14th, 1978, back when it was called “Boston Music Hall.” The show marked the band’s final performance at the theater after more than a dozen throughout the ’70s.
Saturday will feature the Julian Lage Quartet performing Grant Green’s 1964 album Street of Dreams in its entirety with keyboardist John Medeski. The Gerald Clayton Trio will open with special guests Ambrose Akinmusire and Immanuel Wilkins performing the late Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil.
The festival will conclude on Sunday with a double bill featuring Boston’s own Lettuce with special guest Judith Hill and English reggae band Steel Pulse. Lettuce and Hill will pay tribute to Aretha Franklin’s legendary 1971 album Live at the Fillmore West, which features classic songs including “Respect”, “Love the One You’re With”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and more. Steel Pulse will play its own 1982 album True Democracy in its entirety.
“This is an all-star lineup from top to bottom, with incredibly talented musicians at the top of their craft,” said Joe Spaulding, president and CEO of the Boch Center. “At FARHOF we are committed to uniting our audiences with the common threads that shape all music. WasFest will allow people in the audience to follow those threads from Jazz to Reggae to Roots and more and showcase the power of music in many forms to bring us all together.”
Tickets for the inaugural WasFest will go on sale on Friday, April 14th at 10:00 a.m. ET at WasFest.org. Each performance is sold individually.