Downtown Ithaca Releases CFCU Summer Concert Series Schedule

Summer Concert Series logo. Purple background, lemon colored circle in the center

Lineup includes a wide range of highly talented regional and local acts

MAY 1, 2019 ITHACA NY – The Downtown Ithaca Alliance enthusiastically announces its dynamic lineup for its CFCU Summer Concert Series which kicks off at 6 p.m. on June 20 and continues each Thursday until September 12 — with the exception of a Wednesday show during the week of Grassroots Festival, and a one-week hiatus for the Fourth of July  — at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Ithaca Commons in downtown Ithaca.

The series will cover a variety of genres, ranging from Latin to jazz and hip-hop to soul, funk, and pop.  

NEO Project is kicking off this highly anticipated series with its seven-piece, high energy party music band that will get you up and dancing. August First, a Massachusetts-based band celebrating the life of Jerry Garcia through a style they define as “Blues-Grassicana,” will offer a toe-tapping performance the following week.  

There will then be a break in the series for the first week of July to honor our nation’s Independence Day before our July 11th performance by Empire Kings, an Ithaca-based hip-hop group featuring Ave Mack, DJ Cdz Nuts, Shido, and Izzy B. They will begin by creating a live painting on stage, accompanied by their DJ, followed by a high energy set of music about current events that also make you want to dance.  Maddy Walsh and The Blind Spots band standing together

El Rumbon is going to make the series sizzle when it brings its hot Latin salsa tunes to the Bernie Milton on Wednesday, July 17, and, then local favorite Kitestring will make you wanna rock out as they play hits from their latest album “Seven Years Good Luck” during their July 25 performance. Kitestring last rocked the CFCU Summer Concert Series in 2017, when they won the Battle of the Bands finale. Opening for Kitestring is progressive rock band Noon Fifteen, an Ithaca-based group that blends rich vocal harmonies, vintage keyboard, and guitar tones, and funk-tinged bass and drum grooves into catchy, original songs that are full of surprises.  

Just when you thought the series couldn’t get any more entertaining, New Paltz-based band The Big Takeover will amaze you with its powerhouse, Jamaican-born singer and songwriter NeeNee Rushie and its horn-powered band showcasing its deep fluency in reggae and world music along with hints of soul and Motown and their own infectious brand of pop classicism. This multi-talented group will be performing Aug. 1, the halfway point of the series.

Also, in August, you’ll see performances from country singer Janet Batch who is opening for Rose & The Bros, a powerhouse ensemble specializing in irresistible Zydeco and Cajun dance grooves resonating with sweet vocal harmonies and crooning country roots, on Aug. 8. Ithaca’s own Maddy Walsh & The Blind Spots on Aug. 15 and The Gunpoets on Aug. 22  will once again be part of this incredible series along with local favorites Fall Creek Brass Band on Sept. 5.

Rounding out this fantastic lineup are Honey Cave, an Ithaca-based quartet featuring harmony and strings. They’ll be opening for Staten Island-based hip hop musician HeeSun Lee on Aug. 29. Closing out the series is Ithaca’s all-star funk band The Comb Down. Focusing specifically on the musical styles of 1960’s-1970’s funk, the musicians in this group have been seen with acts such as John Brown’s Body, Dispatch, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Big Mean Sound Machine.

The concerts will happen rain or shine with The Range (above Autumn Leaves Used Books on the Commons) hosting any of the concerts affected by adverse weather.

While you’re attending the Summer Concert Series, visit the concession stand where you’ll find a grand selection of refreshing beers from Seneca Beverage Corporation and tasty wines from Wagner Vineyards. Please have your state ID ready when purchasing alcoholic beverages.

“This year’s lineup is jam-packed with highly talented musicians and singers with diversified sounds. You won’t want to miss a single show. We are truly grateful for CFCU and all of our other sponsors for helping to keep this crowd-pleasing tradition alive,” says Downtown Ithaca Alliance Special Events Director Summer Keown.

CFCU Community Credit Union (CFCU) returns as title sponsor of the CFCU Summer Concert Series and will be raising funds for the Community Foundation of Tompkins County through a raffle with exciting prizes. Concertgoers can buy a reusable cup, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and be entered to win a grand prize at the final concert: concert tickets, courtesy of DSP Shows (more information to come) and an overnight stay at the Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons.

“CFCU has been the main sponsor of the Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series for several years,” says Carolyn Hamaker of CFCU. “We believe in supporting the arts in our community and are excited for everyone to enjoy the wide variety of artists who will be performing at this year’s CFCU Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series. In the near future, we will be opening our new CFCU Transformation Center on the Ithaca Commons. We can’t wait to showcase this amazing new space. Be sure to stop in and see why we’re so excited.”.

This year, the series is also made possible by significant support from Seneca Beverage CorporationIthaca Marriott Downtown on the CommonsCity Centre ApartmentsWagner VineyardsMaguire Family of Dealerships, and Cayuga Radio Group.

For more information about the CFCU Summer Concert Series and other Downtown Ithaca summer events, visit or visit Downtown Ithaca’s Facebook Event Page. To listen to a selection of music from some of this year’s performers, check out our 2019 Summer Concert Series Playlist on Spotify at  



Darlene M. Wilber, communications manager
Downtown Ithaca Alliance
(607) 277-8679


2019 CFCU Summer Concert Series Schedule:

June 20 NEO Project (Funked Up Jazzy Soul)
June 27 August First (Blues-Grassicana)
NO SHOW July 4th
July 11 Empire Kings (Hip-Hop)
July 17* El Rumbon (Latin/Salsa)
July 25 Kitestring (Alternative Rock) w/ Noon Fifteen (Progressive Soul Rock)
Aug. 1 The Big Takeover (Roots Reggae)
Aug. 8 Rose & the Bros (Zydeco/Cajun) w/ Janet Batch (Swanky Alt-Country)
Aug. 15 Maddy Walsh & the Blind Spots (Moxy Rock)
Aug. 22 Gunpoets (Hip-Hop/Rock)
Aug. 29 HeeSun Lee (Hip-Hop) w/ Honey Cave (Enchanting Magic & Spirit)
Sept. 5 Fall Creek Brass Band (Brass Funk)
Sept. 12 The Comb Down (Funk)
*Denotes non-Thursday shows. El Rumbon is performing on a Wednesday evening.


ABOUT THE CFCU SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: The CFCU Summer Concert Series, organized by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, is celebrating its 20th year of free live music programming. The Downtown Ithaca Summer Concert Series is a series of outdoor concerts held over 12 weeks in the summer, June 20 through September 12, 2019.   All concerts are free to attend and open to the public and will take place at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on The Ithaca Commons starting at 6 pm, weather permitting. Concerts will happen on Thursdays with the exception of a one-week hiatus for the 4th of July, and a Wednesday evening show on the July 17 show happening on a Wednesday evening.   

The series is a popular weekly destination, drawing audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The concerts feature a variety of musical styles, with local, regional, national and international performing artists. The Summer Concert Series draws roughly 20,000 people to downtown throughout the season.

ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE: The Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District (IDBID), is a State of New York chartered 501c3 not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of downtown Ithaca. The IDBID operates as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA).

Downtown Ithaca is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Tompkins County. The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District strives to preserve and develop the central downtown core as the region’s center for banking and finance, business and professional offices, government and community services, downtown residences, and as a retail destination highlighted by specialty shops, restaurants, arts, and entertainment. Downtown serves people who live and work downtown, city and county residents, college communities, area visitors, and tourists.

ABOUT CFCU COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION: CFCU Community Credit Union was chartered in 1953 and currently has approximately 190 employees, over $1 billion in assets, more than 69,000 members. CFCU serves members who live, work, worship or attend school in Tompkins, Cortland, Cayuga, Ontario, and Seneca Counties and their family members, as well as any business or organization located in these counties. CFCU’s mission is to provide the highest level of personal financial services in a friendly, professional manner. One of CFCU’s most important guiding principles continues to be the belief that giving back by volunteering time, energy, financial support, and expertise will make the communities it serves better places to live and work. Transforming generations and communities. Simply. Personally. For more information, visit CFCU is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.