Skeery Jones 2019

Press Play: Z100's Skeery Jones

EXCLUSIVE: Albie Manzo talks to Skeery Jones about the history of Jingle Ball and what makes the holidays special in NYC

So many things come to mind when I think of Christmas in NYC: the tree, ice skating in Central Park, the Rockettes … but one event always stands out above the rest: iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball. Growing up in the NYC area, Z100 has been the defining voice of hit music since before I learned how to turn the radio on. Every year, the anticipation of the lineup alone creates a buzz in this city like no other. That’s why I was so excited to speak with Skeery Jones of Z100’s “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” about all things Jingle Ball and how far the event has come since its launch in the mid ‘90s.

Albie Manzo (AM): Tell us about your role in Jingle Ball.

Skeery Jones (SJ): I’ve been a part of every Jingle Ball since I started working at Z100. I talk about it on air on “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” and we give away tickets to callers – I also do events with the radio station where I go out to certain locations to raffle off free tickets. During the show itself, I interact with the audience and upgrade some seats from the last row and bring them closer to the stage. Sometimes, I’ll help introduce an act with the rest of the Z100 team, and I’ll get involved with our social channels for some backstage coverage.

AM: What year was the first show?

SJ: I remember the first Z100 holiday show was our Acoustic Christmas in 1994, and Green Day performed, I was such a Stan. The first official Z100’s Jingle Ball was the following year. It’s a NYC tradition now, and it’s really one of the most sought-after shows of the entire year.

AM: The reason I’m asking is because my first concert ever was Z100 Jingle Ball in 1997, and I remember bugging out calling Z100 like crazy trying to get tickets. How has the show changed from when it first started to what it is now?

SJ: Well, this was the lineup for the first Jingle Ball in 1995: Alanis Morrisette, Blues Traveler, Bush, Collective Soul, Dave Matthews Band, Gavin Rossdale, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & The Blowfish, Natalie Merchant and Soul Asylum.

AM: I’d go to that now, Skeery.

SJ: I know, right! Jingle Ball 1996 was a legendary year for us too – we did an all-female lineup called Girls Rule The YULE, which was an amazing show.

"Acts you would never typically see on the same night all come together and put on such an amazing show. Just look at the lineup – there’s something for everyone."

- Skeery

AM: The show has always been a hot ticket, but has there been an evolution in how you guys produce the show itself? Has anything about the process or experience changed from the ‘90s to today?

SJ: The wait times in between the acts have decreased dramatically with the use of a rotating stage. While one act is playing, another artist can set up backstage, and then they just rotate the stage 180 degrees and the new act is ready to go. That made a major difference – we used to need full set changes, so we would have to wait 20-30 minutes between each act. Having this one addition really helped allow Jingle Ball to bring in as many acts as it does now. As of a few years ago, the show evolved into a multi-city tour across the U.S. known widely as iHeartRadio Jingle Ball. It is a next level large-scale event and it’s incredible to be a part of it.

AM: Is there an all-time favorite artist or performance that sticks out to you?

SJ: Thinking through the years, in 2008 Lady Gaga came out to perform “Just Dance” before the show even opened. She started the show cold – she was virtually unknown at the time, but you could just tell she was going to be a superstar and it’s so wild looking back at it. We’ve had these blockbuster lineups over the years and it’s a lot of fun to watch where their careers take them after they play the show. For instance, the Jonas Brothers’ first performance was in 2007 and now they’re bigger than ever. A lot of the artists that play Jingle Ball could easily sell out stadiums on their own.

AM: I’ve gone to several shows over the years, and what sticks out to me are the screaming fans. What fan base can you remember was the most crazed, and what artist got the biggest reaction?

SJ: There are really so many – every superstar has played this show. In 2012, for instance, Ed Sheeran came out with just his guitar and everyone was singing along loudly to every word, they were mesmerized. As far as which acts caused the most excitement, wow, it’s tough to count – but Justin Bieber, The Jonas Brothers and One Direction were particularly deafening. The screams for those guys, I have never heard anything like it.

AM: What makes doing the Z100 Jingle Ball in NYC so special?

SJ: Madison Square Garden is the world’s most famous arena, and not only is it New York, it’s the holidays in New York. There’s something about being in town when all of the other NYC traditions are happening, like the Radio City Rockettes and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Maybe I’m biased because I grew up in Brooklyn listening to Z100, but I think it’s super exciting. Plus, the show started in NYC, too – with all those factors combined, there’s just nothing like it.

AM: Who are you most excited to see this year?

SJ: Wow, that’s a tough one, it really is. The lineup is amazing: Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Halsey – I love Halsey, 5SOS, Niall Horan, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, Lewis Capaldi and Fletcher – it’s so hard to choose! But for me, I think it’s a toss up between Halsey and the Jonas Brothers.

AM: Nothing wrong with going with a few Jersey artists! Lastly, what does Jingle Ball represent to you?

SJ: To me, it represents the best of the best in music throughout the year on one stage. Acts you would never typically see on the same night all come together and put on such an amazing show. Just look at the lineup – there’s something for everyone. It’s not something I’ll ever get used to or take for granted. But yet, iHeartRadio manages to outdo itself every year.

While Jingle Ball is currently sold out, you can catch some of the artists performing at their upcoming NYC-area shows:

Niall Horan with Lewis Capaldi and Fletcher
April 29, 2020
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Dan + Shay The (Arena) Tour 
March 12, 2020
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA


Billy Joel Live In Concert

The Best Piano Bars In NYC 2020

Love Billy Joel? You’ll Also Love These NYC Piano Bars!

He’s come a long way from playing for bar regulars on a Saturday night; The piano man himself is returning to Madison Square Garden (where he has had more performances than any other artist at the venue) to add on to his already historic residency at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” While dates may still be available, the tickets to see this legend up close and personal tend to go fast. And since Billy is a man who needs no introduction, it’s rare that anyone opens for him, so we made you a list of some classic New York piano spots to get you warmed up for the show!

Get Tickets To See Billy Joel At Madison Square Garden Here

Sid Gold’s Request Room
165 West 26th Street, New York, NY

This is a modern take on a piano bar that we find really interesting. Don’t expect to hear the same old piano slow jams –- ‘Sid’s’ loves to mix up their genres! Slide right up to the bar or hold down a booth with your friends and you’re in for a great time.

Brandy’s Piano Bar
235 East 84th Street, New York, NY

Brandy’s is small, but mighty. The staff gets in on the singing, and they are all amazingly talented. We can’t help but think they each have an amazing story to tell of their own adventures as they try to make it big in the music or theater world. Get there early if you want a seat, and be ready for a night of high energy and a lot of laughs. Plus, it’s a great place to go with friends!

Don’t Tell Mama
235 343 West 46th Street, New York, NY

Located smack in the middle of restaurant row, Don’t Tell Mama is big on showcasing its entire staff, as they make a point to hire those that have on- and off-Broadway experience. It’s a nonstop sing-along party that’s been a staple in the NYC scene for decades.

Bemelmans Bar
35 E 76th Street, New York, NY

One of our favorite bars in NYC, period. This place makes us feel like we’re living in a real life “Great Gatsby.” Seriously, they should be selling top hats at the door. An absolute throwback to old NYC, the service is great, the drinks are great and especially during the holidays, it has a magical feel that you can only find in New York. It’s a little pricey, but absolutely worth the trip.

Dino & Harry’s
163 14th Street, Hoboken, NJ

Ok, so maybe it’s not in New York – but it’s only 10 minutes from the Garden! ‘Dino’s’, as the residents know it, is a traditional steakhouse in every sense, cozy and warm in nature with someone playing piano nightly. The ambience is something straight out of a Billy Joel song.

featured photo: Debby Wong /


Your NYC Concert Ticket Gift Guide 2019

As Phoebe Buffay stated in season 10 of Friends, “There’s no greater gift than the gift of music.” And who are we to argue with one of the most beloved fictional New Yorkers to ever exist?

This year, ditch the sweaters and candles for a gift your friends and family will actually enjoy and remember for years to come – the gift of live music. There are literally hundreds of shows in the next few months to choose from across the NY metro area, but we pulled a handful to get your gears turning.

For the one who wore cowboy boots to Thanksgiving and is already counting down the days until Stagecoach 2020:

Little Big Town
January 17 & 18
Apollo Theater, New York, NY

Treat the country fan in your life to see this country quartet as they set out to support their latest album, Nightfall. The album happens to come out on the same night as their opening show at the Apollo Theater, so it’s sure to be a special evening for all.

Tickets start at $39.

Get your tickets to see Little Big Town at the Apollo Theater

Lee Brice
February 14
NYCB Theatre, Westbury, NY

With summer anthems like “Parking Lot Party” to tearjerkers like “I Drive Your Truck,” country singer Lee Brice is sure to take his audience on a musical and emotional journey throughout his upcoming tour. And with a catalog full of love songs like “Love Like Crazy” and “I Don’t Dance,” it’s an added bonus that this show happens to fall on Valentine’s Day.

Tickets start at $59.

Get your tickets to see Lee Brice at the NYCB Theatre

For the one who wears vintage band tees, and actually listens to the bands:

January 4
Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

Rock music fans will love playing air guitar solos to the live soundtrack of guitar guru Ron Thal, better known in the music scene as Bumblefoot, a former lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and the current lead singer and guitarist for Asia.

Tickets start at $20.

Get your tickets to see Bumblefoot at Dingbatz

For the one who thrives on finding and supporting the freshest female frontwomen:

Grace Potter
February 1
Beacon Theater, New York, NY

This sultry songstress just released her third album, Daylight, after a four-year hiatus, and it was totally worth the wait. While her voice and songwriting are worth seeing on their own, it’s Grace’s mesmerizing performance skills that will steal the show.

Tickets start at $30.

Get your tickets to see Grace Potter at the Beacon Theater

Dana Fuchs
February 8
Daryl’s House, Pawling, NY

A resident of NYC, this powerhouse singer has made a name for herself across Manhattan, pleasing the ears of music lovers of all genres. From rock to blues to funk to country – she slays it all. She’ll particularly appeal to the ‘60s rock crowd, as she’s known for playing Janis Joplin in the hit musical Love, Janis, as well as Sadie in the Beatles-themed blockbuster, Across the Universe.

Tickets start at $30.

Get your tickets to see Dana Fuchs at Daryl's House

For the one who still jams out to early 2000s mixtapes on their commute:

Citizen Cope
December 26 – The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
December 28 – The Wellmont Theater, Montclair, NJ

When it comes to being a fan of Citizen Cope, similarly to the lyrics of his hit song “Sideways,” – these feelings won’t go away … even after a seven-year hiatus. This eternally cool singer, songwriter and producer is back to promote his recent release Heroin and Helicopters.

Tickets start at $29.

Get your tickets to see Citizen Cope Here

G. Love & Special Sauce
January 23 – Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
January 26 – The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

It’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from G. Love – but that’s about to change. He recently released his first single, “Go Crazy” (ft. Keb’Mo’) off his upcoming release, The Juice. We imagine this show will be a mix of his new tunes and the fun, funky throwbacks that made us fall in love with him back in the beginning of the millennium..

Tickets start at $32.50.

Get your tickets to see G. Love & Special Sauce Here

Didn’t find quite the perfect match? We still have you covered – browse hundreds of additional local shows here.


Time Warner Center Christmas

Holiday Shopping Around NYC 2019

While holiday shopping can feel like a burden during the busiest time of the year, our guide is here to lighten things up with a list of shopping spots that will help you check off everyone on your list. Who knows—you might even find that perfect little something for yourself! Check out our list of the merriest shopping spots in and around New York City.

Holiday Markets

Union Square Holiday Market
Union Square Park, East 14th Street, New York, NY

With the mission of spreading creativity and community in mind, Urbanspace creates city marketplaces where local chefs, entrepreneurs and artisans can join forces to show off their talents … and what better time than the holiday shopping season to do so? This year’s holiday market in Union Square Park has no shortage of one-of-a-kind gifts and offers visitors a perfect day out with food, live music and immersive experiences.

Holiday Handmade Cavalcade
128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY & 75 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY

Like Etsy come to life, hand-crafted gifts are in abundance at the New York Handmade Collective’s annual market. With vendors and artisans on display, visitors can choose from their beautifully crafted wares while learning more about their local businesses. And better yet, the Cavalcade has two locations: the Brooklyn Historical Society from December 7-8, and Chelsea Market from December 9-15.

Renegade Brooklyn
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street, Brooklyn, NY

Last-minute guests coming for your holiday celebration? Luckily, Renegade Brooklyn’s warm and vibey winter marketplace is taking place in the nick of time on December 21-22. The expo consists of fine home goods, clothing, jewelry, art and more from over 230 vendors with the added bonus of holiday DJ sets, cocktails and locally-sourced snacks.

Cultured & Classic

MoMA Design Store
11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY

The newly renovated Museum of Modern Art boasts not only expanded gallery spaces and a sleek redesign—its design store certainly merits a visit, too! The shop holds an ideal array of cool and curated gifts for art-lovers and beyond. From funky prints and colorful homewares, to quirky knickknacks and jewelry, there’s no shortage of original gifts.

Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY

All things cultural converge in Lincoln Center’s various gift shops. From the Met Opera Shop, the Juilliard Bookstore and beyond, the gift hunt for theater-goers, opera fanatics and classical music buffs is a breeze here. And there’s more—The Big Apple Circus is in residency at Lincoln Center now through February. On top of unique gifts galore, consider giving the gift of tickets, or take a holiday shopping break under the big top with Big Apple’s updated take on classic circus whimsy.

Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center
November 28-February 2; Multiple Showtimes


Ampersand Collective
198 Allen Street

Considering that shopping may not be at the top of most men’s lists, the Ampersand Collective pop-up makes it easy to pick something both special and high-quality for any guy in your life. The brand brings together hand-crafted artisan menswear from online-only brands, meaning you can finally snag that pair of leather dress shoes he’s been eyeing online.

Sip. Shop. Eat!
554 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York

Blending online brands big and small, the Sip. Shop. Eat! collective has done all the gifting research for you—all you need to do is show up and get inspired by their impressive layout of mini pop-ups. The event brings together NY-based fashion, design and self-care online retailers all in one place. Plus, there will be craft cocktails and light bites, a celebrity manicurist and tarot card readings while you peruse. Don’t miss out—this pop-up runs only from December 14-15.

Photo: Ravi Sarma


NYC Holiday Date Night Ideas

There’s something about the holidays that makes love seem, well, even more lovely. And in New York City there’s no shortage of spots to bask in that warm holiday glow with your significant other—think themed cocktails lit softly from hundreds of surrounding strung-up lights and plenty of mistletoe. Here’s our roundup of the most merry and bright date nights across the five boroughs.

Hit these cozy NYC hot spots this holiday season:


281 Third Avenue

One word comes to mind when thinking of the holidays at Rolf’s: extravagant. This Gramercy Park German bar is a Christmas institution. Every year it transforms—not a single inch of the space escapes the touch of tinsel, lights, verdant green boughs and thousands of ornaments. While the lines reflect its popularity, it’s well worth the wait to settle down with a stein of beer or a signature cocktail.

Miracle Pop-Up Bar

The Cabinet at 649 East Ninth Street; Mace at 505 East Twelfth Street

The Miracle pop-up bars claim to be reminiscent of “the best office party you’ve ever been to.” Happily devoid of any old coworkers, however, the bars have no shortage of rosy-cheeked Santas and nostalgic décor … but the real draw is the craft cocktail list that adds a holiday twist to classic pours. Stop by Miracle on Ninth Street or Miracle on Twelfth Street until December 31.

Neil Simon Theatre at 250 West 52nd Street

The `magic of the holidays’ takes on new meaning with The Illusionists — back on Broadway for a limited run this season. Featuring the world’s greatest illusionists, including top acts from America’s Got Talent, this non-stop cavalcade of wonder is a crowd pleaser, and sure to leave you and your date wondering, `how did they do that?’ Spark your holiday date-night adventures with The Illusionists on the Great White Way before they disappear.

Get Tickets to see The Illusionists at The Neil Simon Theatre

Ice Skating

Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center and Central Park 

For those who prefer the crisp open air for date night, ice skate dates are a perfect plan. Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park offers a free rink surrounded by holiday pop-up shops and food stalls for a post-skating bite. Another classic choice is The Rink at Rockefeller Center, whose backdrop is none other than New York’s biggest tree. And then of course, there’s Central Park, with its beloved tradition of ice skating under the twinkling lights of the New York City skyline at the famed Wollman Rink, featured in films including Love Story and Serendipity.

Holiday Cookie Class

462 Broadway

Try out the International Culinary Center’s hands-on Christmas cookie class, where you and your date can learn the baking basics of holiday treats like buttery shortbread and traditional gingerbread. While of course you’ll leave with your spoils in hand, you can pick up this Holiday Cookies book to recreate the recipes in your own kitchen.

Dyker Heights Lights

11th Avenue to 13th Avenue & 83rd Street to 86th Street in Brooklyn

Witnessing the extravagant Dyker Heights lights is arguably New York’s perfect after-dark holiday date. Every year after Thanksgiving, the homes in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, deck themselves out in thousands of glittery lights, turning the neighborhood into an imaginative holiday spectacle. Bringing a canteen of hot cocoa and strolling at your leisure is one way to do it, while others opt for guided tours to explore the magic both by bus and on foot.


Three Hot Tickets This Weekend

No weekend plans? Check out our selection of what’s hot this weekend in music, sports and theater in and around New York City.

The 1975

BB&T Pavilion, Camden, NJ
Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:30pm

Touring their 2018 album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships plus other hit singles like “Sex” and “Chocolate,” The 1975 bring crowds to their feet with a mix of vibrant pop sound, ethereal synth, and resounding indie rock sensibility.

Get Your Tickets to See The 1975 Here

The New York Knicks vs. The Charlotte Hornets

Madison Square Garden
Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:30pm

Is this the game that gets the Knicks back on track after weathering disappointing losses compounded by front office turmoil? Find out if they can reclaim solid ground when the Knicks take on the Hornets at home

Get Your Tickets to See The Knicks Here

Kristin Chenoweth: For The Girls

Nederlander Theatre, New York, NY
November 15-17; Multiple Show Times 

Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenowith returns to Broadway for a limited engagement to celebrate her new hit album, For The Girls. The album is Chenowith’s heartfelt tribute to iconic female singers, especially the vocal powerhouses that have influenced her career. Expect songs and stories from the album—and much more as one of Broadway’s most vibrant stars continues to shine with another sensational show.

Tickets to Kristin Chenoweth: For The Girls Here

Top Picks Around NYC: Art Exhibits and Pop-Ups

Central Park is turning amber, red and gold and the temperatures are starting to dip—but there’s still time to take to the city streets and absorb some unmissable NYC culture around town before winter descends.

Outside of the usual museum circuit, pop-ups are becoming a favored model for brands to offer deeply immersive experiences to customers. And because they are on a roving calendar, it means that there’s bound to be a pop-up to suit everyone’s taste—covering everything from iconic TV shows, to food-based immersions, to pop-culture inspired spaces.

While pop-ups serve up a healthy dose of whimsy, the art world offers a more highbrow take on the temporary model with elegantly curated rotating exhibits and modern showcases of some of New York’s most scintillating art. Read on to find out more.

Arcadia Earth
Through January 2019

A tech- and art-driven experience, Arcadia Earth’s augmented reality seeks to expand visitors’ way of thinking. By way of virtual reality, projection mapping and interactive environments, the visually stunning exhibit explores current ecological challenges and the climate crisis, offering guests new perspective on how they can reduce their impact on Mother Earth.

Various Locations
November 6-15

Now in its 10th year, the festival dedicated to all things documentary film showcases over 300 films at various locations throughout the city. If you can’t get enough of this thought-provoking genre, clear your post-work schedules. Whether heartwarming, serious or laugh-out-loud, film buffs and doc novices alike will surely find a tale to enjoy.

David Zwirner Gallery
November 9-December 14

In the contemporary art world, David Zwirner’s galleries, including three locations in New York City, are among the most renowned.  This fall, David Zwirner presents new work by Yayoi Kusama at the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location, portraying everything from polka-dotted sculptural installations, to mind-bending full room presentations that brim with wonder. Guests can experience firsthand Kusama’s delightfully sensory works like the Infinity Mirror Rooms and paintings from the My Eternal Soul collection.

Through November 10

Inspired by gaming, animation and pop culture, Pixinity’s 5,000 square-foot space is a pixelated screen come to life. Visitors get to jump into the future among hundreds of sculptures and light-works within the pop-up’s 10 rooms. Vibrant backdrops are lit perfectly for an Instagrammable moment.

The Seinfeld Experience
Autumn 2019

Thirty years after Seinfeld’s debut, The Seinfeld Experience resurrects the beloved `90s hit TV show in a fresh way—tickets to the experience give guests access to exclusive content, memorabilia, original costumes and props, and even set re-creations. It’s a must-see for all superfans.

She Persists
Gracie Mansion

Within the historic expanse of Gracie Mansion, the exhibit She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York City, 1919-2019 chronicles the works of some of New York City’s most influential women creators, and is the largest of its type to be staged in the public space. Past meets present in this curation, spotlighting 44 classic and contemporary works by women who found immense artistic verve within the city’s limits.


The Museum of Ice Cream: Get the Inside Scoop

Photo: Courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream

Gone are the days when a visit to the museum meant staring at dusty artifacts under dim lighting. Instead, picture bubblegum pink walls surrounding whimsical installations and interactive exhibits. Not to mention ice cream—copious amounts of it.

This is the Museum of Ice Cream, an imaginative mesh of branding meets cultural experience, where guests can play, indulge and explore. Pioneered by Manish Vora and Maryellis Bunn in 2016, the concept started as a pop-up in New York City and enjoyed immediate success. With over 1.5 million visitors to the spread of pop-ups across New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami, MOIC is clearly satisfying the public’s sweet tooth. 

Nowadays, the “experium”—Bunn’s portmanteau of “experience” and “museum”—is set to open its permanent SOHO space in mid-December, with ticket pre-sales already happening online. The new location will feature a veritable feast for the mind and the stomach. The multi-sensory exhibits include a three-story slide, a Pepto-pink MOIC subway ride, a huge “Queen Bee” hive and, of course, the signature sprinkle pool (brimming with 11,000 pounds of fake rainbow sprinkles). 

And the “phones on” policy is in full effect. MOIC’s architects and designers have crafted every inch of the space to be shareably sweet and Instagram-ready. A day at the museum now means the perfect picture whizzing down a three-story slide, topped off by a signature scoop. 

Want to treat yourself to a visit? Learn more about this cool exhibition at


Lollapalooza 2019 Photo Recap

A Lolla to Remember

Sunny skies, non-stop music and the summer’s best Instagrammable moments made Lollapalooza 2019 one to remember. Headliners Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots and The Strokes, along with the hottest names in music lit up Chicago’s Grant Park with four days of unforgettable entertainment. And although flew under the radar this summer to plan our October 31st relaunch, we didn’t miss a beat. We sent our lucky NYC sweepstakes winner to Lolla VIP all the way—and headed to the iconic festival to capture the action. 

Check out our favorite highlights from Lollapalooza 2019


Artwork on Display at North Coast Music Festival

For today’s discerning music festival attendees, art has become just as important as music. Bold installations and innovative designs help make festival experiences unforgettable. Like brilliant flowers blooming in a magical garden, playful sculptures, graffiti art and geodesic domes rise out of Union Park’s vast green space. Even if we can’t get Mother Nature to cooperate this weekend, the ambience created by art is unbeatable. We stopped to talk with some of the artists who have been working around the clock this week to get ready for their festival performance at Summer’s Last Stand.

Dub Hub Collective:  Connecting Culture and Community across Chicago

Meet Bardo, Infinite and Metra. Three Chicagoans from three different neighborhoods that would never have crossed paths. That is, until art connected them. Together they make up the Dub Hub Collective. And this weekend, they’re putting their passion for art on display at North Coast. Hailing from Pilsen, Chicago’s West Side and Humboldt Park respectively, these artists found their way to each other through art, hip-hop and skateboarding.

“We’re all different. We have our own stories. But we’re connected by art,” said Bardo, whose North Coast neon graffiti installation, Stoned Ape, captures Terence McKenna’s theory that as early humans, we ate our way to higher consciousness. Bardo, also a musician, performance artist and avid skateboarder, gets inspired when he rides to explore different parts of the city.

Like Bardo, Infinite dabbles in many art forms. His passion is rap—alongside Daughter of a King, he creates music as Heavy-Phlo—and hopes to return to North Coast on a different stage one day.

Named for surviving what could have been a tragic train accident, Metra credits art for helping him find his best friends. “We get together and make good things happen,” said Metra, who is proud of Dub Hub’s inviting West Town art gallery and performance community. “We’ll rap for hours on end. We’ll invite you in. And we’ll continue to try to make this world a better place by doing what we love.”

SynerGeo Domes:  Raising the Roof on Music Festival Experiences

For today’s hottest music festivals, plain white tents have become a thing of the past. Especially since Chicago-based SynerGeo hit the music festival scene. With their breathtaking geodesic domes and stunning art installations that marry LED lighting with the latest laser technology, SynerGeo has created a totally new way of bringing people together by enlivening their senses.

A featured artist at music festivals around the country, SynerGeo co-founder John Schroeder began collaborating with Chicago artist Afrokilla last summer to come up with an exciting new art installation exclusively for this year’s North Coast Music Festival.

“I wanted to create a geometric canvas for Afrokilla to paint that could take us from day into night with beautiful colors and light,” said Schroeder. The result—SynerGeo’s Teardrop Dodeca Hedron, a magnificent wood structure featuring intricate cutouts that John designed and made himself using his CNC router.

John and the SynerGeo team placed the Teardrop on the North Coast grounds Friday afternoon. Then Afrokilla went to work painting rich hues to bring the structure to life. And after the sun went down, the Teardrop began to glow, creating a totally different look and feel thanks to a network of brilliant LED lights on the inside.

“The Teardrop is the result of a great collaboration between artists, combined with functional design that helps us create something that awakens the senses,” said Schroeder, who paused to talk about what’s on everyone’s minds. “Beyond creating these unique experiences, we’re also practical. We know music festivals have no control over Mother Nature. We definitely treated the Teardrop for the elements, so rain or shine, it will be on display at North Coast for everyone to enjoy.”

By: Cathy DeRonne