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Strange Fruit 3
Washington Park Bandshell
Milwaukee, WI
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Strange Fruit 3
"This Years Strange Fruit Music Festival Continues to exist in order to foster a greater sense of communication between all communities. The three quintessential objects to physical human existence are good water, food, and shelter; however we can not exist without love, tolerance, and living in the service of our fellow man. In the current day and age, we have become more aware of our standards of living; we bleed for our bread, water, and shelter more than we have awareness of one another. This separation from coexistence has poisoned the well of our culture. The cognitive dissonance of living in this strange time, when the fruit of human ingenuity, art, culture, civilization and compassion takes the form not of sustenance but poison, is the antithesis of harmonious existence. Whether this strange fruit be the separation of mothers and children at imaginary borders, the separation of neighbors from yard to yard, the separation from oneself, or the separation from the realization of cultural decay, we are living the dichotomy of both the poison and the resilience of the human condition. This is a strange and bitter fruit that must seed hope." - James Julius Anderson

For many who attended, the Festival was offered deep insights into how the musical community wanted to trust each other, learn together, and grow together. During one performancel, sirens could be heard nearby. Social media shares in the audience revealed that yet another young Black man had been shot by a police officer, making the necessity for the Festival all the more clear to all involved.

The festival creators have decided to continue Strange Fruit annually simply because progress regarding the racial climate in the Nation in general and Milwaukee, in particular, is progressing at a glacial crawl. For many, it feels like the gains made in equality through the Civil Rights movement over 40 years ago are quickly eroding away.

The festivals name was inspired by a song made famous by Billie Holiday and written by Abel Meeropol after he saw a photograph of a lynching in the South. The photo haunted him for days and he wrote a poem to express his sadness and horror. The lyrics never mention lynching, but the message is clear:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
We have Nazi riots in the middle of the country, we still have people of color being gunned down or subjected to the new Jim Crow laws, and we have a president in office who openly supports and defends these things. In this type of environment, the Strange Fruit Festival will exist as an annual event highlighting the conversation, the emotions, and the progression forward, through music, art, poetry, and conversation, said Anderson, Founder of VoodooHoney Records. Working with an almost completely new roster of musicians this year. We look forward to having others join us in this effort to promote the world our music deserves to live in.

The Strange Fruit Music Festival also echoes the sentiments of Leonard Bernstein in response to the murder of John F. Kennedy: We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow at this murder, and with rage at the senselessness of the crime. But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art. Our music will never again be quite the same. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.

Wednesday, August 29
6:00 PM - 8:45 PM
The Diaspora Arkestra at Washington Park Bandshell
Thursday, August 30
6:00 PM
The Panel On The State of Race at the transfer Pizza Back Room
8:00 PM
The Fern at the cactus Club. Feat. Arséne DeLay
Friday, August 31
9:00 PM
Strange Fruit at Club Timbuktu Feat. Klassik, Kevin Hayden, and surprise guest.
Saturday, September 1
6:00 PM
Strange Fruit at the Marcus Center Peck Pavilion Feat. Nwa Na Agbe
Sunday, September 2
12:00 PM
Brunch at Alice's Garden Featuring a Sermon from Venice Williams
10:00 PM
Strange Fruit at company Brewing Feat. Foreign goods and Sara & Kenny


Washington Park Bandshell (View)
4599 W Lloyd St, Milwaukee, WI 53208
Milwaukee, WI 53208
United States


Music > Festivals

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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