The Flynn is excited to present a new community project called Playing Fields, a free multimedia event held at local schools. Playing Fields is a "welcome back" party after the summer months that also celebrates schools as community centers. This project brings together music and public theater in an open field to create an exciting, communal atmosphere where students, teachers, staff, administrators, families, friends, neighbors, and anyone else in the community can join in the fun. This inaugural event features live music by the energetic world-music band Red Baraat and a simultaneous performance by the mysterious, luminous Birdmen, a large-scale street theater exhibition from the Dutch company Close-Act.
Red Baraat is a pioneering band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by dhol player Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound, a merging of hard-driving North Indian bhangra with elements of hip-hop, jazz, and raw punk energy. Created with no less a purposeful agenda than manifesting joy and unity in all people, Red Baraat’s spirit is worn brightly on its sweaty and hard-worked sleeve. Reemerging in 2021 with a renewed focus, energy, and sound, Red Baraat headlined the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center with master percussionist Zakir Hussain, performed at the Dubai World Expo, and toured its 10th annual Red Baraat Festival of Colors. The universality of what Red Baraat does is undeniable. Says Jain, “The band . . . our songs . . . are addressing the multiplicity of viewpoints. If we can unite people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to partake in the exuberance of life through the universal language of music, then life is that much sweeter.”
As Red Baraat plays their euphoric music, a flock of giant, mysterious birds wander the playing field. Brought to life by Close Act, a renowned studio and artist collective based in the Netherlands, the Birdmen is one of their most popular and magical creations. This is European street theater transported to Burlington, with larger-than-life, luminous bird puppets exploring the school campuses, gently, playfully interacting with the entranced crowd. Close-Act has toured around the world and performed in cities and festivals to the delight of thousands. The studio is known for creating large-scale spectacles designed to interact with crowds and create a joyful, otherworldly atmosphere in community gathering spaces. With the Birdmen, the artists tell a whimsical, enchanting story without words. The striking visuals invite you to look up, smile, and snap an amazing photograph with these fantastical, friendly creatures.