City of Night Set to Light Up the Old First Ward

Art, Culture & Arts, Dance, Live Music, Nightlife, Theater, Things to Do


Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on July 14, 2015

City of Night, Step Out Buffalo, Silo City

Among the most cosmopolitan cities in the United States at one point, Buffalo’s deep relationship with the arts goes back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It seems only appropriate then that the Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo (ELAB) continues to celebrate local artists with its City of Night Series along the Buffalo River, a waterway that courses though some of Buffalo’s most historic neighborhoods.

City of Night 2014, Step Out Buffalo, Silo City

City of Night 2014 @ Silo City / Photo by Lauren Spoth

Part festival, part art gallery, part performance recital and part rave – City of Night is unlike any other event in Buffalo. It’s family-friendly and it’s also step into the surreal. City of Night is what the Allentown Art Festival should be – instead of a bunch of craft hucksters and fried dough stands.

The event has grown exponentially across each of its three previous years and now draws thousands of people from across Western New York. Without any national or international headlining acts, the throngs of people streaming into the event each year have been a testament to the support we give to our local artists.

This year, the ELAB organizers have moved the proceedings across the river from Silo City to the Old First Ward, based primarily along Republic Street. The three-year move will allow artists to set up both temporary installations and leave behind permanent works for the storied neighborhood.

City of Night 2014, Step Out Buffalo, Silo City

City of Night 2014 @ Silo City / Photo by Lauren Spoth

Literally, the biggest new feature this year is the Art Train, which is comprised of five 40-foot shipping containers. Set up along the Republic Street railroad tracks, each container will have an installation and be designed with a railroad theme. The train will include artwork from Joseph Franjoine, Jaime Schmidt, Alex Grisanti, Jess Widmer, Lynne Koscielniak,  Michael Degnan, and Sara Dinatale.

“The train embodies our theme of metamorphosis in its connection to the new site, its embodiment of migration and progress, and the artists’ work,” event organizer Tara Sasiadek said over email. “Their installations will fill the Train with themes of transformation, struggle, and adaptation.”

In another feature new to 2015, the event will hold two light parades that attendees can participate in: One at dusk and one near the end of the night. The parade route will follow Republic Street and culminate at the Light Garden and DJ stage. At the Light Garden, visitors can see acrobatics from Buffalo Aerial Dance or join one of two Old First Ward ghost tours. At the DJ stage, audience members can see some of Buffalo’s most talented electronic music artists, as well as aerialists and other performers.

As in the past, City of Night will also feature roving performances from parkour artists, musicians, fire dancers and poets. Those looking to kick back and enjoy performance in a more traditional space can also head over to amphitheater for comedy, dance or musical performances.

The entire event is free and open to the public. However, for those who want a more exclusive experience – ELAB is offering two different VIP packages: one for Friday and Saturday ($75) and one for Saturday only ($50).

City of Night 2014, Step Out Buffalo, Silo City

City of Night 2014 @ Silo City / Photo by Lauren Spoth

The Friday VIP night will be largely confined to the Barrel Factory at 65 Vandalia Street and will have feature music, art installations, a lounge area with free drinks, food provided by Lloyd Taco Trucks and a chance to socialize with the artists. The Saturday VIP night includes the same access to food and drink at the Barrel Factory.

While City of Night is geographically based in Buffalo’s history, event organizers emphasize the event is about looking forward and realizing Buffalo’s potential future – a future that so obviously includes a talented and vibrant arts community.

Fore more info on City of Night, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


City of Night

Friday July 17 (VIP only) and Saturday July 18, 2015

The Old First Ward (mostly along Republic Street)

Free (General Admission), $50/75 (VIP)

Performance Schedule / Map / Website


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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.


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