As the mastermind behind Freak Out, Let’s Dance (FOLD), renowned musician/producer Nile Rodgers is looking to have concert attendees do just what the name of his event says. With this being the third time the festival is being held in the States, the New York City native is looking to capture that same kind of eclectic bill that found him hosting a weekend on the East End of Long Island last year with a lineup that included Chic, Duran Duran, Pharrell Williams, Chaka Khan, Keith Urban and Beck.
After scuttling a similar three-day show that was supposed to be held in the same venue, Rodgers regrouped and is hosting one night in Forest Hills Tennis Stadium with the idea of concertgoer convenience being the motivating factor given the venue’s mass transportation options.
“With FOLD, what I do is that I say to people that I know that they’re going to love this. And that when they come to Freak Out, Let’s Dance, if you’re not freaking out and dancing, I haven’t done my job,” Rodgers explained. “When you come here, you’re going to see disparate acts that seemingly don’t go together and you’re going to see them having the time of their lives. And you’re going to be like, ‘Hell, I love that song. I didn’t know that he or she did that song.’”
The following are the artists attendees can expect to be providing the soundtrack to an evening’s worth of dance music.
DJ Cassidy, Alex Newell and DJ Nicky Siano of Studio 54
Hardcore dance music fans will know DJ Cassidy and Alex Newell (of Glee) as the duo that Rodgers worked with on “Kill the Lights,” which topped the Billboard US Dance Club Songs charts and was the disco song featured on an episode of the now-canceled HBO series Vinyl. Siano also has a storied background as a legendary Manhattan club DJ, eventually becoming Studio 54’s resident record spinner.
The Village People
Known for their on-stage costumes (construction worker, biker, cop, GI, cowboy, Indian), the Village People were one of disco’s hugest acts along with the Bee Gees, Chic, Donna Summer and KC & The Sunshine Band. Alongside hits like “Macho Man,” “Go West” and “In the Navy,” one of the Village People’s biggest songs, “Y.M.C.A.,” has been regularly played during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.
Earth, Wind & Fire
Founding member Maurice White may have passed away earlier this year on Feb. 3, but this Chicago pop-funk outfit has soldiered on. Brother Verdine continues to play bass for Earth, Wind & Fire, a group Miles Davis once called his all-time favorite band. Concert attendees can expect the multi-million-selling Rock & Roll Hall of Famers to play a slew of hits including “Shining Star,” “Sing a Song,” “September” and “Let’s Groove.”
Nile Rodgers and CHIC
Rodgers has been a producer/collaborator for numerous multi-platinum projects by huge names in the pop landscape—Madonna, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Steve Winwood, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Pitbull. And that doesn’t include his work in the highly influential rock/disco band Chic, that yielded classics like “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “Le Freak,” “Good Times” and “I Want Your Love.”
All set to star as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Broadway revival of Hello Dolly! in spring 2017, the Divine Miss M will be performing with Rodgers for the first time after being personally asked to play on this bill by her old friend. The guitarist and Chic will serve as her backing band to close out the night’s festivities.
Freak Out, Let’s Dance (FOLD) will be held on Oct. 8 at Forest Hills, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills. For more information, visit www.foresthillsstadium.com.