saulwilliamsThe Downtown Ithaca Alliance announced Thursday that multi-talented artist Saul Williams will perform in the CFCU Summer Concert Series lineup.

Williams, an American artist known for his blend of poetry and alternative hip hop, is headlining the Thursday, Sept. 8 on the Bernie Milton Pavilion stage.  Big Mean Sound Machine, a popular Ithaca-based funk band, is set as the opening act.  Performances will be held from 6 to 9 p.m.

Williams will be coming to Ithaca fresh off two popular music events - the Central Park Summerstage and Afropunk Festival. He is promoting his latest album Martyr Loser King, a multimedia project that engages the digital dialogue between the First and Third Worlds.

An acclaimed New York-based wordsmith, Williams has been producing ground-breaking music since 2001 when he released his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star, executive produced by Grammy-award winning producer Rick Rubin.

Since gaining global recognition for his writing and music, Williams has performed in more than two dozen countries and read in over 300 universities, with invitations that have spanned from the White House, Lincoln Center, The Louvre, The Getty Center, the Sydney Opera House and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The 44-year-old Newburgh, NY native has collaborated with Nine Inch Nails and Allen Ginsberg, and has appeared in several films and television shows.

"Saul Williams is rightly famous all over the world for his poetry and his music," said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. "Getting him to play a free public show is a huge coup for our downtown and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. And, personally, I am thrilled. Black Stacey, List of Demands, Amethyst Rock and Bloody Sunday are all mainstays on my playlists."

Concertgoers are encouraged to use their reusable concert cups during this big event. Throughout the concert series, attendees are able to buy a reusable cup, of which the proceeds go to the United Way. This purchase enters the buyer into a contest, and any time they refill that cup, they gain more entries. On the night of the John Brown's Body show, Downtown Ithaca will announce the winner of the reusable cup contest. The grand prize includes a private show with the Gunpoets for the winner and 10 friends.

Williams' performance is brought to the area through an additional sponsorship from GreenStar Natural Food Co-op. The natural food store is opening its third Ithaca store on or around Aug. 17 at 307 College Ave. in Collegetown. An official announcement will be listed on Green Star's Facebook page and website. GreenStar will also be sponsoring a music event, giving away prizes and offering free food at its new location on Sept. 9 and 10 as part of its Grand Opening Weekend. Visit for more information about this great "Natural Resource" opening so close to the Cornell University campus.

The award-winning Summer Concert Series is a free outdoor concert series open to the public and held every Thursday from late June to mid-September. Local and national acts perform music in genres including jazz, blues, reggae, folk, hip hop, country, bluegrass and rock. Last year, the series included two national acts, Son Little and Talib Kweli.

This month's remaining shows include Anna Coogan & Willie B on Aug. 11, Richie and Rosie on Aug. 17, and Jimkata performing on Aug. 25.  During Jimkata's performance, Downtown Ithaca will be giving away a pair of tickets to Big Mean Sound Machine's Big Mean BBQ II, set for Saturday, Aug. 27.

September performances include The Gunpoets on Sept. 1, Saul Williams on Sept. 8, and John Brown's Body on Sept. 15.