With the 8th Northside Festival taking over the areas venues with music, innovation, and content, North Brooklyn is absolutely the place to be this week. Described by Festival Director Dana Keith as New York's version of SXSW, it's already kicked off with killer speakers for the content portion.
The festival was originally hosted by The L Magazine, later to become Northside Media Group. "We were writing about arts and culture, a lot about music, and The L Magazine was sort of a discovery platform for emerging artists," Dana said. "Scott [Stedman] and our team were going down to South by Southwest, but we were wondering, so many of these artists are coming from New York, and so many of the attendees are also coming from New York why is nobody in New York doing this?"
Along with the similarities in the crowds and with so many new venues opening, there were definite parallels between downtown Austin and Williamsburg at the time. "SXSW is not just the bands playing, but the transformation of a community and neighborhood ...but we're starting to see that rise of venues opening, at that time there still werent any hotels or movie theaters. We saw that zeitgeist happening here. And so we thought, why don't we create a festival that showcases emerging and burgeoning talent in the backyard that it's happening? It launched 8 years ago, shot in a fever pitch, got the festival off the ground in five months 150 bands, 10 venues, 4 days. Compare that to this year; 27 venues just for the music portion, 400 bands, and over 100,000 attendees expected.
Just a taste of those 400 bands: Wolf Parade will kick off the first of the four McCarren Park concerts for free, and Grandmaster Flash
and Quentin Collins
will follow on Friday. On Saturday, Conor Oberst
and Kacey Musgraves
will be playing, and Sunday, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys
will close things out. As for indoor venues: Steve Gunn
will be playing at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Grouper
at National Sawdust, a newer venue definitely worth checking out.
"The community seems excited about Diarrhea Planet
! There's been a ton of buzz about that, which is so funny. And then Psychic Ills
, too," Dana says. "So those are just some highlights, again, there's a lot more bands playing."
But this weekend, if theres one day to attend, Dana says Thursday or Friday--you get both Innovation and Music. "You could wake up in the morning, come to the Wythe Hotel, Kinfolk, and Brooklyn Brewery...stay for some happy hours on the roof of the McCarren Hotel, and then go downstairs and across the street in McCarren Park and see Wolf Parade or Grandmaster Flash. That's a pretty robust day in the life at the festival.
Northside Innovation, a platform for leaders and creators in tech, entrepreneurship, and design, kicked off Thursday, June 9, and goes through Friday. Be sure not to miss speakers like Lenny Letter and Giant Spoon for The Year of Women Breaking the Internet, Samsung CMO Mark Mathieu for "How Virtual Reality will Affect Storytelling." or "Perspectives on Modern Feminism" with Miki Agrawal, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, and Deanna Zandt of THINX and Mic.
With tons of local artists, leaders in innovation, and legends like Brian Wilson--is there anything happening this weekend that could possibly beat Northside? You can check out their full lineup at their website