Thursday, June 4, 2009

Festival coming to the Northside

The Hold Steady

By Meredith Deliso

Austin has SXSW. Chicago has Lollapalooza. New York City has CMJ. Now, Brooklyn has the Northside Festival.

From June 11 to 14, Williamsburg and Greenpoint will be flooded even more than it already is with music, arts and film.L Magazine formed the festival to celebrate the thriving independent music and art scene in the city, a festival that, though maybe a long time company, the neighborhoods are just ripe for now.

“The festival just couldn’t have happened before now because Williamsburg and Greenpoint were still developing and growing,” said L Magazine Publisher Scott Stedman. “We’ve reached a point where there are enough great venues and galleries in the neighborhoods to support a festival of this scale. And with so many exciting bands and artists coming out of North Brooklyn, we thought it was a perfect time to bring all the elements together for a weekend, turning the area into one big stage for great music and art.”

With their Director of Programming Chantelle Hylton and music editor Mike Conklin taking the reigns, the magazine has pulled together a diverse program of established acts, like The Hold Steady (Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 11), Sunset Rubdown (Studio B on June 12), Bishop Allen (Studio B on June 13), and The Dodos (Studio B on June 14), as well as local up-and-comers. In particular, some of the eight bands you need to hear now that the magazine compiled in an issue this past April, specifically pow wow!, Savoir Adore, The Beets, The Albertans, Xylos and Anamanaguchi, will also play the festival.

“The opening party with Brightblack Morning Light will be pretty wild as well,” said Stedman of the June 11 event, at Studio B, which also features Mariee Sioux, Zomes, Daniel Higgs, as well as a rooftop BBQ from chef Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance. “There are hundreds of events going on – and more being announced every day, so it’s hard to choose [a favorite].”

In addition to the magazine’s own minds, they also got a little help from some friends in getting acts together for the festival, with dozens of influential NYC-based music businesses, including blogs, record labels and radio stations curating their own showcases. (June 12 at Cameo Gallery), FREEWilliamsburg (June 12 at Death By Audio), IMPOSE Records (June 13 at Death By Audio), Less Artists More Condos (June 13 at The Shank), Brooklyn Based, along with Gothamist (June 13 at Public Assembly), and BrooklynVegan (June 14 at Europa) are just some of the Brooklyn-based businesses that have lent their talents and expertise.

Venues didn’t need any prodding to get on board, with over 50 music venues and galleries throughout the neighborhoods getting involved, including established spots like the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Pete’s Candy Store, Glasslands Gallery and Union Pool, as well as newer ones like Cameo Gallery and Bruar Falls. The festival will also christen Berry Park with a show during a Sound Fix-curated show featuring Death Vessel, BELL, Teengirl Fantasy and Weekends on June 13.

About those galleries – beyond music, artist receptions will occur throughout the neighborhoods, with L Magazine working with the Williamsburg Gallery Association to coordinate with galleries like Art 101, Figureworks and Slate. Fittingly, an event will coincide with the WGA’s 2nd Fridays, with a meet-and-greet with Joe Mangrum at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art on June 12 (you can also watch Mangrum in action the following day at Ch’i as he creates a large sand painting outside the gallery).

With excitement building for the fast few months for the first one, the Northside Festival looks to be take over North Brooklyn each year, as L Magazine will make it an annual event.“Countless members of the independent music community have contacted us about being involved on some level, from curating showcases to throwing parties,” said Stedman of this year’s response. “And we’ve seen a ton of positive feedback from fans: the lineup of artists is generating lots of excitement as is the affordability of festival badges.”

At only $45, the badges definitely are a steal. Buy yours here if you haven't done so already.


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