Greenpoint Gazette

Northside Festival Takes Over Williamsburg!

BY Juliet Linderman

If hippies and camping aren’t exactly your thing, or you didn’t manage to scrape together enough cash for a flight or a road trip down to Tenessee for the weekend, chances are you missed Bonaroo this year. But, lucky for North Brooklyn—and thanks to the L magazine—from Thursday through Sunday Williamsburg hosted its very first weekend-long independent music extravaganza: The Northside Festival.
The Northside Festival, hosted by the L Magazine, featured 200 bands—nearly half of which hail from New York—performing in more than 50 spaces stretching across two North Brooklyn neighborhoods, ranging from tiny galleries in South Williamsburg to hip clubs on the Bedford Avenue main drag to major music venues in Greenpoint. While the L Magazine is no stranger to programming—after all, they were responsible for film screenings in McCarren Pool, and put together a music showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg last year—this was by far their most ambitious endeavor to date. And with so many hot new bands coming out of the neighborhood, the folks at the L decided the time had come for Williamsburg to have its own festival.
“Though our offices are in Dumbo, many of us live in Williamsburg, or at least spend a lot of time in the area,” said Andrea Rosen, the digital marketing director for the L Magazine, and one of the festival’s central organizers. “Local businesses are big supporters of our events and Williamsburg residents can always be counted on for their enthusiastic support of local art and commerce.”
Though the L was primarily responsible for organizing the event, Northside Festival was truly collaborative, culling musicians, sponsors, volunteers and participants from all over the neighborhood: truly a testament to the community-based character of North Brooklyn.
“Northside was primarily a collaborative event,” Rosen explained. “We reached out to blogs, record labels, radio stations and promoters to curate their own showcases featuring the bands they thought deserved more exposure. We also partnered with the Willamsburg Gallery Association to highlight art exhibitions and programming at area galleries and with NAG for Saturday’s Williamsburg Walks. Everyone was thrilled to be involved and put in countless hours of work planning and promoting their events. It really felt like the whole neighborhood was involved in one way or another, even local restaurants and bars.”
The Festival boasted big-named bands and local newbies alike, giving festival-goers an opportunity to jam out to some of their favorite acts while discovering some of the hottest new neighborhood acts. But, in a city of countless artists and musicians, one might ask, why Williamsburg?
“The venues can’t be beat!” Rosen said. “What other neighborhood has a nightclub, a music hall, a bowling alley (soon to be two), a dozen small stages, and countless bars, all within a 20-minute walk from one another?”

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