Northside in the News
This year, VH1 is teaming up with the Northside Festival, Brooklyn’s very own South by Southwest. Much like it’s Austin counterpart, the up-and-coming festival brings together Film, Innovation and Music conferences for eight days in June. In its sixth year, VH1 will be taking over the famed The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, where bands will perform. Fans will also have a chance to screen VH1 Rock Docs at Nighthawk Theater or participate in a VH1 driven panel.
While music fans often complain of larger festivals losing that special something due to the standard over-saturation of sponsors and/or sloppy curation, the Northside Festival stands as a beacon of hope for up-and-coming and established bands and fans alike who wonder what the early South By days might’ve been like—venue hopping, revelry spilling out onto the streets, an overall sense of community.
After starting from nothing in 2007, the festival now generates nearly half the annual revenue for Northside, the publisher of L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine, founded by brothers Scott and Daniel Stedman.
Brooklyn is a bloggy place, but brothers Daniel and Scott Stedman boast arguably the biggest locally focused footprint of all. They’re the founders of Northside Media, the parent company of L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine, which peddles rough luxe lifestyle journalism for the Wythe Hotel bar set. The duo is also responsible for the Brooklyn staples SummerScreen and the Northside Festival, an evolving music, tech and movie expo that’s rapidly becoming New York’s answer to South by Southwest.
Northside (named for the general swath of Brooklyn in which it takes place) sits precariously between two festival poles – mega-priced behemoth with behemoth bands to match vs. Hunger Games for maybe-up-maybe-coming buzz bands – without ever really being either. Mixed in with Brooklyn festival mainstays like Beirut (who more or less play Northside every year) and Titus Andronicus (from New Jersey, but basically qualifying) are the likes of Syrian artist Omar Souleyman and Canadian composer Mas Ysa. Even better, several shows, including Chvrches on the 15th, are free or all-ages – and the festival’s relatively small size means you still might actually get to see them.
Brooklyn, New York has evolved considerably in recent years and the world is excited. The word "Brooklyn" goes beyond the name that points to a location, and is being used as an adjective. The trend of music, art, fashion, design and culture continues to have an influence, and Daniel and Scott Stedman quickly detected the tremendous power of the Brooklyn brand through Brooklyn Magazine and The L Magazine. "Brooklyn" as information in words, organized neatly in a visual; that's magazine that they deliver to us.
“The Stedmans ...are the only ones to have figured out how to stage a music festival that doesn’t seem in some way to contradict the city... And partially it’s a by-product of the fact that sponsorships in 2013 do not mean just canvas banners or free stickers. Instead, they mean “activations”—industry shorthand for the kind of multidimensional, interactive branding event that should merge seamlessly with the non-branded programming."
- “The Rise of Northside” New York Magazine, Summer Preview, 5/26/13
“Since beginning in 2009 as a gathering of bands allied with the concerns of young bohemian Brooklyn, the Northside Festival has grown from a small indie-music event to a multivalent cultural carnival.”
“The Northside Festival has grown into a compact and intensely Brooklyn counterpoint to South by Southwest. The Stedmans’ event is the only one rooted in Brooklyn’s do-it-yourself ethos."
“Brooklyn’s own SXSW will be swiftly upon us, and with it comes an impressive lineup of speakers for the NExT conference, a tech-focused forum slated to run during the Northside Festival."
“Here at R29, we're always on the hunt for good music. From artists we've never heard of to tracks we somehow managed to miss, our ears (and iPods!) are constantly yearning for new tunes. As soon as one festival ends, we're on to the next. Which is why Northside Festival is permanently marked into our calendars.”
“It's unbelievable that Brooklyn's Northside Festival is just four years old. Since its DIY inception in 2009, the festival now showcases in 50-plus venue spaces for four straight days of interactive events, lectures from digital enterprises, film screenings and music showcases scattered across Brooklyn's finest venues.”
“Northside's third annual [NExT] event is fast becoming the SxSW of the East Coast, bringing together an eclectic and compelling mix of social media industry leaders, startup entrepreneurs and amazing music over its seven day take-over of the trending Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.”