Northside Festival 2015 Preview

Founded by sibling duo Scott and Danny Stedman, the Northside Festival started under rather humble beginnings as an offshoot of The L Magazine from their one-bedroom apartment. But over the last few years, the festival has become North Brooklyn’s version of SXSW as film and tech/innovation components have been added over the last couple of years – and it’s all done in a rather fan-friendly, blogger friendly fashion with badges being pretty affordable.

The film section of the festival officially started last night (it goes from the yesterday to the 10th) and it features a wild variety of films, documentaries, shorts, music videos and web series at four theaters across Williamsburg, along with an industry happy hour, director’s Q&A sessions and the like. But here’s the kicker, Northside’s DIY Competition, which features a number of film industry experts and stalwarts will pick the films and directors, who they think will be film’s up-and-coming directors, screenwriters, etc.

The innovation section of the festival takes place June 11-12 and brings together media moguls, tech enthusiasts (these days, who isn’t a tech enthusiast, right?), venture capitalists, creators and innovators and over 150 speakers covering this year’s three programming tracks: entrepreneurship, content and design. There’s also networking luncheons, happy hours, VIP parties and pitch competitions, as well as an Innovation Expo that features 150 exhibitors hawking new technological products and services at McCarren Park.

Northside Art takes place June 13-14 and it turns Bedford Avenue into a 13 block pedestrian only art fare with installations, food samplings, massage stations, lounges and lawns and a stage with live music. On a late Spring day, it’s actually one of the most enjoyable parts of the festival and if you’re in the neighborhood then, I’d suggest you check it out.

The music section takes place June 11-14 and features 400 bands and artists at over 30 different stages and 100 showcases, and is carefully curated by many of my colleagues, radio stations, record labels and the artists themselves. And this year may be the strongest lineup in the last couple of years as some of the following acts are headliners or are performing at various venues across North Brooklyn, including:

Run the Jewels, the incredible collaborative project featuring Killer Mike and El P. Check out the videos for “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck)” featuring Zach de la Rocha and for “Lie, Cheat, Steal.”

“Close Your Eyes and Count to Fuck”

“Lie, Cheat, Steal”

Neko Case, the former member of The New Pornographers, who is one of the most beguiling singer/songwriters in recent memory. Check out this live footage of Case performing “This Tornado Loves You” off Middle Cyclone at the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival and “I Wish I Was the Moon” off Blacklisted.

“This Tornado Loves You” – Live at Pitchfork Music Festival

“I Wish I Was the Moon”

The long-awaited Luna reunion at McCarren Park. This one is a free RSVP’d show. Check out their gorgeous debut effort Lunapark released back in 1993.

Majical Cloudz: The Montreal-based duo specializes in hauntingly sparse electronic-based pop sound. Check out the videos for “Turns, Turns, Turns,” which captured the attention of the blogosphere when it was originally released back in 2013, and “I Do Sing for You” performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Paris last year.

“Turns Turns Turns”

“I Do Sing for You”

Blonde Redhead: The New York-based band has been around for quite some time; I’ve seen them twice over the years – once opening for Interpol and as a headliner at Terminal 5. Check out the videos for “23” and “The One I Love”


“The One I Love”

Long-time indie rock stalwarts Built to Spill will also be performing. Check out live footage of the band performing “Carry the Zero” and “Goin’ Against Your Mind” in Sydney, Australia.

“Carry the Zero”

“Goin’ Against Your Mind”

Of course what makes a festival of this size so overwhelming and yet so much fun is the fact that serendipitous discovery of something new can happen so easily. Now if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few years, festival coverage shouldn’t be unfamiliar to you – and this year, JOVM is at Northside; however, this year, my dear friend and colleague Natalie Hamingson will also be contributing additional coverage, offering her insights, thoughts and opinions on the events at this year’s Northside.

Also feel free to check out Instagram and Twitter as we’ll be tweeting, taking pictures throughout the entire festival.

Natalie Hamingson on Twitter: @nataliejillh

Natalie Hamingson on Instagram: @nataliejillh

William Ruben Helms on Twitter: @yankee32879

William Ruben Helms on Instagram @william_ruben_helms