This past week from June 16 to June 19 the Northside Festival took place in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I had the pleasure of attending this festival and its events this past Saturday, June 18. The Northside Festival is different from most festivals because, well, it’s in Brooklyn, for one, and it celebrates music, film, art, and ideas from the Northside. The objective of the Northside Festival is to shine a light on a borough that is often overshadowed by Manhattan, yet it seems clear that lately Brooklyn marks the spot for all that is new and hip.
The festival had various events that fell under the four aforementioned categories. My interest was specifically geared toward the music to be showcased in McCarren Park: a local park in Williamsburg known for its grand scale, Saturday farmer’s markets, and the many events held there. On Friday, June 17 Beirut headlined and the show was opened by singer Sharon Van Etten and the band Yellow Ostrich. I personally witnessed the amazing performance given by veteran cool kids and band Guided By Voices on Saturday, June 18. Three contemporary bands supported them: The Babies, Surfer Blood, and Wavves. Both shows were held outdoors on a stage sponsored by Steve Madden and for the Guided By Voices show a large crowd gathered of loyal GBV fans, but also a young assemblage of new ones. The four day festival had a lineup of both the well known and the complete unknowns that played shows at the many music venues and bars in the area. You can check out the lineup here.
But music wasn’t the only part of the festival I enjoyed! From the beginning of McCarren Park until about North 5th Street and Bedford Avenue the streets were closed off and local businesses handed out giveaways and discounts. My sisters and I took free photo booth pictures sponsored by the Brooklyn Winery, which was an indirect score for my mother because she got a discount offer. Also if you’re 21+ and happen to be in Kips Bay I highly suggest checking out Reserve Thai-Inspired Wine Bar. Many businesses previewed their products outside, like Brooklyn Charm that gave out free charm bracelets and necklaces. They allowed passersby to choose their own charm and then it was made right before their eyes. There was also an entire block that catered strictly to children showcasing kid friendly businesses. There were free percussion and guitar lessons, bike riding sessions, and even free gymnastics for toddlers. So the Northside Festival was pretty much for everyone: families, single adults, and teenagers hanging with friends.
Film was also celebrated at the festival with films being presented by L Magazine, Rooftop Films, Sundance Selects, and many more. One film in particular, Nothing Yet, was directed and made by two under 21 college students. In the realm of art, many local art studios opened their doors to the public or showcased their work in the streets, like UGLY ART room. For the past three years, the Northside Festival has effectively celebrated the north side of Brooklyn, and will continue to do so. It is guaranteed fun that also helps out and promotes the creative community of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. So make sure to attend 2012’s Northside Festival or you’ll surely be missing out!
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Photo Credit: Anjelica LaFurno
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