WAVVES AT THE KNITTING FACTORY FOR NORTHSIDE; PHOTO BY MICHAEL SETO
Despite 90-degree weather and gasp-inducing humidity, art, film, and music enthusiasts flocked to over twenty (often un-air-conditioned) venues last weekend for The L Magazine's second annual Northside Festival. A celebration of the startling volume of art and music coming out of Brooklyn's Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighborhoods, Northside included a visual art festival, a newly-added film festival, and a music festival featuring over 250 soon-to-be-huge bands.
Northside's unique format–allowing assorted New York-based tastemakers to curate their own showcases–made for an eclectic aesthetic limited to a very specific geography. Blogs like Brooklyn Vegan and Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, along with record labels and promoters brought their favorite new music to almost every venue in North Brooklyn. The wealth of borough's creative production was on display in all its weird and thrilling glory, as bands big and small, well-established and just starting out filled the area's every nook and cranny, from the Music Hall of Williamsburg, to Newtown Barge Park, to tiny bars and D-I-Y spaces.
"I think there's sort of a spirit that moves and it's right now sitting in Brooklyn," said Scott Stedman, publisher and founder of The L and the mastermind behind Northside. "Everyone in the community is creating, and the public space itself is transformed by that. It has an affect on people invariably." This spirit took to the streets, as Bedford Avenue was blocked off for blocks for two days, and cars were replaced with artists, music, and a giant picnic in collaboration with Williamsburg Walks.
While it can often feel as if everyone in Williamsburg is a self-proclaimed artist, or in an indie band on the edge of its big break, Northside aims to applaud all of Brooklyn's creative energy, for better or for worse. "We love Brooklyn and we're really unapologetically enthusiastic about what Brooklyn is creating," Stedman explained. "Trying hard can lead to really good fashion and really bad fashion, and I think both are important. We're big fans of trying hard."