Under-the-radar NYC music fests thrive in local focus

IMG_2197
Frontman of The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser, performing at Northside’s free outdoor stage in Brooklyn on June 15.

In a city where live music is at a surplus on any day of the week, its not surprising that traditional summer music festivals often fall by the wayside in New York. A number of festivals in the greater NYC area have grown and died in recent years: Catalpa, ATP New York, Music to Know and Escape to NY, to name a few. Even Governor’s Ball, which featured Kanye West and Kings of Leon, received backlash this year due to flooding and grounds problems.

Two festivals in Brooklyn are on a path to change that by utilizing the local music scene — and crafting a fest within the limitations of city life. Northside Festival, a four-day music discovery festival organized by The L Magazine, and the D.I.Y.-oriented, musician-run three day Hillstock Festival, took place on the past two weekends, respectively, with success.

Both of the festivals are nonintrusive and mostly free or low-cost. While Northside takes place in small rock clubs and spaces in northern Brooklyn, Hillstock takes advantage of backyards and parks in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. And, for the most part, both showcase local music at the forefront.

Northside is Brooklyn’s answer to Manhattan’s CMJ in its emphasis on music discovery. Locally Amped didn’t get to see any acts we hadn’t heard of beforehand, but we did catch promising sets by psych-tinged rising Boston act Krill and local favorite jangle-rockers The Beets over the weekend. The Walkmen and Solange, who both have Brooklyn roots, headlined the free outdoor main stage with enthusiastic early evening sets.

IMG_2532
Brooklyn’s Pow Wow! play a midday set on a blocked-off street during do-it-yourself oriented Hillstock Festival in Brooklyn on June 22.

Hillstock prides itself on being nonprofit, grassroots and truly do-it-yourself. It began in 2009, the same year as Northside, and the bill reads as a who’s who in the local music scene. On Saturday, a stage in the middle of the street in addition to two backyard stages showcased 16 bands. Alt-country act GunFight! stood out among the locals, while the highly recommended Providence, RI-based brass collective What Cheer? Brigade finished off the night with a raucous, high energy set.

All of the acts that played these festivals (as well as headlining acts at the major festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, for that matter) do play gigs in New York regularly. What makes Northside and Hillstock valuable as music festivals in New York is to celebrating the local music community, in the same way that a major music festival celebrates a national music community.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox beat White Sox…

Red Sox walk 15 times in extra innings win

NBA

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics:…

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics: 'I hope to be back'

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.