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

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.