Yes, Northside Festival ended over a week ago, but we still have more photos proving it happened at all! Along with our own Northside show, our hearts went out to Freewilliamsburg’s prequel at the same venue, and also to the organizers of the festival after the little Strength in Numbers protest flyer made its publicity rounds on the New York blogs, so we asked the L Magazine’s Mike Conklin what his conscience was whispering to him at the tail end of his Heineken-fueled festival nights.
For the most part, we stuck to the same model followed by larger festivals like CMJ and South By Southwest. Money from badge sales helped us cover festival expenses–insurance, rental of our headquarters, promotion, printing costs, and yes, paying the bigger bands that help draw attention to the festival as a whole. Money from individual ticket sales at the smaller shows went toward venue staff and paying the bands. So yeah, if a venue set aside 20% of its capacity for badge-holders, it essentially means that each band on the bill stood to make 20% less than they would have on a normal night. The argument in favor of a band still taking that show is that it’s worth it because of the added promotion they receive from being part of a larger festival.
Do the people at Strength in Numbers have a point that maybe there could be a more equitable way of running a big festival? Sure, that would make for an interesting dialogue. It probably would have been more productive, though, had they tried to start that dialogue before printing up flyers telling everyone how evil we are. For now, we did the best we could and tried to be as fair as possible to everyone involved, from the bands and venues to the badge-holders themselves. All things considered, I think we did a pretty good job: every day of the festival, bands and showcase presenters were stopping me on the street to say thank you and talk about how great things had been going. Plus, we kept the cost of a badge to $50, and hopefully got a lot of people very drunk on free beer. We’re going to take it as a positive that this flyer was the biggest disaster of the entire festival.
So is throwing a festival in a place like Brooklyn arbitrarily demarcating boundaries around a group of venues and shows that would be throwing the exact same events regardless of any free booze or extensive ad campaign? Does the effort of throwing together something officious and nominally unified erect some sort of aura that wouldn’t be there otherwise? What do you hide in the secret zipper pocket of your free ‘Roo shoes? Those are some of the many questions. Here are the photos:
These Are Powers, at the Freewilliamsburg show. (1-5 JP, 6-17 SA)
Real Estate. (1-2 JP, 3-5 SA)
Air Waves. (JP)
Javelin. (JP 1, 2-8 SA)
Dance party at Studio B with Lusine and Michna. (JP)