Festivals

Tech and Tunes in the Heart of Williamsburg

WSWD's music editor Meera Dugal shares the can't-miss musical performances and tech talks at the ninth annual Northside Festival.

Photo courtesy of Northside Festival

Brooklyn hipness will spike off the charts this June during the annual Northside Festival, as 100,000-plus artists, innovators, and people with edgy haircuts converge for five days of music and tech talk. Now in its ninth year, Northside has grown to include more than 300 musical acts in 30 venues all over Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. And not just your average bar bands: The nontraditional festival boast a killer lineup of creatives such as “space jazz” artist Kamasi Washington and South American electronic artist Elysia Crampton. The band names—Crazy Pills, Cuddle Magic, Dirty Projectors, and Gold Stars for Everyone are but a few—are almost as fun to read as the music is to hear.

Beyond music, Northside has expanded its role as a convener of thought leaders and innovators in the tech and design worlds. Northside Innovation is the think-tank, TED-esque side to the festival that features talks, workshops, and networking opportunities with founders, CEOs, and chief designers from the likes of Google, Squarespace, and Vice. From discussions on how to get people into VR (virtual reality) and representation of women in the media to tips for turning your startup into an industry leader, the brainpower coming out of BK might shut the city down.

Why You Should Go: If you’re looking for new music, new ideas, new friends, or just a reason to have a scavenger hunt around Brooklyn, this is the time to do it! Here are our picks of what to hear and see during the festivities.

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R&B singer Denitia goes solo / Photo courtesy of Denitia

MEERA’S MUSIC PICKS

FRIDAY, JUNE 9
Move Forward Music x Northside Featuring Denitia
We first came to love Brooklyn-based Denitia through her previous projects, R&B duo Denitia & Sene and the funky IGBO, so now we’re psyched to see she has a solo project, with an album under her own name coming out in July. Denitia’s music is like nighttime underwater, dark and soulful, fluid and mysterious. We can’t wait get a taste of her new stuff at Northside’s Move Forward Music showcase.
The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, 8–10 p.m., $12

FRIDAY, JUNE 9
AdHoc x Northside Festival Featuring tubafresh
I wish I could be two places at one, because this show is another must-see. Tubafresh is the solo project of the one-and-only Chanell Crichlow, who we know from her work as the sousaphone player and rapper for the PitchBlak Brass Band. This new project is smooth, relaxed pop with über cool bass lines and an effortless vibe that is musically complex but comes off as pure silk.
Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway, Williamsburg, 9:15–10 p.m., $14

SATURDAY, JUNE 10
Oshun
Oshun is the dynamic duo of Thandiwe and Niambi Sala working in a genre they have personally dubbed Iya-Soul (“iya” means priestess in Yoruba culture). Their earthy, goddess-invoking hip-hop/soul sound is all about celebrating women and the earth. This will be an aural yoga class—in a completely (we swear) nonpretentious way.
TNT Backstory Studio in Kinfolk 90, 90 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

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tubafresh hits the stage at Northside / Photo courtesy of tubafresh

MEERA’S INNOVATION PICKS

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7
Transforming the Content Supply”
The media and entertainment industries evidently didn’t get the message that feminism is more commonplace than it has ever been. The diverse talents speaking at “Transforming the Content Supply”—Saturday Night Live alum Sasheer Zameta, Broad City writer Grace Edwards, former Miss New York Iman Oubou, filmmaker and co-organizer of this year’s Women’s March on Washington Paola Mendoza, and TNT producer Sarah Aubrey—are here to single-handedly deliver that memo themselves at this roundtable discussion.
TNT Content Stage at the Williamsburg Hotel, 96 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, 11–11:55 a.m., entry included with Innovation Badge ($599)

THURSDAY, JUNE 8
“Innovation Is Out, Invention Is In—A Keynote From David Shing” 
Technology absorbs our everyday lives, from swiping right on strangers to endlessly scrolling on Instagram. So it’s only natural to think it’s going to inevitably increase within the next few years with the introduction of “hearable, feelable, and wearable technology—powered by data, intelligence, sensors, and more.” Self-anointed digital prophet David Shing will be on hand to walk us through his vision of the future.
Fortune Venture Stage at the Wythe Main Room, 80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Noon–12:30 p.m., entry included with Innovation Badge ($599)

THURSDAY, JUNE 8
“The Business and Art of Covering Trump: The Power of Time to Ignite Social and Digital Engagement” 
If you wake up each morning with a sense of unease about what 45 will do in the Oval Office that day (or what he’ll covfefe while you’re sleeping), imagine how the press feels. The award-winning creative director of Time, D.W. Pine, discusses his creative process post-inauguration and how these troubling few months have been surprisingly inspiring for him.
Fortune Venture Stage at the Wythe Main Room, 80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, 10–10:30 a.m., entry included with Innovation Badge ($599)