Brothers Daniel and Scott Stedman began Northside Festival in 2009. Recently, Elmore picked their brains.
Two brothers putting on a music festival. Doesn’t get much better than that. How did Northside Festival come about?
One day we were like, “Why does everyone in NYC go to Austin to see bands that live in Brooklyn?” So we decided let’s just do it here and see how it plays out.
A lot goes into putting on a music festival. What is one of the biggest challenges in doing so?
Just the scale of having 30 music venues, two public parks, two hotels and 100,000 people all sync up perfectly.
There’s no doubt that Williamsburg is NYC’s music scene for up and coming bands, but Northside isn’t the only event that utilizes this part of Brooklyn. How does it compare/contrast with Brooklyn Bazaar, and CMJ?
There are three real areas of the festival: Music, Film, and Innovation. Each attendee is there to discover something that will change the trajectory of their life. I think at Northside, with a little effort, every attendee can leave the event with a new creative trajectory. This is the only event in this part of the country that offers that.
I previously interviewed the folks who run SXSW and heard of crazy figures of bands submitting to play the festival. Is this the same case with Northside? Or are you pretty much scouting out the talent yourselves?
We definitely get thousands of submissions. That said, most of the talent is produced in coordination with local showcase presenters and our own booking team who curate the talent to make certain it’s an incredible experience for our attendees.
What acts are you most excited to see this year?
Super jazzed on the War on Drugs and Beirut. Thee Oh Sees are my favorite live band. Also dying to see Perfect Pussy and hear what all of the buzz is about.
Where do you see Northside in five years from now?
Northside’s been a really surprising and wonderful adventure so far and the only thing I’m certain of is that we’ll be amazing by however the event grows and the communities it brings together.