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So last night was the beginning of L Magazine‘s ambitious little festival that could, Northside Festival, and it is, by all appearances, cozier and far more endearingly starry-eyed than our old embattled, but lovable glue-bound horse CMJ, whose badges cost eight-quadrillion dollars and hydra-headed geography makes it impossible to navigate more than a few venues in a day. Northside is also unlike last weekend’s Hillstock, because it takes place entirely in Williamsburg and your homie’s landlord won’t call up angrily to shut the thing down. So even though there’s been the usual comment-section vile about this ambitious little hood-centric festival (“It’s like any other night in Williamsburg” is something I’ve heard more than once–not true, I would never step foot in Spike Hill on any other night except to use the toilet), we’re rooting for Northside’s success, and not just because one-third of SOTC lives on the Southside.
That said, there’s already been a bit of controversy with Northside–and it has nothing to do with Jon Norris. Last night, anyone who arrived at the East Williamsburg live-recording studio/show space Shea Stadium for the Magik Markers, Marnie Stern, and The Fly Girlz/Nine II Thesaurus, and Dynasty Handbag–a show listed on both the Northside official schedule and handbook–was given a flyer disavowing the show’s affiliation with the Northside and told that badge or not, the show cost $10. Oh yeah–and Marnie Stern had cancelled. The leaflet, scanned by photog Rebecca Smeyne:
Strength in Numbers, as it turns out, is a Brooklyn-based woman-strong organization who curated this show, and apparently they were not happy with Northside’s logistical requirements. Or Kangaroo sneakers. At least Magik Markers were awesome–see?
Update: The L Magazine responds:
It’s come to our attention that at last night’s Strength in Numbers showcase at Shea Stadium, the show’s organizers refused to let in badge-holders. First and foremost, we sincerely apologize to anyone who was turned away-you spent good money on a badge that we said would grant you admission to this show, and we feel terrible about it.
That said, we would also like to point out that if we’re guilty of anything here, it was deciding to partner with an organization that would go back on its word in order to carry out what seems to be little more than a publicity stunt. For every copy of this flyer they distributed last night, we have an email from them stating in no uncertain terms, and with lots of exclamation points even, how thrilled they were to be a part of the Northside Festival.
We have a lot of work to do and a lot of music to see, so we don’t want to dwell on this for too long. It’s worth noting, though, that in orchestrating this stunt, which was meant to call attention to what they perceive as injustice, Strength in Numbers failed to realize that the only impact it would have was essentially to take money out of the pockets of people who support the work they do and the artists they love.
We apologize again, and hope that you enjoy the rest of the festival.
The L Magazine & The Northside Festval.