Who’s Ready for North by Northeast?
North by Northeast is a week-long celebration of music and the arts that takes place in Toronto, and it is one of North America’s premier music festivals. NXNE was started in 1995, and it has occurred every June since then; this year it will be taking place from June 10 to 16. It follows the template of South by Southwest, featuring 7+ days of music, film, comedy, art, and interactive exhibitions. This year’s festival will feature 950 bands.
NXNE is gradually releasing names of performers, and while only 14 groups have been named, it’s already shaping up to be another great year. One of the bigger names to have been released in this first wave is Brooklyn’s The National. The group is comprised of brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and Matt Berninger, and they expertly mesh to create a unique, dreamy rock sound. The National was formed in 1999 in Cincinnati, but relocated to the hipper Brooklyn, and the group has put out five albums that have garnered tons of critical acclaim. Here’s a video of “Conversation 16,” from their 2010 album High Violet:
FLAG is another really exciting name added to the ticket. FLAG consists of Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, three former members of the incredibly influential hardcore punk band Black Flag, and Stephen Egerton of the Descendents. Black Flag formed in Hermosa Beach, California in 1976, and their intense sound and heavy lyrics helped them earn international renown. Morris is the original front man of the group, and with FLAG performing Black Flag songs, this will be a treat.
The other bands that have been announced are Millencolin, Calexico, Joey Bada$$, Merchandise, Iceage, Mikal Cronin, Milk Music, Buke & Gase, Mickey Avalon, Supersuckers, Imperial State Electric, and Genetic Control, making a well-rounded base for this incredible festival.
These groups are in good company too, as NXNE hosts a bunch of incredible talent every year. A few notable acts who have taken the stage in Toronto in years past include The Flaming Lips, Broken Social Scene, Iggy and The Stooges, DEVO, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Fucked Up, De La Soul, Feist, Best Coast, Japandroids, Deerhoof, Surfer Blood, Sufjan Stevens, Dum Dum Girls, and The Soft Pack. With a pedigree like this, one can only assume the rest of this year’s lineup will be awesome. Here’s a video of The Flaming Lips killing it in downtown Toronto’s Dundas Square at last year’s NXNE:
The film festival aspect of NXNE was added in 2001, and the majority of the movies shown are music-related documentaries, features, and shorts. Every year the film festival screens World, North American, or Canadian premieres, so audience members get to be among the first people to see some really cool stuff. A few notable films that have been shown over the last decade include Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Better Than Something: Jay Reatard, Stones in Exile, Color Me Obsessed, This Movie is Broken, The Last Pogo, Nick Drake: A Skin Too Few, Son of Satan, The Rocker, Mutual Appreciation, and Everyone Stares and Blank Generation. The 30 films for this year have not yet been named, but here’s the trailer from the 2012 festival so you can get an idea of how diverse a collection NXNE puts together:
This is the first year that comedy is officially added as its own stream of NXNE, but comedy acts have been a big part of the festival for the last few years. In 2012, performers included Debra Digiovanni, Mark DeBonis, The Boom, Garrett Jamieson, Tim Nasiopoulos, K Trevor Wilson, Monty Scott, Keith Pedro, Rick and Chuck, Ryan Belleville, Aaron Berg, Magnus Betner, The Dick Mime, Steph Tolev, Jon Steinberg, and Bryan Hatt. This year’s festival will include over 75 acts! So far only a handful have been announced, including Trixx, Dave Merheje, Nick Reynoldson, and Donnell Rawlings of Chappelle’s Show fame. While we wait for the other 70 performers to be announced, here’s a bit from Rawlings to get you going:
This year also marks the creation of NXNE Art, which means this is the first time art is its own stream. The festival will help “connect visual artists with an expanded, engaged audience,” and considering NXNE 2012 had 330,000 attendees, this will certainly be an incredible stepping stone in the careers of many aspiring artists. NXNE President and Managing Director Michael Hollett says North by Northeast “will be taking some of the elements of leading visual arts festivals like Nuit Blanche and Art Basel, especially the Miami edition, and give them our own, edgy NXNE spin.” NXNE Art is bound to be incredible and a great way to discover emerging artists. The art festival is currently accepting submissions, so if you or someone you know has talent and wants to get an enormous audience, give it a shot and send a proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org!
NXNEi is going into its fourth year, and it includes “smart solo talks, vibrant panels, and valuable networking.” It serves as an “intersection of media, technology, and culture with the world’s best business visionaries, innovative artists, bright minds & creative leaders,” so if you’re looking to attain specific knowledge, or just want to be mentally stimulated, this is the place to do it. Topics for this year’s NXNEi include Responsive Design, Starting a Start-up, Crowdsourcing, Collaboration, Grant Writing, Pitching, Licensing, Self Publishing & Distribution, Online Tools, Entrepreneurship, Social Media, Marketing, Community Building, Interactive Storytelling, Influencers, Branding, Immersive Design, Future of Advertising, YouTube, Design Metrics, and Innovation. You can see a list of speakers here, and check out a video from NXNE Interactive 2011 below. Sure to be fascinating, this shows that North by Northeast truly has something for everyone.
So there you have it, North by Northeast is big, diverse, and really, really cool. We’re still waiting on a lot of information, so keep following SR, as we’ll be sure to share any and all new NXNE developments with you!