My Experience at NORTHSIDE Festival in Brooklyn! Tech Tech more Tech and Indie Music
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My Experience at NORTHSIDE Festival in Brooklyn! Tech Tech more Tech and Indie Music

So I accidentally found Northside Festival since I was already visiting New York City with a friend during that time. I was looking for tech events or cowork spots – and alas! I accidentally found what seems to be one of the coolest tech (although technically “hybrid”) events I’ve been to.

The “Innovate” part was tech – it was 2 days out of 6-7 days of the entire Northside Festival.  About 2 days were for film, which happened earlier that week and I missed it.  Music was around 4 days of the whole festival, and about 400 bands to see!

In fact, the indie bands were so good and plentiful that it attracted the likes of people like a recruiter for Cirque Du Soleil! He was there scouting those 400 bands, and had found 1 of interest. It was so much fun talking to him! Cirque Du Soleil shows have live music too, so he searches for the perfect match for music acts. PS – they do get thousands of applications, but he said often times the best talent isn’t always applying, and can be found in the corners and on the streets. Or in this case, at Northside Fest in Brooklyn.

Here’s an example of the awesome band experience. This one was Dean and Britta. (unfiltered! obviously)

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And then I found out from the New York Times that they (Dean and Britta) re-united Luna for the first time in 10 years that night! Info on the reuniting of Luna performance from NYT: 

Overall, it was really clear that the music part of Northside was amazing. However, my main interest and passion is not live music, it’s tech, so let’s move onto “Innovate” – the Tech portion of Northside Fest.

First let me say this. At Tech Conference and events, the risk is paying all of this money to go there and stay there and then getting completely lost in the noise. Not here. It was small enough that you can talk to anyone you wanted. And the quality of people was high. There were major investors there and happily talking to people such as NY “Archangel” (name given by Forbes) David Rose.

david s rose, david rose
NY “Archangel” David S. Rose

And even journalists like Jonathan Schieber from TechCrunch was there. Jonathan Schieber I’d spot anywhere. He’s a character! It was hard for me spotting people in the NY Tech Scene. I haven’t even been to New York in 10 years!! But it definitely seemed like every major name in the NY Tech Scene was there. Just look at the Speakers list. And everything was small enough that everyone was accessible and it felt social and cozy. Kind of like how cool events start out before they get too commercial, like Coachella or Southwest where everything is a “thing” and it it feels like more of a corporate battlefield than a backyard gathering.


Just look at the Swag from the basement talks!!! Urban Outfitters MixTape?? How fun! I want to put this right next to my Hipster Holocaust movie VHS (just recently released)

Oh and then I met Lizzy from Bunch Magazine, (who’s based in West Hollywood!) who was speaking. Cultural crossover!

Lizzy from Bunch Magazine
Lizzy from Bunch Magazine

The sponsoring brands here were fun. Let’s start with Mastercard Elevator Pitch – a chance for Startups to not just practice their pitching skills in an Elevator (literally) – but to win $15,000!!

Mastercard Elevator Pitch
Mastercard Elevator Pitch

So I tried so hard to win that I broke out into a full sweat, (jk it was the heat) but alas, the winner was Christine Souffrant, founder of Vendedy – a mobile network connecting travelers to street vendors of the developing world, which was really good and she did deserve it. You can watch her pitch here:

Alas, after knowing I probably wouldn’t win anyway and remembering that I now had a broken laptop to deal with from dropping it that morning, LUCKILY right across the way was FREE THERAPY!!!

Not kidding!


They were giving free trials in person in the “safe bubble”.  I made that up, it just literally was a bubble as you can see, unlike the metaphorical “tech bubble” that exists but is far more hard to actually see let alone sit in.

Anyway, so $25 a week gives you Unlimited Therapy with a counselor!! Are you kidding? Right away in my head flashed all of the Hollywood characters I encounter at events.

Janice Dickinson and Jason Davis – no more excuses! No more Celebrity Rehab for you.. Now you can have a counselor on call at ANY MOMENT. Talk about mobile-local-social at it’s best!  I know it’s called TalkSpace but I’d like to informally name it “No Excuses”. TalkSpace:

Then nearby you could chill at Camp Casper.


Then next to that you could learn about Sling TV. Here’s why Sling TV is important. It’s live TV and is not hardware based. Sling TV is an app that can be watched on any device at any time. It’s not hardware dependent. For $20 a month you can get all sorts of channels including Sports, and you get LIVE recent TV – as in you can watch the latest episodes in real time, not just episodes from last week.


Next, nighttime and the Nordic Pitch-Offs! There was a Hungarian, a Heart of Europe (Belgium/Switzerland/Netherlands), and a Nordic Pitch competition. The reason? For example: In 2014, Nordic companies stood for 25% of Europe’s 20 largest tech exits.




I live streamed a Q&A with Rocki – which wirelessly streams music from your phone to a small lightweight mobile speaker, but the video didn’t save to my phone. But that’s Rocki for you, and We Make VR. Fun stuff. This of course was fun too:


Also somewhat fun, stumbling into the Bean coffee shop, very indie vibe, and randomly seeing James Earl Jones. Brooklyn was pretty cool, and so was the Bean. I don’t blame him for being there.

My only disappointment was the walking factor and unisex bathrooms. It doesn’t make sense, but any girl knows that the girls bathroom is a time to girl talk. But every bathroom seemed to be unisex! So off-putting! And the WALKING factor. Sweat and blisters happen so fast if you’re not prepared. It’s kind of hard to get Ubers to your exact spot apparently because the buildings interfere with your GPS. Cabs seem easier. But for some reason, I hate taking cabs now.. it feels like watching cable and crappy commercials when you know there’s better. I mean, bottom line – the Inane amount of walking required in New York was complete culture shock. So were the unisex bathrooms. But neither of those had anything to do with Northside.

Northside Festival itself felt very authentic, indie, and genuine cool – whether for music (film i’m sure) and/or Definitely Tech. Even from West Coast – it’s definitely worth the trip. Just bring sneakers.


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