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PHOTOS: 100,000 Plus Stream into North Brooklyn for Northside Festival

By Gwynne Hogan | June 13, 2016 4:30pm
 Thousands turned out to see artists from Brian Wilson and Kacey Musgraves to local bands during this years Northside Festival. 
Northside Festival
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WILLIAMSBURG — More than 100,000 people streamed into North Brooklyn over the weekend to check out hundreds of bands playing in the eighth annual Northside Festival.

Nationally established bands like Conor Oberst, formerly of Bright Eyes and ROSTAM (the solo project of Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend) joined feisty youngsters just busting out onto the music scene locally.

Harsh Crowd, a four-piece, all girl rock band were one of the youngest bands at the festival. Though they're currently 14 years old, the quartet met when they were just 12 at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls

"So what? We're 14, but we're gonna play an awesome set and you're gonna forget that," said Dea Milo, the band's guitarist, following a fierce set at Shea Stadium which was part of Tom Tom Magazine's showcase of female drummers.

On the other edge of the age spectrum 73-year-old Brian Wilson, legendary song writer of the Beach Boys, drew thousands of older music fans to watch the festival's closing act Sunday, with dedicated fans chanting out the lyrics of Pet Songs along with him.

The thousands of extra people pulsing through North Brooklyn went off without a hitch, said Commanding Officer Peter Rose of the 94th Precinct. He added that they got reports of one sprained ankle during the four-day event.

Friday night however, police in Bushwick shut down Palisades during that evening's shows, Brooklyn Vegan reported. The venue announced on Twitter that it would remain closed for several days and apologized for being "too lit" on Twitter. The venue couldn't be reached immediately for further comment.

Leading up to the festival, organizers had to scramble to move shows they'd scheduled at Black Bear Bar, following a controversy that critics claimed it hosted a Neo Nazi music festival.

Organizers were also prompted to boot the band, Good English, from the bill following the national outrage over a letter written by its drummer, Leslie Rasmussen, to the judge in the Brock Turner sexual assault case. The letter blamed binge drinking culture for Turner's offenses.

One final controversy bubbled over Sunday as news emerged about the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the largest the U.S. history. 

Country singer Kacey Musgraves, one of Northside's headliners took to Twitter to say she thought the shooting could have been prevented if more people had been armed at Pulse Nightclub.

"Lets go back to saloon days when every mutha***** is carryin a revolver and anyone walkin in to disturb the peace might maybe think twice," she'd written on Twitter, Stereogum reported, though the tweet was later deleted. She later backtracked with further tweets saying that emotions were high and "something isn't working."

Concert goers said they'd had four riveting days, trolling around North Brooklyn dipping into venues to listen to music of all types. 

"I bought the badge this year and really tried to get out as much as I could," said Michael Berger, 31, Brooklyn resident, though the undebatable highlight for him was some vintage hip-hop. 

"Grandmaster Flash was really a pivotal moment for me, he just crushed it. He is just the timeless, ageless Grandmaster Flash."

Another attendee, Andy Clarke said was happy to have seen Yonatan Gat, Psychic Ills and HINDS perform, whom he hadn't heard of before the festival.

The best part is "finding a lot of the new bands you never would have heard of otherwise," he said.