You've watched 2011 lineups for Bonnaroo and Coachella hit the blogs already, but what about events a little closer to home?
These handpicked New York City Music Festivals are all worthwhile events that don't require JFK-outbound plane tickets or hefty hotel fees. Start getting the gang together now to hit up these nearby stages for the hugest, loudest music acts of 2011.
Previously an end-of-the-year affair, the Blip Music Festival moves to May this year, to again offer high-energy, low-res performances from more than two dozen of the world's most talented and creative electronic musicians and visualists. The annual event is organized by 8bitpeoples (an artists collective dedicated to exploring the audiovisual style of low-bit video games and home computers), in cooperation with The Tank (a Hells Kitchen-based non-profit who has aimed to bring compelling, offbeat cultural productions to New York City for more than five years). Events are consistently all ages. More details will be announced soon at blipfestival.org.
While full details have not yet been released for Central Park Summer Stage's 2011 schedule, tickets have already sold out for Florence and the Machine, one of their already-announced larger bills. Keep checking their web site for expanded lineup, which organizers promise will include "more emerging talent complemented by performances from established artists and SummerStage alums." Their thoughtful mix of free and ticket shows in varied genres offers something for everyone and kicks off in May.
Williamsburg's grassroots CMJ competitor Northside Festival, organized by Brooklyn's The L Magazine, is set to return from June 16-19 this year. For these four days, neighborhood venues both large and small host a slew of up-and-comers, mostly of the indie rock variety. Badges can be purchased online in advance for priority entry, though non-committal show-goers interested in hitting up only a few events here and there may prefer to purchase individual tickets through the venue for most events.
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Camp Bisco, the three-day music and arts festival founded by The Disco Biscuits, will return to Mariaville, New York this July 7 through 9, 2011. Throughout its ten year history, Camp Bisco has continued to elevate the level of talent, turning it into one of the country's largest and longest running electronic/rock music festivals. Named one of the "Top Ten Summer Music Festivals" by Forbes Traveler, the festival has featured performers such as: The Disco Biscuits; LCD Soundsystem; Nas and Damian Marley; Snoop Dogg; Method Man, Ghostface Killah, & Raekwon ("Wu Massacre"); Ween; Kid Cudi; Thievery Corporation; Girl Talk; DJ Shadow; Bassnectar; MSTRKRFT; The Roots; Pretty Lights; Rusko; Diplo; Major Lazer; Chromeo; Holy F#ck; Caribou; Asher Roth; STS9; and !!!.
Siren Fest is the Village Voice's one-day July music festival, taking place on two stages at historic Coney Island each year. Last year's lineup included many on-the-brink alternative artists such as Matt and Kim, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Surfer Blood, and Harlem, and this year's 11th annual event promises even bigger and better acts -- all beachside under the sun, alongside the newly-renovated amusement park and boardwalk.
Each summer, Brooklyn's Prospect Park bandshell is taken over by Celebrate Brooklyn, which hosts music acts both large and small as well as live soundtracked films, dance performances, and other innovative events. Last year saw big names like Norah Jones, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Rufus Wainwright, Passion Pit, and The National; this year's lineup shouldn't disappoint either. Check Prospect Park's calendar for announcements, which will include a mix of free and ticketed events (though budget-minded Brooklynites may chill on the grass outside the fenced area and still catch the show for free).
Since 2002, the summer-long River to River Festival hosts music and arts showings throughout Downtown Manhattan through a partnership between the Alliance for Downtown NY, World Financial Center, Battery Park City Authority, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Port Authority, and The Seaport. The best of these offerings take place at the South Street Seaport, where most Friday nights, bands play for free along the water's edge. Last year brought emerging music acts like Best Coast, Free Energy, Zola Jesus, The Oh Sees, and more to that space; watch the festival's web site for this year's calendar developments.
2011 brings the third annual Electric Zoo, a New York-based electronic music festival that will again be held over Labor Day weekend (September 2-4) at Randall's Island Park. Last year brought four stages' worth of top international DJs and live acts such as A-Trak, The Chemical Brothers, Diplo, Flying Lotus, Steve Aoki and more, and this year's organizers intend to up the ante even more. The coming lineup has not yet been announced, yet discounted Early Bird tickets sold out despite that over the holidays! Watch the event's web site for news.
From Sept. 30th to Oct. 2nd, the U.S. version of All Tomorrow's Parties is guest-curated this year by none other than 90s trip-hoppers Portishead. 2011 festivities have also relocated to Asbury Park, New Jersey, where the lineup will include Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Ultramagnetic MC's, Mogwai, Shellac, The Horrors, Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra, Chavez, Beak> (a.k.a. half of Portishead), A Hawk and a Hacksaw, The Album Leaf, Cults and more. Three-day passes have already sold out, but one-day passes are still available for purchase online.
The long-running CMJ Music Marathon, hosted each year by the College Music Journal, returns to NYC on Oct. 18-22. A full badge admits the bearer to not only music showcases but also industry panels, guest speakers, and film events. Approximately 90,000 music professionals and fans flocked to the city in 2010 for the festivities, and buying your badge in long in advance can score you significant discounts. Also notable are the scores of unofficial, badgeless shows that pop up all over the city during CMJ's run (watch NYC-based music blogs for those announcements as the fest nears).
The longest wait is required for December's Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, more commonly known as BEMF. Headed by live music promoters Famous Friends and MeanRed agency, this yearly gathering focuses mainly local talent, both emerging and revered, within the dance and electronic music scene. Watch the site for lineup announcements, which should be along the lines of last year's featured artists: Kid Sister, Javelin, Tittsworth, Penguin Prison, Class Actress, Brahms, Lemonade, Creep, Treasure Fingers, and more.
What 2011 music festivals do you plan to attend, either close by or further away? Let us know in the comments!