What's up everyone!
The complete FuseBox Radio Broadcast/BlackRadioIsBack.com family was out and about earlier this month, getting out of our regular area of the U.S. East Coast and heading up to Canada for the 19th annual North by Northeast (NXNE) Festival in Toronto, ON from June 10 - 16, 2013.
NXNE had a lot of great international independent & mainstream talent on the Music, Film, Art & Comedy ends doing their thing during the week and also provided some cool information & interesting viewpoints via their Interactive portion with various panels & presentations.
The best way I can describe NXNE is as Canada's version of South by Southwest (SXSW) without the extremely overpriced registration fees (seriously, this is crazy affordable for all that you get with actual quality known and unknown entertainment), hipster overload of folks who give more damns about getting their pic in a Tumblr fashion spread than any of the entertainment & hotel prices that are actually nearby where the action is that won't wipe out your checking account for a week.
After about 12 hours on a bus from Washington, DC for each of the crew traveling on different days (unofficial "official" U.S. to Canada bus of the FuseBox Radio, Megabus, got us there in one piece) due to an insane multi-day tropical storm running up and down the East Coast, it was basically a lot of nights of fun checking out all of the NXNE festivities possible & performing at a few events ourselves mixed in with lack of sleep and random movie/documentary/TV show watching via Netflix (since Hulu Plus and Canada don't get along too tough apparently) during relative quiet periods.
Here are some pictures (all taken by Mary Nichols aka DJ Fusion of the FuseBox Radio Broadcast), video & random observations during our North by Northeast adventures....enjoy! - DJ Fusion/FuseBox Radio
The 3 best things about North by Northeast that makes it worth the travel, money & time:
1. Unlike some music festivals which seem to spend more time hyping up the "big" music acts’ performances while just tossing some other random performers as filler in between their sets, NXNE actually achieves a nice balance between cool indie music acts and the more known mainstream/mainstream-esque folks.
You get a pretty nice balance of old & new school indie music blog favorites, Billboard 100 chart toppers & “I never heard of you, but damn, you got skills” of different genres on display throughout the week due to the event's curators being adventurous & dedicated to their roles.
That vibe also extends to all of the other talents in the festival’s mix too – it’s not hard to find something or someone that will catch your interest of a unique artistic or intellectual bent.
2. NXNE is a huge event, but in its own way, feels more intimate than claustrophobic as s***.
A lot of that is due to the multiple locations – from lounges, bars & stores to the clubs and huge Yonge-Dundas Square showcase space (essentially the Times Square of the area) – having really friendly and helpful staff everywhere ready to help with everything from directions, future event suggestions (which is needed considering the 1000+ music acts alone, much less everything else going down) and other biz happening around Toronto.
Their website & phone app are also above and beyond helpful in trying to figure out not just where to go to each day with all of the events, but to keep track of your schedule (since again, a lot is going on and sometimes, your best laid plans of where to go & why can sometimes go straight to hell can at least can at least get changed a bit more smoothly).
It’s also pretty cool that the majority of attendees we ran into seemed to be at NXNE’s various events simply for a good time checking out whatever was going down, from “secret” shows to free and paid events. The lack of snobbery of various music types was relaxing.
3. Toronto is just cool PERIOD & is highly slept on (at least in our corner of the States) for tourist business and culture.
Public transportation around downtown Toronto (excluding cabs) is pretty inexpensive & clean, especially if used to DC or NYC metro area prices & environments to roll through a major city.
Plus, if you dig around enough, there are some great food spots to eat that won’t break your pocket or digestive system – chain restaurants & local area spots - in different parts of the area.
There are also stereotypical tourist-type things to do for days in the area that are relaxing to get engaged in.
Canada + Downtown Toronto
Throughout the Week
Hockey Hall of Fame...
At Crawford Bar
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The outside of Crawford Bar, where the magic happened....
The official NXNE banner at Crawford...
And the official NXNE lineup poster at the location...
The Crawford's Performance Stage....