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Museyon’s Guide to…North by Northeast

nxne_lineupNorth by Northeast, South by Southwest’s Canadian cousin with distinctly less bbq and more flannel, will be taking place all this week in Toronto. Music folks call SXSW ‘Indie Spring Break.’ Well if that is spring break, NXNE is Summer Camp. The festival has been held yearly in June since 1994 and like SXSW, includes a music and interactive conference as well as a film festival.
What distinguishes music festivals like NXNE and SXSW from other all inclusive events like Bonnaroo or even Primavera is that they are spread out around the city in various music venues, 50 in Toronto. Over 650 bands will be officially participating in NXNE this year and festivals such as these are your chance to catch acts that are up and coming and not just those lucky enough to play a main stage with Jay-Z. You don’t have to have a badge to come out to NXNE but it does help. Bands will play for free at venues during the day but in the evening, all venues will admit badge holders in first before allowing the general public to pay for a ticket which for highly buzzed bands, isn’t likely.
Music Conference: This portion of the festival is the reason that NXNE attracts so many music professionals. The conference is a chance to network with everyone from industry heads to bloggers. Panels take place at festival headquarters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and span four days, from June 16th to the 19th. Badges must be purchased to attend any of the panels. Badges are $200 but if you are a music novice, the cost is well worth it to hear advice from well-respected vets.
Hyatt Regency Toronto
370 King St West
Google Map
Main Stage: Totally free and open to the public, this is your chance to see Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Sloan, Free Energy and Surfer Blood. It all takes place in Yonge-Dundas Square for four days and nights and includes a music marketplace and an on-site beer garden. For a complete daily schedule, go here.
Yonge-Dundas Square
Google Map
NXNEi: Two full days of presentations with an optional opening day of workshops, from June 14th to June 16th, this portion of NXNE is aimed at professionals and those looking to learn more about what this whole online thing is about. Panels include tips on how to use social media, WordPress and Kickstarter. This also takes place at the conference center located in the Hyatt Regency Toronto. Go here for registration and a panel schedule.

Poster Show: Located at the 5000 square foot Twist Gallery, this show features both international and local music poster artists. Prints will be on display but also for sale. The show runs from June 14th, past NXNE closing on June 28th.
Twist Gallery
1100 Queen St. West, Toronto
Google Map
and finally, the MUSIC: We’ve gone through the entire list of bands playing NXNE and here’s our list of not to miss acts.
De La Soul– need we say more. Playing for free at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, June 20th at 9:30pm
DD/MM/YYYY– Look past the strange name and make sure to catch this band who has had indie critics buzzing for the past year with a style that’s dramatic, electric, rocky and housepartyesque. Especially great for out of towners to catch, they are also local sons.
Free Energy– Not only one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in rock n roll, also they also make great music that is bringing back 70s sensibilities to a dance crowd. Signed to James Murphy’s DFA label. Playing for free at Yonge-Dundas Square on Thursday, June 17th at 6pm.
Glass Candy– A pop dance music duo that has been creating catchy hits since 1996. Wrongbar, Thursday June 17th at 1am.
Grooms– A dreamy noise-pop trio of friends from Brooklyn. Lee’s Palace, Friday, June 18th, 9pm.
HEALTH– Though admittedly, their music isn’t for everyone, if you want to see the indie kids go absolutely wild, stop by this show but make sure to bring your earplugs and wear sneakers (there will be moshing). Sneaky Dee’s, June 17th at 12am
Iggy Pop and The Stooges– Don’t wait too long to see Iggy Pop in all his tanned glory. Playing for free at Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday, June 19th at 9:30pm
Japandroids– Canadian garage rock at it’s finest. Lee’s Palace, Friday June 18th at 12am.
Julianna Barwick– You might have to bring your listening horn for this one after so many noisy rockers but it will be worth it to catch an earful of Julianna’s dreamy vocals. The Garrison, Saturday June 19th at 10pm.
Les Savy Fav- Perhaps one of the most well-known and scene making bands to come out of Brooklyn in the recent decade, this bigger than life group is not to be missed. Wrongbar, Saturday June 19th at 1am.
Phenomenal Handclap Band– We love that this outrageous and insanely talented group of misfits is opening for De La Sol. Free at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, June 20th at 7pm.
Surfer Blood– This appropriately named band plays surf music with an edge. Wrongbar, Saturday, June 19th, 12am.
For more bands, go here.

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