As of Friday, summer is OFFICIALLY HERE, and it’s kicking off with the annual Hillstock Festival, which will be taking up residence in Clinton Hill from Friday to Sunday. The DIY music fest, run by the Never Break Down music collective, has been around for a while — when I first moved back to New York a few years ago, I remember hearing about it and wanting to go, but I lived uptown in Manhattan and Brooklyn was “far” and “scary” — but it’s been steadily gaining steam.
Now in its fifth year, the festival promises to be bigger than ever, and it’s packing the weekend with tons of music, parties and general DIY revelry. “We began by doing off-the-radar house parties in the neighborhood, and started gradually going legit over the past couple of years,” spokesman Alex Billig tells us. “When we started Hillstock, we wanted to provide our community with an experience similar to major summer music festivals, like Bonnaroo or Coachella, but on a smaller, local level. A lot of other festivals either feel too large and impersonal or don’t feel like a festival at all. We want Hillstock to be some kind of ‘micro-festival.'”
It feels a little bit larger than “micro” on this time though. “This year we have partnerships with businesses and venues across the neighborhood, and are hosting 2 block parties,” Billig said. Starting Friday, dozens of bands will perform at five different shows falling under Hillstock’s festival umbrella, and at least two of them are free of charge: Friday’s gratis show at Fulton Street and Grand Ave is partnered with Make Music NY and features bands like Brown Rice Family and BOYTOY, while Saturday’s free block party at 106 Emerson Place features performances by the likes of ARMS and WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE.
Other shows cost $5-$10 to attend, or you can purchase a $20 ticket that gets you access all weekend long. Other events of note: Friday night, art space Free Candy will host an after-party featuring a modern rock interpretation of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” (called, naturally, “Riot of Spring”), The Chris Gethard Show will perform at the festival’s Comedy Stage at 104 Emerson Place on Saturday and Hasidic hardcore punk rockers Moshiach Oi (yes) will bring down the house at art gallery The Bishop on Bedford. Really, you can’t miss this.