Brooklyn’s hottest export: Bands to Sweden

July 16, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Eric Goldschein

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The world’s first ever all-Brooklyn music festival, featuring 16 local acts, will take place at the end of the summer. But don’t expect to be able to take the train, or an automobile to get there — plane will be your best bet.

The Brooklyn Brewery, on North 11th Street in Williamsburg, is teaming up with concert-promotion company Debaser to put on two days worth of music in Sweden. The festival, fittingly, will be called “Brooklyn, Sweden.”

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Each of the 16 bands playing are of Brooklyn origin. Some of the better known acts include The Hold Steady, Blonde Redhead and the Dum Dum Girls. Almost all of the bands play indie rock, punk, pop or electronic music.

Rather than having all 16 acts play the same city on the same day, the festival will split the music between the cities of Malmo and Stockholm, with eight bands playing in each venue on Aug. 31 and then swapping on Sept. 1.

And though the concept of getting together a bunch of Brooklyn-area bands to perform together sounds like a great idea, the questions remains: Why Sweden?Blonde Redhead, seen here performing in California, will also headline. Photo by Paul Familetti

“Oddly enough we’re selling quite a bit of beer there,” Ben Hudson, Marketing Director at the Brooklyn Brewery, told the Eagle. “In addition to seeing our beer in many restaurants, bars and hotels, people are excited and willing to talk about Brooklyn Brewery, and when these conversations move on to other topics, music is always right there.”

We thought this would be an awesome way to show off the music we love.”

Indeed, Sweden happens to be the largest market for Brooklyn Brewery products outside of New York. Though Brooklyn Brewery doesn’t ship its beer much further west than the Mississippi River, it does send about 10 percent of its beer abroad.

When it came down to deciding the set list, which skews heavily towards indie rock, Hudson said that the process began with idealized wish lists and was narrowed by the constraints of dealing with summer/autumn touring schedules.

“We wanted a nice cross-section of Brooklyn music; in the end it’s straight indie rock line-up. But a big similarity that comes out of these two different places is that they are prominent for producing indie rock in particular. That gives the festival the strongest connection between Brooklyn and Sweden.”

Despite the far-flung venue, Brooklyn music lovers who wish to attend the festival are in luck, thanks to the festival’s song-writing contest: Singer/songwriters can submit original tunes based on the G train — the Greenpoint to Kensington subway line that has become a favorite of hip Brooklynites everywhere — and the winner gets festival passes, airfare and hotel accommodations for two.

For those who are less musically-inclined but have cash to burn, one way flights for Labor Day Weekend to Stockholm, if booked today, will run you at least $540. Return flights — not to mention accomodations and cost of living — will run that bill quite a bit higher.

Unfortunately, Hudson said there were no imminent plans for Brooklyn-area edition of the festival. “Not this year,” he said, “but we’re working on it.”

Here’s the full line-up: Blonde Redhead, The Hold Steady, Cults, Crystal Stilts, Phosphorescent, Au Revoir Simone, Dum Dum Girls, DIIV, Twin Sister, Widowspeak, The So So Glos, Telepathe, Maluca, Prince Rama, Caveman and Blonds.

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