Last Friday North by Northeast (NXNE) kicked off its 20th consecutive festival in Toronto. The event brings bands from all over Canada and The United States to perform at over 50 music venues across the city. Initially fashioned after Texas’s successful South by Southwest Festival, NXNE has spent the past two decades establishing themselves as a truly unique event. While the week and a half long event has been going on for a few days now, it really started revving up this past Wednesday. Before that only about five or six bands performed a day in lead up to the meat of the festival
Hundreds of Artist have or will perform at NXNE with many staying multiple days for repeat shows. PS I Love You, Eagulls, Greys, and Frankie Cosmos are but a fraction of the anticipated performances to come. Even Macauley Culkin’s band The Pizza Underground will perform four times by the end of the festival. Let’s hope they receive a warmer reception than they did at their Nottingham concert in May.
This performances of NXNE have seen an uptick in attendance, with the National Post calling the Wednesday crowd “busier than any NXNE in history . Seriously, I’ve never seen Wednesday crowds like the ones this Wednesday… Just a heads up, club hopping could be difficult this time around.” Toronto bars have reacted to the surge in popularity by extending their last call to as late as 4 am. Many of the bars extending their service times also host performances from NXNE
All of this is great news for a Festival who has spent the last few years expanding the different artforms shown in. While NXNE began as strictly musical, it has since expanded to include other art forms as well. In 2001 a film festival was added that has since featured the work of Don Letts, Rob Heydon, and Bruce McDonald. Just last year a stand up comedy portion was added alongside a series of Art Exhibits. Both of these additions have been brought back this year.
The festival is set to conclude this Monday June 22nd. Tickets for the remaining four days are still available and can be bought at NXNE’s website right here.