It’s finally back! The 6th Annual Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF) takes over multiple venues in Williamsburg this week, this time for three nights (November 8-10) straight (or four if you want to count the pre-party at Output on Thursday the 7th). Embracing both emerging and established artists from NYC’s boroughs and around the globe, BEMF has become a tour de force in electronic music festivals.
This year’s BEMF dancefloors will include Cameo Gallery, Output (as well as its adjoining sister club, The Panther Room), Glasslands Gallery, 285 Kent, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Villain — some of our favorite venues in all of NYC. (Read more from BEMF’s creators at MeanRed about why they yet again centered the festival around N. 6th Street.)
Take a look at some highlights from last year’s BEMF, then read on to learn our recommendations for where to go and what to do for this year’s festival. (Did we tell you how excited we are for this year’s BEMF??)
WHERE TO DANCE
This is the reason you are reading this article, isn’t it? For the full list of BEMF happenings, check its website or our calendar. While this year’s BEMF features a dizzying array of talent, you pretty much need to make a game plan if you don’t want to run from venue to venue all night to see 10 minutes of each artist’s set.
Therefore, without further ado, we present you with our top 5 picks for BEMF 2013 (please note that events marked by * indicate those that had last-minute line-up changes, so we’ve updated things accordingly):
» Friday 11/8: Plastic Plates, Eli Escobar, Project Matt, and Free Magic & Faso*
Output, 74 Wythe Avenue
» Saturday 11/9: Fixed with Tensnake, JDH & Paul Raffaele*
Cameo Gallery at 93 N. 6th Street
» Saturday 11/9: Kasper Bjorke & Justin Miller
The Panther Room at 74 Wythe Avenue (Enter on N. 11th Street)
» Saturday 11/9: The Magician, Manik, DJ Spun, Beto Cravioto & Vin Sol*
Villain, 50 N. 3rd Street
BONUS: There’s even an official BEMF afterparty on Saturday! Those debauchery-loving kids from Rinsed are throwing yet another guaranteed-to-be-legendary rager at a secret location from midnight ’til brunch time. The special guests are TBA, but knowing Rinsed, you NEED to be there.
WHERE TO FIND NOURISHMENT/HYDRATION
Going hungry or thirsty for lack of options is an impossibility in Williamsburg. While there are obviously way to many establishments to list here, we’re going to throw out a couple of names we think you’ll like:
» Vinnie’s (148 Bedford)
Everyone’s got their favorite pizza joint, but Vinnie’s is ours, hands down. Excellent, vegan-friendly AND carnivore-friendly slices are available all day and night (until 3 a.m. on weekends) in a laid-back, attitude-free, personality-heavy spot.
» Oasis (161 N. 7th)
Situated immediately outside of the L stop, you can get your (good quality) falafel fix on for a few bucks — and yes, there is seating inside.
» Bagelsmith (189 Bedford)
One of Williamsburg’s few 24-hour spots, Bagelsmith offers up consistently good, affordable sandwiches whenever hunger pangs strike.
» Lovin’ Cup Cafe (93 N. 6th)
The only BEMF venue to feature a full-service restaurant, this locals’ favorite offers reasonably priced, delicious meal options and a full bar.
» Kinfolk Studios (90 Wythe)
Stop in for specialty cocktails or Scandinavian bar bites, or stick around a bit to do some pre-BEMF dancing courtesy of some fine house/disco DJs.
In addition, you’ll discover that food trucks are everywhere, almost all the time.
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting to Williamsburg is simple from anywhere in New York City: Find your way to the Bedford L stop and you’re basically minutes from the majority of BEMF’s venues. If you are driving in, street parking is free; however, keep in mind that weekends get busy and finding a spot could mean missing your favorite act, so leave yourself plenty of time (and, you know, avoid parking in bus stops, in front of fire hydrants, in places where you are blocking a driveway, etc. — which accounts for something like 70% of the empty space you’ll encounter — because being fined or towed is a surefire way to kill all your good BEMF vibes at the end of the night). And while a less wallet-friendly option, taking a taxi is always a pretty relaxing way to arrive. Also consider BEMF’s partnership with the “on-demand transportation service” UBER, which is offering first-time users with a BEMF ticket up to $20 off a ride.
With all of its venues within easy walking distance in Williamsburg, you’ll be unlikely to need a cab, bus, or train once you get into the neighborhood. (And if you’re dying to ride a Citi Bike… well, yes, there are plenty to be found in Williamsburg…)
If you have any trouble getting home late night and none of the aforementioned work for you, keep in mind there are several car services on Bedford Avenue (Northside Luxury at 207 Bedford and Go Car at 349 Bedford are two options).
WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD
At this point, we hope that you out-of-towners have sorted out your accommodations (November in NYC is no time to experiment with sleeping al fresco…) If you’re arriving a bit late to the party (literally), some nearby options include the swanky King & Grove and Wythe Hotel; for those on a budget, the B Hotel & Hostel is about a 20 minute walk from most BEMF venues. (Note: We have not actually stayed at any of these, so doing some advance research online is recommended.)
WHAT TO DO IN THE DAYLIGHT HOURS
So if you don’t spend all day resting up from the night before/gathering strength for the night ahead, you may find yourself with some time to kill before the sun goes down. A few Williamsburg recommendations include:
» Go to the movies: Williamsburg boasts three legit movie theaters, all in super-close vicinity to BEMF’s venues. Indiescreen (289 Kent), as its name suggests, shows the best of indie cinema on one screen; the Williamsburg Cinemas (217 Grand) multiplex features the latest in big movie releases; and Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan) allows guests to drink and dine while watching movies ranging from cult classics to the latest indies.
» Brunch: Brunching in Williamsburg is basically a must (unless you sleep through it — there’s always Seamless, right?). You’ll find chalkboards outside of possibly hundreds of restaurants enticing you to try their specials and drink deals, so take a look around before you settle on your spot. Our favorites include Rabbithole (352 Bedford), Beco (45 Richardson Street), Pates et Traditions (52 Havemeyer Street), and Cadaques‘ (188 Grand) all-you-can-drink brunch.
» Check out Smorgasburg/the Brooklyn Flea: From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays, East River State Park (at the Williamsburg waterfront where Kent Avenue and N. 7th meet) becomes a food market mecca; on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the same space hosts a more goods-than-foods flea market.
» Visit the Brooklyn Night Bazaar (165 Banker): Just opened for 2013, the indoor market is open from 6pm-12am Fridays and Saturdays and features local food/drink vendors, craft/jewelry/clothing stands, live (free) music, art installations, ping pong, and mini golf. While it’s technically in Greenpoint, it’s an easy 10-minute walk from most of BEMF’s venues.
» Walk/run: The Williamsburg Bridge provides a viewtastic way to get some exercise and work off that brunch.
» Browse: You’ll find an insane variety of specialty shops and boutiques while walking around Williamsburg, so browse (or even buy) to your heart’s content.
HOW TO OBTAIN TICKETS
There are three ways to attend this year’s BEMF:
- Buy a festival pass that gets you into all venues for the entirety of the festival (including Thursday’s pre-party at Output and Saturday night’s Rinsed afters)
- Buy a one-day pass that gets you into all venues on that day
- Buy tickets (limited quantities) for specific events
You can buy all here.
ATMs: Although you can find them inside most venues (or just outside, in the case of Cameo), you’ll also find one inside the Duane Reade on Bedford Avenue and outside various bodegas.
Bathrooms: Yes, the lines inside the venues will be long. Are there any alternatives? Um, not really. Due to frequent police patrolling, we’d advise against doing this al fresco, too. If you’re desperate, your best bet is probably quietly sneaking into one of Bedford Avenue’s bars to find the restroom, or maybe making friends with a local who lives down the block.
Whew! We’re pretty sure we’ve covered all your likely needs — we’ll catch you on one of the many BEMF dancefloors!