Out In The Streets began as a single day of free music in Bushwick in 2009, taking place, yes, out in the streets. That year, bands played on the corner of Wyckoff and Troutman Streets and, technically, it was not called Out in the Streets at all. It was part of another great music initiative, Make Music New York, in which musicians stage free public shows throughout the entire city.
At the time, the (eventual) Out in the Streets founders Scot Bowman, Gabo Rodriguez, and David Teller were still new to Bushwick and had met a lot of bands that inspired them while working at Northeast Kingdom, whose owner let them gather a whole bunch of those bands to play in front of the restaurant. There they were, Out in the Streets, creating something brand new, and thus the festival (at least, version 1.0 of it) was born—and it grew significantly from there.
So, before the (now) two-day festival begins tomorrow (for which you should purchase tickets here and now), we caught up with Rodriguez and Bowman, who explained how Out in the Streets evolved from a guerrilla sidewalk event into a two-day must-see music festival. Read on to learn what acts they’re especially excited about this year, and what, beyond just the music, you should get excited for.
After your first and successful sidewalk event, how did Out in the Streets evolve into something much bigger?
From there we decided to try and do a more festival style version and started doing it in the alleyway beside the old Brooklyn Fireproof Café on Ingraham Street in 2010, again booking a lot of the awesome bands we got to know in the neighborhood. It was really inspired by the community around us and we just wanted to put on a great show to showcase the talent we found ourselves surrounded by. Since moving to the Onderdonk House four years ago, it has taken on a whole new life. We’ve evolved to a more pastoral scene, but the Bushwick grit is still definitely there.
How did you go about curating the festival this year? What was the theme/tone/mix you were hoping to hit?
There are three of us (Scot, David, Gabo) and, as with every year, we all throw all of our ideas into the mix. We all have a variety of musical tastes – everything from dance pop to punk rock, but we trust each other. When we land the first few bands, the collective tone begins to form and it kind of creatively snowballs from there. I think we all three agree that 2016 is our most exciting line-up yet.
What are some of the other cool things that people will be able to experience at the festival in addition to the wonderful music?
There will be a lot of art installations curated by Talking Walls, an interactive sculpture created by Leon Reid IV from the empty Bronx Brewery cans collected at the festival, a chill area with kiddie pools and bean bags, and casual shopping at the amazing pop-up Ridgewood Market, AND you’re on a historical landmark!
What part of this year’s festival (or what acts, in particular) are you most excited about?
We are really excited to have Brooklyn DIY legends The So So Glos and Frankie Rose as our headliners this year. They both represent the vibe that we were connected to when we started it all and we feel honored to have them! Of course, we are passionate about every band playing, but we are particularly excited to see how Guerilla Toss treat the unique setting of the festival at twilight hour. Don’t fucking miss that.
Will tickets sell out? Should people make sure to get them immediately?
Advance tickets may sell out, but we always reserve tickets to sell at the door so that everyone has a chance to come. You should probably get there on the early side! This is the seventh OITS in eight years and every year grows upon the last. We are stoked at the response we’ve gotten this year!
Brooklyn, you heard it from the founders: tell this weekend’s heat to go to hell, get your tickets to OITS now, and don’t fucking miss this.