by Victoria Wasylak
Photo Courtesy of OITS
Not all festivals are created equal. There a few common themes that span across megafests: obtrusive security, eyeroll-worthy concession prices and middle-of-nowhere locales that make the journey to the fest more expensive and laborious than necessary. It’s in those uncanny factors that mini-fest Out In The Streets gleefully distinguishes itself.
Situated on a two-acre plot of land behind the historic Onderdonk House, the fest isn’t far from an extravagant summer block party. Though on a smaller scale, Out In The Streets maintains all of the essentials of any decent music festival: drinks from a local brewery, local art curiosities and a basement-kid approved two-day lineup. (Regretfully, this includes Porta Potties).
Now celebrating its eighth year, Out In The Streets revels in the spirit of summer music festivals without the drags of overwhelming and sometimes over-capitalized megafests.
Gabo Rodriguez, PR representative from Super Crush Studio, said that the smaller attendance is a deliberate move that keeps the festival community-based and rooted in the heart of DIY culture.
“A lot of the curation of these events is very personal,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t want to be a big festival. You always want to do something you genuinely feel good about.”
In turn, one of the few sponsors, Bronx Brewery, supports the festival because of the down-to-earth DIY branding. Nick Mezansky, marketing coordinator for Bronx Brewery, said that the company sponsors the festival because it has the same overall attitude as the festival.
“There’s no pretention in it—that’s what our brand is all about,” Mezansky said.
Along with other local media sponsors, such as Tell All Your Friends and Newtown Radio, the event is a worthwhile equivalent of a Boston Compass Grass Stains fest.
While many of the bands lean towards the elusive sounds of the underground, others like TEEN and Honduras are easily recognizable to seasoned Northeast music junkies. Rodriguez said the artists for the festival are selected by reviewing lists of bands they have compiled.
“We keep it very local,” he said. “We book bands that have already played the festival circuit, but we have a connection with them.”
Saturday’s lineup was especially an Allston kid’s dream, featuring Rolling Stone-praised Guerilla Toss and sour-faced punks Potty Mouth. Between Guerilla Toss’ disorienting experimental rock and Potty Mouth’s frisky licks, the two bands were the pride of Massachusetts, perhaps only to be topped by headliner The So So Glos, who transformed the throbbing sea of punks into a bona fide riptide of moshing.
For Potty Mouth, keeping it close to the DIY scene has been the norm with most of their shows, although that might change by the end of the summer.
“At this point, smaller-scale festivals are all we know, said bassist Ally Einbinder. “We haven’t played any really big festivals. We’ll be playing our first big festival at the end of this month. We’re playing Lollapalooza.”
Much like the aforementioned setbacks of attending a megafest like Lollapalooza, another recent issue with attending “brand name” festivals is that guests get caught up in sharing the experience on social media, rather than actually experiencing it.
“Personally, I think it’s really cool that you can live in a place like New York and people just put on these weekend festivals,” Einbinder said. “It just feels more intimate and people who are here really want to be here, they aren’t just part of festival culture that you might find at a bigger festival.”
The ladies of Potty Mouth booked the gig along with a show at the Museum of Modern Art—“It’s an honor. I’ve never even been to MoMA,” Einbinder said—to make the most of their trip to New York City after their move to Los Angeles.
Lead Vocalist and Guitarist Abby Weems said that Out In The Streets strongly resembled the kind of shows that they either play at or attend on a regular basis.
“It’s pretty similar. We play a lot of smaller shows and we know a lot of the bands that are playing this festival and so it’s just like seeing our friends and hanging out,” Weems said. “It’s like a show we would go to anyways.”
With over 600 people in attendance each day, Rodriguez said that the festival was one of the most successful to date in the festival’s eight-year history.
“This year's Out In The Streets Festival was the best we've had so far,” he said. “In terms of bands, crowd and general reception, it has been amazing.”