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Electrifying! Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival celebrates 10 years

Found music: Katie Longmyer, with partner Jen Lyon, founded the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival 10 years ago on the banks of the Gowanus Canal.
for Brooklyn Paper
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The beat goes on!

The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary next weekend with three days of performances and parties sprawling across seven venues all over the borough. The creators of the fest say that they never expected the event, which started as a borough-focused daytime party on the shores of the Gowanus Canal, to grow into the international electronic extravaganza event it has become.

“It’s a labor of love. It’s like a creative brainstorm took over our lives,” said Katie Longmyer, who started the festival with Jen Lyon. “We wanted to celebrate Brooklyn vendors and Brooklyn deejays.”

The overwhelmingly positive reaction to that first festival encouraged the pair to make the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival an annual event, which kept growing even after they moved it to Williamsburg.

“We just kept on adding venues along a sort of five-block radius, because it was epicenter of dance music and clubs in that area,” said Longmyer. “We kept on really leaning into the community, getting really good feedback, and it just snowballed in the best way.”

This year’s festival boasts more than 40 artists, drawing from electronic dance music, trance, electronica, and other genres, and featuring talent from around the world. Headliners include British Broadcasting Corporation Radio One deejay Pete Tong, electronic avant-pop artist Matthew Dear, Chicago songwriter and record producer Green Velvet, and Los Angeles producer and deejay Tokimonsta.

Electronic music artists from around the world want to play Brooklyn, because the community here have a deep appreciation of the genre and its roots, said Longmyer.

“[They] really want to play in this market, because people in dance music understand the diversity of genre and the nuances of communities that are still very much woven into the fabric of the music,” she said.

But the festival’s founders want to keep the focus local even as they grow, with nearly every lineup at the festival featuring a Brooklyn disk jockey, and partnering with local businesses to host panels and a record fair.

“We’ve held onto our local roots very tightly,” Longmyer says, “and we’re okay going more slowly, maintaining the integrity of the message and belief of what we have.”

Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival at various venues, www.brooklynemf.com, October 12–14. Event prices vary, $99 for a weekend pass.

Updated 5:54 pm, July 9, 2018
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