This weekend, more than 20,000 people are expected to attend the 2010 Capitol Hill Block Party in Pike/Pine. Hard to believe this is the 14th year for the festival. CHS did not attend year one. Or years two, three or four, even. But we did go looking for online accounts of the inaugural CHBP. We found one mention worth sharing for its brief but interesting color about the summer of 1997 on E Pike, six years after punk ‘broke,’ and three years after the
murder suicide of Kurt Cobain.
Don’t know what a ticket cost you in 1997 — but, according to inflation calculators, if it was anything less than 17 bucks, you’re getting ripped off in 2010. Here’s a piece of the account of CHBP’s first year we found via, of course, the Stranger from its 2003 Block Party guide:
I remember walking up to the first Capitol Hill Block Party in 1997 and feeling that Pike Street had been turned into a giant, hot outdoor gay bar. Pretty boys in leis served up cocktails and beer while people lounged around on thrift-store couches and chairs, each piece thoughtfully accented with its own coffee or end table on which to place your drink. I don’t recall much music, except for maybe a performance by the Dudley Manlove Quartet or something. It was more about the sheer pleasure of sitting on a gaudy crushed-velvet davenport and getting blasted in broad daylight in the middle of the street. Block Party II, however, was all about music, clowns, and carnival games, and much of the proceeds went to JAMPAC. Krist Novoselic loomed as the crowd’s biggest rock star, and he was hounded for autographs.
Anybody go in ’97 or ’98 when it sounds like the CHBP first hit its stride? My favorite Block Party was 2007. It was cool to see Spoon but what makes it the best was going to a rock show with my brother. We were already old by then and it had been a long time since we were fighting to see who could discover the next great band first.