The Seattle Special Events Committee on Wednesday voted to approve a third day for the 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party. The move paves the way for organizers to book acts and finalize planning for the music festival that they say drew more than 20,000 to E Pike in 2010, the first year of the expanded three day schedule.
Though the committee approved the third day, final permits are contingent on an agreement for a safety plan for the event and a 9 PM Sunday night end time.
Committee head Joanne Orsucci acknowledged that 2010’s Block Party produced a large increase in feedback for the permitting process in 2011 but told the committee she believed organizers had done an excellent job reaching out to area businesses and the community. CHS reported on a community meeting to discuss the three-day plans held in February here. Organizers say they plan to hold another meeting in the neighborhood on April 25th.
According to Orsucci and Block Party producer Dave Meinert, 51 of 56 businesses in the area have given their support to the three-day schedule. One still left to weigh in, Meinert said, is Elliott Bay Book Co. He said a meeting had been set up with owner Peter Aaron to discuss changes for 2011 — especially the decision to increase security outside the gates of the festival on private property near the event including in nearby buildings where people have made an annual tradition of sneaking onto rooftoops to enjoy the show and wild scene below.
Notable is the addition of Seattle Maserati and Ferrari to the approval list — or, at least, his removal from the opposition list. A representative from the 12th Ave showroom had been one of the most vocal critics of CHBP organizers at public meetings related to the permitting process. Improvements and a reduction in will call ticketing and a change of plans for how the lines will be placed to move people away from the showroom appear to have satisfied the car dealership.
Local businesses will also benefit from increased marketing at the event, Meinert said, as well as free promotion in the Stranger which is partnering to provide ticket services again this year.
Meinert said organizers are also planning to again donate $20,000 to are non-profits and make an additional to the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce to support economic development in the Pike/Pine area.
While the approval is a positive development for the event, the risk for Block Party organizers moving ahead remains as Seattle Police and Fire departments have requested a more detailed safety plan from the CHBP team than they say has been provided in years past. Official permitting of the event is contingent on safety officials approving the plan and working out solutions for some of the challenges in the urban concert space.
Organizers are already making plans to simplify and improve conditions for police and fire at the event. In addition to the roof patrols, the sound board station has been moved to create more space for a safety lane near the stage in front of Lobby Bar. Also, bad news for freeloaders: There is a plan afoot to close the Shell station parking lot to the crowd that usually gathers there to peek over the fences and watch the main stage.
The 2011 Capitol Hill Block Party is slated for July 22 through July 24th. The Sunday night schedule will be limited to a 9 PM set end as it was in 2010.
Meinert’s Big Mario’s is a CHS advertiser.