Capitol Hill Block Party’s Jason Lajeunesse made it clear in a meeting with local retailers and residents Tuesday night that this year the festival will be more about them.
“We are making an effort in general to represent some of the community that hasn’t been represented in the past—retailers within the festival’s footprint, parts of the non-music community, and the arts community,” Lajeunesse said.
At the meeting on the top floor of Cafe Vita, Lajeunesse addressed a number of issues retailers have spoken out about in the past concerning the festival. Storefronts within CHBP’s footprint in the past have either benefitted from a large boost in sales during the three-day music festival, or have taken major sales hits.
“I’d like to make it as easy as possible for retailers,” Lajeunesse said. “A huge part of last years efforts were taken up focusing on security—that got taken care of, so now this year we can focus on marketing for retailers in the footprint, and making this better for the entire community.”
- CHBP will be sponsoring a stage at Cal Anderson for the the 4th of July party.
- From 10 am-12pm on July 22, Cupcake Royale has teamed up with CHBP to provide a free family event featuring free ice cream, lemonade, double dutch, and a free Neumos show from Seattle kids favorite Caspar Baby Pants.
- July 21st, SweatBox will be hosting a free yoga class from the mainstage that is also open to kids.
- On the business end, current Babeland marketer Audrey McManus jumped on board as a Business Mitigation and Marketing Consultant for the festival. McManus is constructing a walking map and retail guide featuring businesses within the festival’s footprint. “We’re really trying to help boost and push marketing for the non-food and drink retailers this year,” McManus said. “In the past we know they’ve been negatively impacted by the festival and we are looking to change that by driving traffic from downtown up the hill.” McManus is in talks with a number of downtown hotel concierges to distribute the maps so that tourists can easily access them.
- Lajeunesse is also working on making a comprehensive “neighborhood” page on the website as well as the festival guides that outline exactly where businesses within the footprint are located. He also offered to include coupons and promotions on print-at-home tickets, so that festival goers will have more incentive to shop.
- A major concern for many retailers is the general confusion the festival causes for people working and looking to shop within the festival’s boundaries. To address this, Lajeunesse is placing “neighborhood liaisons” in strategic locations. These liaisons will be there to answer anybody’s questions, and help guide people through the festival who need to get in and out for retail purposes.
- A comprehensive “Local Business Marketing Menu” was offered, detailing all the marketing tactics that any business owner within the CHBP footprint will receive. Full page ads in The Stranger, banner ads, as well optional tie-in promotions and incentives were just a few items on the menu.
- Retailers also voiced a desire for simple “Block Party 101″ posters to place in windows and hand out to residents, outlining basic need-to-know information for those less familiar with the festival.
Michael Wells of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce promised that this year would be the start of a more streamlined, headache free Block Party for residents and business owners.
“If there’s one thing we need to nail next year is making the community communication as clear as possible,” Wells said.
Wells also wanted to make it known that community feedback is crucial to the future of the festival.
“A large portion of the decisions that were made this year were influenced by concerns voiced by the community. We want to let you all know that we are listening.”