The 17th Capitol Hill Block Party begins today having matured into quite the machine. As E Pike is transformed into a musical playground for a Day One crowd of around 10,000 people, the festival will mark its second year under “new” management following the 2012 ascension of Neumos honcho Jason Lajeunesse into controlling interest of the now big-business event. CHS will be on the grounds and roaming the streets again this year watching for interesting people doing interesting things. We’ll probably talk about the music — here and there — too. But we tend to focus on the party part. It’s the most fun and, in the end, probably what sets CHBP apart from other events.
You can follow @jseattle on Twitter and watch this open thread as Day One — forecasted to be the hottest of the weekend weather-wise — plays out. Let us know if you see anything — or anybody — interesting, too. You can email us or call/txt (206) 399-5959 for the *really* interesting stuff to let us know what you’re seeing. Or hearing. You can keep track of all our CHS CHBP coverage here.
UPDATE: Pictures from Day One here courtesy Alex Garland for CHS — with notes, images and more, below.
- Tickets will be on sale at the gate but you can also still buy online through Stranger Tickets and — we’re being sincere here — help support local media.
- Crews are busy putting down helpful UI to navigate Block Party’s gates. It’s a chalk mixture, we’re assured, that should wash right off when the big shebang is wrapped up.
- Gates open at 3 PM. The main stage crescendoes on Day One with Dillon Francis, STRFKR and Girl Talk. Thee Oh Sees, Allen Stone, and Fitz and the Tantrums batted lead-off in 2012.
- For the first time, CHBP faces competition on the music festival front in its traditional final weekend of July schedule. The Timber! Outdoor Music Festival takes place in Carnation this weekend. CHBP organizers said they don’t expect Timber to dent Block Party ticket sales.
- Day One will be the Seattle “scorcher” of the weekend with a forecast for temperatures reaching 80 degrees by the time things are going hot and heavy inside the gates around 5 PM.
- Most non-food and drink businesses in the area will be open — though you’ll want to check before heading out for changes like Elliott Bay’s plan to shutter at 7 PM Friday because of the festival crush. Meanwhile, watch for some of the creative way businesses in the midst of the action get involved like Lobby Bar’s 4th annual Back Door Party.
- CHBP organizers have upgraded the festival’s sound systems to ensure less bass thumping permeating through the neighborhood.
- A three-camera set-up on the main stage will broadcast performances over the big screen on the main stage.
- Not news: Definitely don’t try to park around Broadway and Pike/Pine this weekend. Also, plans for a big bike parking set-up fell through so safe bike lock-up areas will be at a premium. Be friendly in your technique and try to leave space for others. Not a bad weekend for walking…
- CHBP has again partnered with Ghost Gallery to perform live acts of art making during this year’s festival.
- You’ll also see this new mural on Neumos.
- The four leading mayoral candidates are slated to take the main stage at various points through the weekend. Incumbent Mike McGinn gets first swing Friday night. Peter Steinbrueck and Ed Murray follow on Saturday while Bruce Harrell opens for Hey Marseilles on Sunday afternoon.
- Officially, 2013 marks the 17th Block Party but neighborhood old-timers say the event actually dates to 1993. Here’s what longtime Pike/Piner Anne Michelson told CHS in 2010:
Actually the first block party was in 1993, put on by the skate board shop 11th & Pike, Crescent Downworks. We had a little skate board course, and one of those strength testing games where you hit the thing with a mallet and it sent a thing up to ring the bell and I don’t remember what else. Some promoters called Thirsty Girls did it for us the next year and then I don’t know what happened. But when they started charging to get in, it stopped being a block party.
UPDATE 4:15 PM: CHS intern Sam Heft-Luthy is on patrol inside the gates and providing updates. He reports two most prominent pieces of free swag from hour one of Capitol Hill Block Party 2013: roses and Otter Pops. The roses are courtesy of Kind brand nutrition bars.
“The idea is that we’re doing random acts of kindness so you can keep it or pass it on,” said booth employee Anthony Ghazelle.
Popsicles have been a staple of youth-voter organization The Washington Bus’ Block Party presence for years. Just take a short civics pop quiz (Questions include “what is the average age of a Washington State off-year primary voter?” — the answer may surprise you) and choose your flavor. Full disclosure: Sam remains part of the Washington Bus
cult circle of friends alumni association. Sam is also not 21 so if you see anything interesting in the beer garden, you’ll have to tell him about it.
UPDATE 6:08 PM: As of 30 minutes ago, organizers say Friday night is sold out. Meanwhile, on the grey market, scalpers are paying $20, asking $40. Caveat emptor.
Meanwhile, Q: “What’s your favorite state, other than Washington?”
A: “Alaska, even though I’ve never been there. Reading Jack London makes me want to go there and see Denali.”
UPDATE 8:23 PM: Q: “Hey I’m with Capitol Hill Seattle, can I take your picture?”
A: “I’m taking photos for Capitol Hill Block Party, can I take YOUR picture?”
UPDATE: Here are more images from Day One courtesy Kinney Sleater with permission:
UPDATE: And more Day One scenes from Jim Bennett/photobakery for CHBP with permission to CHS: