In its third year, this weekend’s Summit Block Party has talked its neighbors into an uncertain future.
The free event returns bigger than ever this Saturday, August 9th with two band-filled stages, barbecue, live art, local vendors, raffle prizes and more. Closing Summit between E Olive and Howell, the festivities begin at 11 AM and go on until 9:30 at night.
“It started mostly on a whim,” founder Adair Tudor tells CHS. “I was really enamored with the block and really enjoyed seeing how it had a great sense of community. I thought, ‘Yeah, let’s just have a block party.'”
The second year provided Tudor with a chance to expand the event so she added a second stage and a larger crowd came with it. Though she said she doesn’t know what kind of turnout to expect this year, she and fellow organizer Adam Way have had to do a fair bit of outreach to keep the locals involved and accommodating.
“There was a weird amount of tension there for a second,” Way said. “We just talked it out with them and I think it’s in a positive place now. I think it’s going to be great.”
Though many in the block look forward to the event, some have reservations about a full-day party literally on their doorsteps.
“Some people are just averse to the idea,” Tudor said. “There’s definitely some people on the block that are not into it. I would hope they just relax for one day.”
Coming just two weeks after the Capitol Hill Block Party, and sharing a similar title if not a theme, parallels crop up easily between the two events.
“I know it’s easy to compare it to Capitol Hill Block Party, but I don’t really see how,” Tudor said. “The Summit Block Party is definitely way more intimate. This will never be an event you have to pay for.”
2014 marks the first year the Summit Block Party welcomes sponsors to the event, and it does so with care. Local businesses such as The Stranger and Caffe Vita will contribute materials and assistance, but Tudor said she wanted to keep corporate money away from the party.
“There is a very DIY, grassroots spirit that we want to maintain,” Tudor said.
The Pharmacy will lead the 16-band line up this year and frontman Scott Yoder spoke candidly about the event and his local band.
SUMMIT BLOCK PARTY 2014 LINEUP
The Pharmacy // Ecstatic Cosmic Union // Snuff Redux // Great Spiders // Kleine // Kelli Frances Corrado // Wayfinders // Parker Edison // Bad Tats // CMRTYZ // Diogenes //Carnotaurus // Lifeslow // Funky Photos // Nightspace // Spread Thick Crew
“This is the real Capitol Hill block party,” Yoder said. “It’s not full of people who don’t live here. It should be pretty cool.”
He said he looked forward to hearing the other bands joining The Pharmacy for the event, including Ecstatic Cosmic Union and Snuff Redux. He wanted to go into the event without a lot of prior knowledge and “experience it blind” while enjoying a summer’s Saturday with neighborhood residents.
After touring since May around the country and in Europe, Yoder’s 12-year-old band from Vashon Island hit some speed bumps and the Summit Block Party could actually mean an end for the group.
“This is the last show for a long time, and it might just be the last show,” Yoder said. The day after our conversation with Yoder, the band confirmed on its Facebook page that it would, in fact, be their final show.
Similar question marks hang over the Summit Block Party’s future — like whether it will return in 2015.
“None of us know the answer to that,” Way said. “It’s Adair’s baby and she gets to do whatever she wants with it. I’d love to do it again.”
Tudor did not know whether the Summit Block Party will come back.
“I’m not sure if I’ll want to continue it next year — I never expected it to be this big,” she said. “Someone could pick it up, but they would have to be someone that lives on the block.”
Learn more about this year’s event at summitblockparty.com.