For first time, 206 Zulu Park Jams make Capitol Hill stop

13320010_10208439208153407_1791696448705913684_n (1)With Capitol Hill Block Party 2016 passed, this weekend brings free music to Cal Anderson Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy the “the four elements” — DJing, breakdancing, emceeing, and graffiti art not filtered through the Pike/Pine scene.

Sunday evening, Cal Anderson will play host to local DJs, musicians, and visual artists as part of its turn to host a 206 Zulu Park Jam. The jam is organized by nonprofit volunteer organization 206 Zulu, the Seattle branch of a group started in the 70s to bring live music, particularly hip hop, to parks as a way to create a safe place for young people in the Bronx. Zulu has since extended its mission to providing family-friendly music and arts programming in cities throughout the United States. Continue reading

Born and raised on Capitol Hill, now playing Capitol Hill Block Party

Musician Joe Gregory was born and raised on Capitol Hill and can remember attending the Capitol Hill Block Party when it was a tiny, alternative, upstart music festival.

On Sunday he and his band J GRGRY are joining the ranks of CHBP performers. “It’s really exciting to actually finally 20 years later be a part of it,” said Gregory.

It has been a quick rise for the group. J GRGRY has been around for about a year. The group was asked to play CHBP earlier this summer after several successful shows at Neumos.J GRGRY consists of Gregory, guitar player and Gregory’s longtime friend Robert Cheek, drummer Andrew King, and bass/key player Ryan Leyva. The group’s first performance together was at The Crocodile in December 2015. After that first show, J GRGRY submitted for the opening slot for Geographer at Neumos.

“So many people came out for us and we sold a ton of presale tickets – it was just an overwhelming response and the club was like, ‘Holy shit, who are you guys?’” said Gregory. “It ended up being such a cool show, and then I think because of my onstage aesthetic they thought about asking me for the Prince show.” Continue reading

20(ish) years of the Capitol Hill Block Party

LaJeunesse hears from business partner Joey Burgess at the 2015 festival (Image- CHS)

LaJeunesse hears from business partner Joey Burgess at the 2015 festival (Image- CHS)

Old Block Party flyers courtesy Gapay

Old Block Party flyers courtesy Gopay

The 2016 Capitol Hill Block Party is being advertised as the 20th edition of the music festival, but it might be older than that.

It all depends on who you ask.

“I started the Capitol Hill Block Party in 1997 because I was frustrated with the corporate feel of Bumbershoot and the amount of baby carriages,” Jen Gapay tells CHS. “I also wanted to create more of a cool party scene in an urban environment like Capitol Hill.” Gapay said that she wanted people to have a chance to drink, listen to music, and listen to street performers “in an actual street.”

The Block Party’s origin is attributed to Gapay of Thirsty Girl Productions, though a skate shop and longtime Pike/Pine business Crescent Down Works may have hosted some version of the event before Thirsty Girl’s first party in 1997.

Meanwhile, current Block Party producer Jason Lajeunesse says he only has one regret about his reign as king of the CHBP. Lajeunesse, who has been involved in the event since 2006, says the times Block Party has gotten wet are what keeps him up at night. “I would go back and make it not rain,” he tells CHS. Continue reading

Rancho Bravo Block Party: Pike/Pine gears up for Capitol Hill music fest

13422205_1078791615489255_8095959058564414073_oCapitol Hill Block Party marks 20 years as a music festival starting next week on Friday, July 22nd but the neighborhood’s love for music is already leaking out and some wacky things are happening… like Rancho Bravo as a performance venue.

The 2016 edition of CHBP will include an expanded footprint and some free fun outside the fences. This year’s Block Party is set to feature free nightly shows at Unicorn, daytime performances and Sunday morning yoga at Chophouse Row, and a poster show at the V2 space as part of Thursday’s Capitol Hill Art Walk: Continue reading

On the List | HONK! Fest West brass band festival comes to Capitol Hill

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

Brass musicians march at a past HONK! Fest 4th of July show (Images: Mike Antares)

HONK! Fest West is extending its reach to Capitol Hill.

The free outdoor music festival started in Seattle in 2008, and this year it runs from June 16 to 19 with a visit to Capitol Hill in the middle. Capitol Hill will have its day Friday with professional brass bands playing free live concerts at four locations on the Hill. Festival organizer Mike Antares estimates that about 26 bands will play on the Hill.

“HONK! Fest is about the accessibility of music, which is why they’re in parks, streets, and public spaces,” Antares said.

This is the first year that the festival has included Capitol Hill. Festival organizers were brainstorming earlier in the year about how to reach out to other communities in the Seattle area. “Capitol Hill was at the top of the list,” said Antares. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party expands footprint inside Pike/Pine venues

IMG_9940113412096_10153445323016106_7333791700513337204_oFaced with limited street space and growing popularity, producers of the Capitol Hill Block Party are slightly expanding their footprint in 2016 with a new slate of programming inside neighborhood venues.

As part of Tuesday’s full band lineup announcement for the July 22-24 event, CHBP also revealed how it may continue to grow one of the few ticketed music festivals that takes place on a city’s public streets. This year’s event will include free nightly shows at Unicorn, daytime performances and Sunday morning yoga at Chophouse Row and a poster show in conjunction with the Capitol Hill Art Walk.

“Capitol Hill is the artistic and cultural epicenter of Seattle,” said owner Jason Lajeunesse in a statement. “This year, we want to activate the entire neighborhood and community to celebrate arts and culture with us.”

As usual, the 20th anniversary of the three-day event will bring a mix of big indie acts that won’t completely overwhelm the handful of dense Pike/Pine blocks. Tuesday’s full lineup announcement included the addition of rapper Mick Jenkins and the band Washed Out, who recorded the summery theme song to the TV show Portlandia.

Three-day passes are currently on sale for $174.72 (including taxes and fees) and single-day passes are $63.21. You can buy yours and learn more at See the full lineup below. Continue reading

Chamber Music In The Park

The Seattle Chamber Music Society is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The SCMS Summer Festival runs the entire month of July in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall and features a FREE concert at Volunteer Park in the Bandshell on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 at 7pm and will last approximately one hour. Free family events will begin at 5:30pm. Also on site will be two food trucks for the convenience of concert attendees.

The performances tonight will include:
Felix Mendelssohn’s String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 being performed by Erin Keefe, James Ehnes, Benjamin Beilman, Andrew Wan, Beth Guterman Chu, Rebecca Albers, Julie Albers, and Raphael Bell

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet, Op. 11 being performed by Benjamin Beilman, James Ehnes, Andrew Wan, Erin Keefe, Rebecca Albers, Beth Guterman Chu, Raphael Bell, and Julie Albers.

The event is growing in popularity each year, so arrive early and claim a section of lawn!


All performances and artists are subject to change. Chamber Music In The Park may be cancelled due to inclement weather. See for the most up to date information.  

Seattle Public Library collection will feature city’s great, new music

Constant Lovers at Pettirosso on February 15th 2016

CiB4zppVIAAZ5nmThe Seattle Public Library is creating a special curated collection to make one of the city’s great art forms available to all:

The Seattle Public Library’s PlayBack is an online collection that showcases and shares current local music for free. Seattle’s musical culture is known for its originality, passion and creativity, as our local artists continue to demonstrate. PlayBack helps new audiences discover a wealth of today’s local music. PlayBack’s jury of music community leaders and Library staff selects a diverse array of musical styles to create a soundtrack for Seattle. We make 100 albums available for free download and streaming each year. Anyone can stream the albums for free, and The Seattle Public Library cardholders can download and keep anything in the PlayBack collection.

SPL’s PlayBack jury will select the albums added to the collection through open calls for submission twice per year. “Local musicians and bands are encouraged to submit sample tracks for consideration,” the announcement of the program reads.

SPL PlayBack’s Jury

  • Tim Lennon – Executive Director, Vera Project; City of Seattle Music Commissioner
  • Larry Mizell, Jr., – KEXP DJ and host of Street Sounds; Office of Arts and Culture Digital Media Specialist; Columnist for The Stranger
  • Liz Riley Tollefson – Founder and Contributor, Three Imaginary Girls
  • Kreg Hasegawa – Adult Librarian, The Seattle Public Library, Music Enthusiast and Project Lead
  • Meira Jough – Program Coordinator, The Seattle Public Library, Music Enthusiast

SPL says up to 50 albums will be selected to add to the collection in each submission period. Selected artists will sign a license agreement and receive an honorarium of $200 for sharing the music through PlayBack. Artists can choose between a 5-year license term or a lifetime license term.

The first ever submission period for the program ends May 23rd. You can learn more on the artist information page. Meanwhile, there is an informational happy hour Wednesday evening at Capitol Hill’s Cloud Room to learn more.

UPDATE: These songs won’t make the cut:

Capitol Hill

  1. Oasis – Champagne Supernova (Remastered)
  2. Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
  3. Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious
  4. Lady Lamb – Billions of Eyes
  5. Rihanna – Right Now
  6. Brandi Carlile – The Things I Regret
  7. Beyoncé – Standing on the Sun Remix
  8. Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good
  9. Neon Indian – Annie
  10. Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun

Capitol Hill’s Cairo art, retail, and music space to close

Cairo way back in 2009 (Image: CHS)

Cairo way back in 2009 (Image: CHS)

A small space on Mercer at Summit that made a big impression on Capitol Hill culture will be closing, its backers announced Monday.

When Cairo was founded 8 years ago, it was with a vision to create a platform for underground art by emerging artists, musicians, and curators. We wanted to provide a supportive place for individuals to hone and elevate their craft while cultivating a sense of community and warmth in a city that isn’t always known for its open arms. The goal was never to have a “successful” retail store, rather a store that could support the artists and curators utilizing the rest of the space. Retail-wise, it’s always been a struggle. Cairo is tucked away, with minimal foot traffic, and making ends meet financially over the years has been a profoundly difficult challenge.

The message from Cairo owners Aimee Butterworth and Joel Leshefka said they’re still working out logistics of when the storefront will be shuttered.

Born as an art gallery and transitioned to a vintage fashion shop and performance venue, Cairo has been held up as an example of the Seattle nexus of art and commerce. Now, Butterworth and Leshefka say they’ll focus their retail efforts on the Prism shop in Ballard. We’ll have to check in with them about what’s next for Cairo’s annual Vibrations music festival in Volunteer Park. UPDATE: Want to help keep Vibrations happening?

Right now we need to find a non-profit to take over some logistics of vibrations (mainly the insurance policy the park requires).  This is all super fresh for us, and we don’t really have a solid answer.  The park is reserved, but we could use help finding a new partner to work with our dedicated booking and event planning crew!

The funky E Mercer space has a long history of creative uses — some of them were compiled here by CHS readers in 2008. Around the corner, Indian Summer still does the vintage thing on Summit while, across the street, at Bellevue and Mercer, the old Harry’s Fine Foods in the midst of a massive transformation.

Seattle Classic Guitar Society presents Jason Vieaux

The Seattle Classic Guitar Society is proud to present Grammy award winner Jason Vieaux in the International Series at Benaroya Hall. Winner of numerous prestigious international competitions, the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram proclaimed “Vieaux’s performance spun magic” and NPR described guitarist Jason Vieaux as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Music by Bach, Albéniz, Jobim, Methany, and Ellington.

Jason Vieaux plays Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”

Capitol Hill’s royal funeral for Prince: dancing, sermons, street art


A photo posted by Joshua Henry (@joshuahenry) on

(Image: Twitter)

(Image: @NicoletteAN via Twitter)

Video provided by Kevin Zelko

Pop music legend Prince was remembered across Capitol Hill this weekend in karaoke bars and on the streets where a dance party briefly broke out on E Pike before sending patrons back inside the taverns and restaurants for Purple One-inspired playlists.

“We have so many choices of what we do in our lives,” Witness owner Gregg Holcomb said Saturday night, as he made Prince the subject of his weekly sermon inside the Broadway bar. “Let’s try and bring a little bit of love, and a little bit of sex, and a little bit of peace. And try to honor his memory as long as we can.”

On E Pike, Neumos, the Comet Tavern, and Big Mario’s hyped the Pike/Pine crowd into a disco that briefly closed off the street for a mini Capitol Hill Block Party with Prince’s music and purple lights up and down the street. East Precinct brass, clearly wanting to keep a tight lid on things one night after a shooting incident on the backside of Pike/Pine came in a string of gun violence across Seattle, told the Neumos management they needed to bring the tribute party to a close and gave the revelers 20 more minutes to enjoy the party. By 11:15 PM, the music was moved inside out of any purple rain and the friendly crowd — which reportedly included Mayor Ed Murray — was back on the sidewalks or inside the bars.

Prince’s night of tributes is the second wave of memorial energy to sweep over the Hill in 2016 in a year that has seen what feels like a greater than usual share of notable deaths. In January, David Bowie’s passing was also marked across Capitol Hill. Be ready for more and what could be a nearly perpetual state of pop culture mourning fueled by art and creativity, social media, marketing, and good old fashioned nostalgia at the scale of an increasingly interconnected planet.

More pictures from the remembrances, below.

Continue reading

The small Capitol Hill company behind ‘the top musical act in the U.S.’

The Lumineers play Capitol Hill Block Party in 2012. The band's new album Cleopatra has pushed them back to the top of the charts (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

The Lumineers play Capitol Hill Block Party in 2012. The band’s new album Cleopatra has pushed them back to the top of the charts (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Before The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” became a multi-platinum hit, the band was making the rounds in Denver. They had posted a video on YouTube of themselves performing an acoustic version of the song in an apartment. In 2011, Capitol Hill management company Onto Entertainment liked what it saw — and heard.

Today, Onto’s roster includes The Lumineers, Seattle-based Hey Marseilles and poet and spoken word artist Andrea Gibson. And that’s probably as big as Onto is going to get for the time being – all three acts are touring in support of new work this year.

“I think we’re in a really good, sweet spot right now in terms of clients,” said Christen Greene, general manager and head of talent for Onto. “Our model is low-overhead, hard work and clients that we love.”

The path to becoming “the top musical act in the U.S.” and a Billboard No. 1 ranking for The Lumineers shows how it works. At the time the band was signed, Onto owner David Meinert also headed had previously organized the Capitol Hill Block Party, so convincing the folk-rock group to play the show was an obvious opportunity. Soon after they were in town, John Richards at KEXP was the first to play the group, followed by airplay on 107.7 KNDD, one of the first commercial stations to play the song, Meinert said. UPDATE: We erroneously reported Meinert was still running CHBP in 2012 — producer and Meinert business partner Jason Lajeunesse took over the festival that year.

After that, it wasn’t too long before the band blew up, and the 11th Ave-based Onto had stars on its roster. Continue reading