This year, Capitol Hill Block Party won’t be competing with the Timber Outdoor Music Festival in Carnation, as the 2015 edition of yet another Pacific Northwest music festival took place last weekend. Still, CHBP owner and producer Jason Lajeunesse said the flood of music industry cash into festivals — one of the few highly profitable corners left in the business — is increasingly having an effect on CHBP. “It’s been challenging to book the types of acts that we want to attract,” he said. “Overall, expenses have doubled over the past five years.”
In response, CHBP is looking a little more Capitol Hill in 2015. It started in March, when organizers rolled out new branding for the festival’s 19th installment, featuring a map-inspired logo representing CHBP’s Pike/Pine venue.
Some familiar neighborhood groups are also playing a bigger role in this year’s festival. In an effort to bring back visual art elements to the weekend, CHBP is teaming up with Capitol Hill Art Walk and Capitol Hill Arts District. CHBP commissioned a large mural that was unveiled during this month’s Art Walk and supported a poster show at Grim’s, which featured 40 different prints inspired by CHBP bands. The festival is also earmarking $10,000 to support the neighborhood Art Walk.
“We found it challenging (in past years) to do scalable art that would work in the festival setting,” said Lajeunesse. “It’s important that we don’t lose it.” Organizers are meeting the challenge this year with a 25-foot inflatable installation dubbed “The Lone Ranger.” UPDATE: Due to installation issues, CHBP is postponing the giant inflatable cowboy. Better luck next year, partner.
Of course, Block Party will also have some spiffy new Capitol Hill crosswalks coloring the festival streets.
In the meantime, Lajeunesse told CHS on Wednesday that everything was on pace for the weekend festivities. Without any major logistical changes over the past few years, organizers and regular festival-goers should more-or-less know what to expect. Continue reading