CHS Pics | A sunny dB in the Park


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_2267Summer has been over for a week but you wouldn’t know it by the sunny afternoons we’ve been enjoying so far this fall. And you wouldn’t have known it Sunday as the 12th annual Decibel Festival wound down by turning the beats up at the free dB in the Park party at Volunteer Park.

While the thumping bass inspired many to dance and all to do the bum-bum-bum head nod, some in the CHS comments aren’t fans of the outdoor DJ performances. We expect further inspiration for those some come October 15th as the Volunteer Park Trust holds a community meeting to discuss the project to replace the park’s aging stage. If you’d like to speak up in favor the bass, mark your calendar.

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures, below. And the sunshine, above. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Summit Block Party 2015



Here’s a look at Saturday’s 2015 Summit Block Party — it’s a view of Capitol Hill culture, art, and music armies of developers desperately want to embrace and extend. The fourth annual day of music and art matured, reportedly, in 2015 under new leader Adam Way. “On the whole, there is a (push) for quality,” Way told CHS, with a wink. “I don’t want people to feel like the free admission wasn’t worth it.” Of course, this year there were still irate neighbors, some occasional bursts of loud and obnoxious rock, and various shenanigans that are likely to accompany a grassroots music festival in the middle of some of the densest blocks in the densest neighborhood in the PNW. Like the lined-up-for-upgrades Summit Inn apartment that partly inspired it, Summit Ave is also going to see more change. In the meantime, its street festival manages to grow along with the rents.

More pictures, below.

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Summit Block Party matures along with the building that helped inspire it

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

IMG_22122015 could be the start of a new era for the Summit Block Party. In his second year as lead organizer, Adam Way is taking a more professional approach to the fourth annual day of free music, food, and beer happening this Saturday.

Special events permits have been acquired, t-shirts and other merchandise produced, and liability insurance purchased. Way even got the city to close street parking on the Summit Ave block between Howell and Olive for the party and secured a $1,000 Department of Neighborhoods grant to help offset costs.

“On the whole, there is a (push) for quality,” Way said. “I don’t want people to feel like the free admission wasn’t worth it.”

“I don’t want people to feel like the free admission wasn’t worth it.”

At the same time, the building on the block that had been the street party’s creative source is undergoing a similar transformation. The DIY madhouse days of the Summit Inn came to an abrupt end last year after it was bought out by developer Brad Padden who plans to renovate the entire building next year.

The Summit Inn and its resident community were key in getting the block party off the ground, but when Padden increased rents by $100 with promises of further increases, many tenants moved out. The original Summit Block Party organizers also decided to step away from the event this year. That doesn’t appear to be dampening the party. Way has made peace with the City and the new Summit Inn owners, who have agreed to provide electricity for the day-long event. “We’re just trying to do our part,” Padden said. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Sunny Vibrations in Volunteer Park


(Images: Justin Carder and Stephen Jackson for CHS)

Consider the 50 bucks and fees you slap down for a day at the Capitol Hill Block Party as the price of admission for not only the fenced-off, E Pike festival but also August’s slate of free Capitol Hill music events. And, if you didn’t pay for CHBP, well, consider yourself well ahead — if you made it out for some sun and fun at Vibrations 2015 Sunday.

The annual arts and music event from Capitol Hill’s Cairo once again brought an eclectic mix of bands and styles, along with a few local businesses like Analog Coffee and Six Strawberries ice pops to the eventually-to-be-upgraded Volunteer Park amphitheater stage. The grass wasn’t quite as green this year thanks to Seattle’s hottest summer ever and shade was at a premium — pro tip: next time, try the bower.

Continue reading

What the Float ‘floating dance party’ hits Capitol Hill

(Image: What the Float)

(Image: What the Float)

Capitol Hill Block Party has come and gone but an event planned for the streets of Capitol Hill Friday night will give you another excuse to boogie down on E Pike.

The What the Float “floating dance party” is bringing its NYC-born concept to Pike/Pine.

“It’s all about the music and the landscape,” Wesley Fruge of Forward Flux Productions tells CHS. “A lot of thought went into the route.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party a little more Capitol Hill as festival turns 19

(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)


(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)

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.

IMG_5824Of 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

CHS Pics | As plans form for its replacement, Volunteer Park stage hosts ‘music under the stars’

IMG_5207There will be more music in the park Thursday night after Volunteer Park gets its summer piano. Wednesday night, the Seattle Chamber Music Society hosted another “Music Under the Stars” session at the Volunteer Park amphitheater stage.

With life in a northern town meaning no stars until the sun’s light finally fades late into the night and with an amphitheater lawn already much more brown than we’re used to seeing in Seattle, the Sempre Sisters performed Handel — “plus fiddle favorites” — as a prelude to the picnic-friendly KING FM broadcast from Benaroya Hall. The 2015 series in Volunteer Park wraps up next week with July 22nd’s night of music.

IMG_5219Meanwhile, the effort to recreate Volunteer Park’s amphitheater is moving forward with a $25,000 grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to create a feasibility study to “explore technical requirements and community preferences for a new performance space.”

CHS wrote earlier this year about the Volunteer Park Trust’s effort to recreate the outdoor performance space. According to the city, a performance pavilion was designed into the park by the Olmsted Brothers back in 1912 — but that pavilion stood where the Seattle Asian Art Museum stands today. The current stage dates to the 1970s and is showing its age.Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.47.22 PM

“Public input will be a major component of the year-long study, with two community-wide meetings planned as well as targeted focus groups for neighbors, arts organizations, and major park users,” an announcement from the trust on the project reads. “Once the agreed-upon design is completed, the Trust will work with Seattle Parks in seeking a combination of public and private funds to finance construction, with the goal of having a new performance space completed by 2018.”

You can learn more at

Pianos in the Parks returns with keyboards in Cal Anderson, Volunteer Park

Piano in the Park

(Image: @gageacademy)

(Image: @gageacademy)

Two hand-painted pianos will begin a summer stay in Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park Thursday night in a promotion to celebrate the region’s great public spaces with the sometimes surreal placement of the bulky musical instruments in the middle of Seattle city parks. Pianos in the Park has returned. Tubas in the parks just didn’t have the same ring to it:

The Pianos in the Parks program, made possible by Laird Norton Wealth Management, encourages the discovery of parks through music and art by placing one-of-a-kind, artist-designed upright and grand pianos in parks and open spaces across Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Seattle and other parts of King County. All pianos are made available for free public use and music exploration through Aug. 16.

Following a Thursday kick-off event at Lake Union Park, the pianos will be moved to their new homes:

  • Bellevue – Ashwood Plaza (Bellevue Regional Library), Bellevue Botanical Gardens and Downtown Park
  • Kirkland – Marina Park
  • Mercer Island – Luther Burbank Park and Mercerdale Park
  • Redmond – Marymoor Park 
  • Seattle – Ballard Commons (Ballard), Jefferson Park (Beacon Hill), Cal Anderson Park and Volunteer Park(Capitol Hill), Green Lake Park (Green Lake), Magnuson Park (Sand Point), Rainier Beach Plaza (Rainier Valley), Seacrest Park/Alki (West Seattle) and Steve Cox Memorial Park (White Center), as well as downtown Seattle neighborhood parks and open spaces including Occidental Square (Pioneer Square), Denny Park and Lake Union Park (South Lake Union) and Seattle Center (Uptown).
  • Woodinville – Sammamish River Trail

The Capitol Hill pianos are expected to be in place by Thursday night. Continue reading

The Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really dead and it’s still not but it does need a new Hill home

(Image: ETG)

(Image: ETG)

Though CHS reported its closure at 14th and Madison in October of 2013, the Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really gone. But it wasn’t really there, either. We’ll let founder and flipper of the ETG switch Bruce Mason explain.

“We were working on something different,” Mason tells CHS.

295943_291193720906938_687513709_nSome of that different emerged at one point when we noticed a new liquor license application for the eclectic dance club that made its home above the Artificial Limb Co. But, in the end, Mason says, reopening a dance club wasn’t really the direction of things, either, despite a few underground shows in the club here and there over the years since its “closure.”

In January, the venue got slapped with a land use violation and Mason with the building’s ownership started the process of looking into officially changing the use of the building and putting it in compliance for operating a club. But Mason said what followed was a growing realization that ETG wasn’t going to be able to stay in its longtime home.

“Despite some excitement from the new owner, the fire department came through and decided we needed a fire suppression system and that was really it,” Mason said.

Now Mason and his wife Suzanne are moving out of the old space — contact them for some deals on furniture, etc. — and beginning the search for something new, hopefully on Capitol Hill. “We’re trying to get away from the nightclub and get back to our gallery and internet radio roots,” Mason said. If you know of a space, drop ETG a line.

After 18 years on the Hill, Electric Tea Garden is in search of a new home. Our hope is to stay on our beloved Capitol Hill. But other up-and-coming areas of this great city are on our short list — SoDo, Pioneer Square, International District?!

To get all the lastest on ETG Events, plans, and launch date, make sure you update your email on our list at Contact Us.

In the meantime, come to the corner of East Pike Street and 14th Avenue from today until Tuesday, June 30th, to rummage through our well-loved furniture and curiosities. While our doors will not be open, feel free to drop off love letters and farewells in our mail box at the front entry at 1402 E. Pike Street.