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CHS Pics | Outside the fences of Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

CHS wandered the edges of Capitol Hill Block Party this weekend and found so many events, DJs, funky drummers, and halfpipes that you couldn’t help but wonder what the festival would be like without the fences and $85 a day tickets.

CHS reported here on the Block Party producers’ efforts to create new events outside of the ticketed footprint including the second year of Battle of the Block skateboarding competition in Cal Anderson and DJs in the Chophouse Row courtyard. Those efforts were joined by more organic outgrowths of the swell of humanity attracted to the three-day festival like sidewalk drummers and an ultimate frisbee battle pitting Portland vs. Seattle.

CHS, on its tour, found a neighborhood in full motion with cliches like vomiting bros and screaming woo girls evident — but also a lot of people having good times.

Neighborhood businesses outside the festival’s gates who have said that the Block Party kills off their weekend business, meanwhile, suffered additional indignity Saturday night when a four-hour power outage hit commercial customers in the area around Broadway and Pike. Seattle City Light was able to restore power by 8:30 PM to the stores and restaurants left in darkness including 10th Ave’s Elliott Bay Book Co. City Light says a mylar balloon that hit power lines — not heated anticipation for Saturday headline Lizzo — was the cause.

Attracting around 30,000 paid attendees yearly, CHBP 2019 took place against a backdrop of renewed scrutiny by the City of Seattle of the festival’s impact on the neighborhood and an effort to better document the issues, problems, and opportunities surrounding the annual for-profit event. A city-hired consultant is slated to begin a process late next month that will include focus groups, an online survey, as well as interviews with residents, businesses and local business and neighborhood agencies.

CHBP producers from the Neumos family of businesses, meanwhile, are also up against an ongoing tide of increasing costs. Kate Harris, CHBP’s executive producer, told CHS artist fees have tripled since 2012 and production costs have increased exponentially.

How will the next Capitol Hill Block Party shape up? That part of CHBP 2019 will begin in August. For now, enjoy a few scenes from around Pike/Pine and outside the Block Party’s gates.

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