City wants your feedback on Capitol Hill Block Party and other ‘special events’ in the neighborhood — UPDATE

The city’s Department of Neighborhoods has started the process to gather feedback on festivals, marches, and free speech events on Capitol Hill — including the Capitol Hill Block Party, the three-day, for-profit music event that transforms Pike/Pine into a party and concert venue every July.

Along with a survey running through December 2nd to weigh general feelings from the community about the Hill’s wide variety of special events, the city will be “gathering feedback from local businesses and residents through surveys, interviews and focus groups.”

“The goal is to use data gathered through this process to provide recommendations to the City’s Special Events Committee, the body responsible for permitting these events,” an announcement of the start of the survey process reads. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party expands free events held beyond festival gates

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Two blocks of E Pike are home to music, food, and troves of festival goers as Capitol Hill Block Party takes to the streets this weekend. Although increasing artist fees and production costs have raised ticket prices in recent years, CHBP plans to celebrate Capitol Hill beyond festival gates by offering a variety of free events.

“We’re excited about this year’s expansion of free events that will allow people who aren’t attending CHBP to still participate and enjoy the community celebration, while still getting a taste of CHBP,” said Kate Harris, CHBP’s executive producer.

While producers says Block Party attendance has not increased in the past eight years, the festival has continued to cement itself in Seattle’s music and arts scene, attracting big-name headliners across music genres. According to Harris, artist fees have tripled since 2012 and production costs have increased exponentially, resulting in a notable rise in festival ticket prices.

With crowds exceeding 20,000 people, surging ticket prices, and performances from mainstream talent, Block Party has strayed from its roots as a small, neighborhood celebration. According to Harris, this evolution has not gone unnoticed by the festival’s organizers, as CHBP has offered free events co-organized by a variety of local nonprofits, hosted at Cal Anderson Park and nearby businesses in recent years. This year, CHBP will expand upon its free events. Continue reading

After this weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party, changes may be afoot for big events on the Hill

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

2019 will be a pivotal year for the Capitol Hill Block Party, which kicks off today. And not because the great flautist-twerker-chanteuse Lizzo is gracing its main stage Saturday. This August, the city will start looking into what effect the Block Party, grown from a street festival into a ticketed, three-day musical extravaganza now in its 23rd year, has on the neighborhood — and how it can move forward on the Hill in the coming years.

The city has hired local consulting firm Fife Consulting to lead an outreach process with people and businesses in the neighborhood. The company is also completing a study of large outdoors events across the city.

The process, separate from the regular post-CHBP “debrief” with city officials or public comment during Special Events committee meetings, will start in late August and will include focus groups, an online survey as well as interviews with residents, businesses and local business and neighborhood agencies, said Seattle Special Events Committee chair Chris Swenson.

By December, Swenson said, the process should be wrapped up. At which point the Special Event Committee will decide on whether the event can go forward as is, or in a modified form. These modifications could be light (as in: keeping the event but changing days, hours or footprint) or more significant, such as the consideration of other neighborhoods, formats and weekends, Swenson said.

“We want to make sure that this is still the right place, time and manner for this event to happen,” he said. “This is a Capitol Hill-centric event, and Capitol Hill is evolving, and we want to make sure this dedicated art center is the best place for the Capitol Hill Block Party.”  Continue reading

On the List | Capitol Hill Block Party 2019, inaugural Salish Sea Anti-Space Symposium, Mueller Report Live

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Get ready, because what’s probably the most star-studded block party in this neck of the woods– yes, the Capitol Hill Block Party — descends on Pike/Pine this weekend. The three-day musical festival boasts Lizzo and The Black Tones among its musical guests. Below, we help you find your way through the line-up maze. CHS reported on the 2019 lineup and the one of a kind festival’s treasured and challenged place in the neighborhood’s culture and arts scene.

Other, in some cases more cerebral events on this week’s to-do list: non-stop Mueller report readings, an animation movie about redlining, substation celebrations and last but not least: the first-ever Salish Sea Anti- Space Symposium (SSASS), plus another block party. Find more on the CHS Calendar.

THURSDAY, July 18: If you missed last week’s discussion on redlining in Seattle at NAAM, the local showing of the expertly animated short documentary Segregated By Design and following discussion (hosted by the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative) is another option to get a primer on the topic. The movie, based on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein, explains the intentional segregation of cities across the country in the 20th century. 12th Avenue Arts, 6 – 7.30 PM (free)  Continue reading

With boost from Block Party after chamber implosion, Capitol Hill Art Walk walks on

June’s Capitol Hill Art Walk was “Queer” — the scene at Vermillion

The implosion of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce won’t mean the end of one of its most visible neighborhood promotions. Organizers of the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk say they are ready to walk on with the event that melds local businesses and the neighborhood’s art scene with help from the Capitol Hill Block Party.

“It’s always a good time. Attendees will see people they know or meet new people. There’s no Seattle freeze on the art walk, as people are friendly and social at these things,” said Jeanine Anderson, who co-produces the art walk with Ghost Gallery owner Laurie Kearney.

Now the event’s official fiscal sponsor, the Block Party first became involved with the art walk in 2015, providing monthly support for the event. The combination of financial donations and management made the art walk’s quick transition between fiscal sponsors possible, preserving its ability to promote showcased art. Meanwhile, Block Party’s donations help pay organizers for their time, compensate artists who designed the walk’s posters, and provide funding for advertising and paper maps highlighting businesses showcasing art. Continue reading

Under pressure from the city, costs, and neighbors, Capitol Hill Block Party announces 2019 lineup

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Seattle’s alt-weeklies are dead but Capitol Hill Block Party will live on in 2019. With an earlier than ever and quieter announcement than in past years, producers of the annual three-day music festival in the streets of Capitol Hill announced the 2019 full lineup Tuesday morning for the 23rd edition of the signature Pike/Pine event that is facing yet another new wave of criticism from the business community outside the festival’s fences.

“Providing a platform where local artists can continue to grow and organizations benefit from the additional exposure is an important way to unify the local community and preserve our fiercely independent and artistic nature,” producer and Neumos co-owner Jason Lajeunesse said in the announcement of the 2019 lineup.

Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

The July 19th through July 21st festival will be headlined this year by “bass beacon” RL Grime, electro-pop duo Phantogram, and singer-rapper-flautist Lizzo. Single day, two day, three day and VIP passes go on sale Tuesday morning. Ticket prices were not included in the lineup announcement. Continue reading

After Capitol Hill Block Party 2019, city to ‘assess the viability of this event in this neighborhood’

(Image: Capitol Hill Block Party)

Seattle City Hall is asking the Capitol Hill Block Party to clean up its act on its edges and will be conducting its own round of outreach to neighboring businesses and Pike/Pine residents “in order to better gather feedback on benefits and impacts” from the annual summer music festival “and other major Capitol Hill events,” city officials tell CHS.

Don’t expect there to be any financial mitigation. And there is zero chance the city will cancel permits for the 2019 event. But 2020 — and beyond — is another question.

“It is clear the Capitol Hill Block Party is economically beneficial to some Capitol Hill businesses, and culturally beneficial to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and Seattle,” Chris Swenson, who leads the city’s Special Events planning process, said in a statement sent to CHS. “It is also clear through feedback from Capitol Hill businesses and residents that the Capitol Hill Block Party is negatively economically impactful to other businesses and residents, and presents significant access and operations impacts to neighborhood businesses and residents.”

“The City and Committee take these impacts very seriously,” Swenson added.

For the 2019 Block Party, the city is requiring Block Party producers to make “several physical immediate improvements” including “streamlining access for employees and residents in and around the event perimeter” and “adjusting placement of portapotties and other operational elements to be less impactful to businesses and residents.” It will also require security staffing to be trained “to better support business and residential access.”

But in a message to neighborhood stakeholders sent Thursday, the city says for 2020 and beyond, it plans to consider larger changes to the festival including an effort to “assess the viability of this event in this neighborhood.” Continue reading

Should city help cover community costs of Capitol Hill Block Party weekend? — UPDATE

A group of “residents, property owners and business owners in Pike/Pine” is asking questions about the annual Capitol Hill Block Party music festival in a survey being sent around the neighborhood.

The goal, an organizer says, isn’t to cancel Block Party — but the group does want to do a better job of documenting the challenges the neighborhood around the festival sometimes faces so that the city can better plan the event and how to mitigate major issues.

“In order to start that work towards adequate mitigation, Seattle Office of Film, Music, and Special Events along with Dept. of Neighborhoods and Office of Economic Development asked if we could circulate a survey in order to get more detailed info on the types of barriers businesses, residents, employees, and property owners face over block party weekend,” local jewelry designer and project architect Rachel Ravitch, organizer of the survey, tells CHS.

You can answer the two-question, open-ended questionnaire here through December 15th. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill Block Party 2018

Pike/Pine again swelled with thousands of music fans over the weekend for the annual Capitol Hill Block Party, one of the few music events in the world to turn a few city blocks into a fully-produced, lights + music + sound, big ticket musical festival. The 22nd year for the festival in its modern incarnation, the 2018 event was expected to again draw around 10,000 attendees per day. Gorgeously warm summer weather likely helped the gate. Some logistical issues with ticketing on day one did not. But barring a few cancelations and schedule changes, the rest of the event seemed to go smoothly. And even the loss of one repeat Block Party cancelation offender couldn’t dampen the mood — the loss of one big act opened the way for local talent Sam Lachow to take the main stage at Pike and Broadway with only a few hours notice Friday night. When you hold your event in the middle of one of the densest parts of a growing metropolis, the city’s talents are conveniently close at hand.

More pictures from CHS’s visit to CHBP 2018 are below. Thanks to photographers Nick Turner and Lisa Hagen Glynn for the shots. All other images are courtesy the Block Party. Continue reading