It’s that time of year again when fluorescent tank tops, massive amounts of pot, drunk dancing, ironic sunglasses, and scorched shoulders adorn the streets of Capitol Hill. (Wait, that happens a lot, but never mind.)
This year the party will start in one of the best ways imaginable: A collaboration between the Washington Middle School drum line and one of the main stage artists.
The 2014 Capitol Hill Party takes place July 25th to July 27th, with three days of music and celebration that draws about 30,000 people to the neighborhood. One hundred bands are taking the stages, music lovers will swarm six city blocks, and partying lasts all night. There are some notable changes to the celebration this year, like a second outdoor stage.
“I’m excited about the expansion of our Vera stage,” said Capitol Hill Block Party Owner, Jason Lajeunesse. “We’ve invested a lot into expanding the talent and production for the second outdoor stage and we hope that’s something fans will be happy about. Now that it’s a proper second stage, we’ve been able to book national level artists there. We wanted to make sure the entire national, and out of town acts traveling in were available for everyone to see.”
Some of those national acts include The Julie Ruin, Dum Dum Girls, Robert Delong, Man or Astro-Man?, and EMA. Some local acts are also getting a chance to play at home. Seattle artists Lemolo, Cataldo and Iska Dhaaf will rock out for the home crowd.
The Capitol Hill Block Party lineup is sometimes greeted with criticism because of the lack of “big names” or “stars” that are brought in. Lajeunesse says the choices they make are deliberate.
“Our model for booking talent is to bring in headliners that are relative to the size of the festival, but 95 percent of our programming revolves around up-and-coming acts in all genres,” he said. “We always listen to fans to take into account genres or artists they are interested in hearing. We try our best to incorporate their feedback as much as we can.”
This is the 18th Block Party and things have really changed over the last two decades.
“We started small,” Lajeunesse told me. “The first official CHBP in 1997 had one stage on 10th between Pike and Union. The event featured a handful of DJs and bands while attendees filled the streets with thrift store furniture. In 2010, we expanded CHBP to three days to accommodate scheduling conflicts of some of the top headliners. Today the CHBP has grown to span across six city blocks and attracts over 9,000 people per day.”
Local restaurants will be serving delicious food in the food cart area and there will be three beer gardens to help quench everyone’s thirst. (Of course, you can also stop by any of the bars close by the celebration.)
And don’t worry, you can still buy tickets to the Capitol Hill Block party on their website. A three-day pass is $125 and a three-day VIP pass is $250. VIP access includes all three days of the festival, exclusive access to the VIP Beer Garden (ticket holder must be 21+), hosted snacks and beverages, express entry, and a swag bag with 2014 merch.
When you buy your tickets, you have the option of donating to Creative Advantage, a local organization trying to restore arts education to all Seattle classrooms. The Capitol Hill Block Party has raised more than $25,000 for Seattle non-profits.
“I’m proud of everything CHBP brings to the Seattle community, specifically the Capitol Hill neighborhood,” said Lajeunesse. “It’s one of the most affordable music festivals in the country and we want to keep it that way because being an accessible festival for as many people as possible is really important.”
Lajeunesse also says the partying makes local businesses a lot of money.
“On average, we employ more than 200 people for the festival and many local businesses experience peak traffic during the three-day weekend, he said. “Support for local area companies is so high that many double their work schedule to accommodate the increase in traffic.”
Capitol Hill Block Party