Capitol Hill Block Party booms new tunes

Written by: Amy Phung
Hipsters, indie rockers, hip hoppers and all other fans of music are gearing up for Seattle’s annual two-day outdoor celebration of underground music, art, and local food, The Capitol Hill Block party. As if hijacking two blocks of the Emerald City’s most colorful neighborhood on July 25-26 wasn’t enough to get Seattleites riled up, the 11th annual music festival is desperately begging to delight the eyes, taste buds, and especially ears of eager patrons, its freshly announced 2008 lineup. This year’s lineup boasts some of indie music’s most impressive acts from around the nation, including Vampire Weekend, Les Savy Fav, Chromeo, Girl Talk, The Hold Steady, Devotchka, and a surprise guest that’s promised to be worth being kept in the dark for. The 2008 Block Party also plans to show off the best of its city’s own up-and-coming artists, such as psychedelic hip hop duo, Champagne Champagne, quirky pop rocker, PWRFL POWER, “Juno” movie singer, Kimya Dawson, dance favorites, U.S.E, and many more still to be announced. Kicking off on Friday, the midsummer party takes over two blocks of East Pike Street with its four stages, bustling beer garden, parking lot-turned-makeshift food court, and a perimeter lined with tents harboring a diverse collection of original art, crafts, clothing, and other items from around the Northwest to browse or buy. Businesses on Pike St. plan to partake in the weekend’s activities by becoming a part of the attraction. Neumo’s, a concert venue, will take on its usual role of being the only indoor stage at the festival. The stage schedule details have yet to be confirmed. The Comet Tavern, Cha Cha Lounge, and Moe Bar are just a few of the establishments that are taking advantage of the swarm of liquor-happy concert goers by providing relief from the sun, offering Block Party drink specials and keeping their doors open throughout the two-day festival. In its 11th year, the Capitol Hill Block Party is expected to be its biggest yet. Last year, music lovers showed up to party in record numbers with the attendance reaching roughly 14,000 people, up from 2006’s 12,000 attendees. Aside from the escalating attendance, another indication of the Capitol Hill Block Party’s growing popularity is its recent surge of some big-name sponsors. Seattle newspaper, The Stranger and indie radio station, KEXP 90.3 have been sponsors of the event since its debut. In 2007, the Capitol Hill Block Party reached a new level of notoriety when their biggest (and arguably most un-cool) financial backer, online insurance company, Esurance was added to the festival’s flyers, in co-headliner fashion. This year, radio station, The End, the Miller Brewing Company and audio gear producers, Mackie and EAW lead the festival’s sponsorship. Past sponsors include online insurance company, Esurance, Puma, Verizon Wireless, and Scion. With sponsorship, the Capitol Hill Block Party is able to give back to its host community. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit two Seattle-based non-profit organizations. The Vera Project, an all ages concert venue and recording studio, and Home Alive, an anti-violence awareness organization, will receive a donation from the organizers of the Block Party. For those who can’t make it to the event, KEXP on 90.3 FM will be broadcasting their evening show live from the Block Party on Friday and Saturday night. They will also broadcast a select few live performances throughout the two days. Tickets are on sale now for $18 for each day in advance, two-day passes for $34, and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at www.ticketswest.com, all Seattle Rudy’s Barber Shops, Select QFCs, Moe Bar/Neumo’s. Visit www.thestranger.com/blockparty for details and Block Party news.

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