12th & Pike Capitol Hill
July 20–22 All Ages
Capitol Hill Block Party is a large-scale weekend music festival that originally started as a charming neighborhood get-together and has since morphed into a massive spectacle of Top-40 headliners and Seattle heavy hitters converging during the dog days of summer in the Pike/Pine corridor. Find details on every artist and listen to music clips on our Capitol Hill Block Party calendar, or see our list of the top 40 Block Party artists worth checking out, a map, and at-a-glance grids for Friday's schedule, Saturday's schedule, and Sunday's schedule.
Capitol Hill Block Party is now officially old enough to drink.
In 1997, the idea that the Pike/Pine corridor might attract enough people to justify a little handmade outdoor rock show was in no way a sure thing. For the first couple of years, nearly everyone in the crowd and on the wee stage were at least nodding acquaintances with one another, and many were on a first-name basis.
Flash-forward a couple of decades, and the Block Party crowd is a perfect reflection of Seattle: a mélange of old and new faces sizing each other up while the bodies they’re attached to jockey for a decent place to stand. Some are skeptical, some oblivious, some resentful of the obliviousness, some skeptical of the resentment. But for one long weekend every year, everyone has to stand in the same line for the biergarten. (Unless they have a VIP wristband, of course, in which case they have to stand in a different line.)
To anyone who has lived or worked on Capitol Hill for more than a handful of years, the growth of CHBP has been astonishing to witness—maybe even more so than the growth of the city itself. The whole premise of the event was organized around the idea of an “us,” and usses have become an unruly commodity since the world exploded.
As the organizers have experimented with different models of bigness—this year’s lineup seems to indicate a slightly scaled down version—the core of the challenge has been to appeal to enough people to justify the scale the festival has taken on, while acknowledging the audience’s multiplicity of tastes and distastes. It’s no small thing that the Block Party has found a way to keep drawing a crowd without going full common denominator like Bumbershoot or going under like Sasquatch!. This calls for a delicate balance of fame and obscurity, guitars and laptops, hot dogs and vegan hot dogs.
You can’t offer a little something for everyone without guaranteeing that same everyone will find a little something else to sneer at. But that’s also how you know the Block Party remains fundamentally local. No matter how much Seattle changes, the GDP of Capitol Hill has always been compliant about the way other people amuse themselves.
Seattle, WA 98122