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Monday, July 28, 2008

Letter to the Editor

posted by on July 28 at 9:30 AM

I hate to say it, but I think I’ve attended my last Cap Hill Block Party. What was once a celebration of local music with the occasional touring headliner thrown in has become Bumbershoot light. This year there were so many people in such a confined space that I was tempted to call the fire department half way through Friday. If there had been any kind of panic around the main stage, a lot of kids would have died. There was no way out, no way to get around, completely atrocious planning.

And… the sound sucked. Really, really bad.

I’ve have a lot of great memories from the Block Party over the years, and though its lost me as an attendee I implore the powers that be to fix the following three things for the kids who will keep going no matter what you do:

1. Downsize draw power — Les Savy Fav and The Hold Steady are plenty big to fill this place (Hold Steady verges on too big.)

2. Fix the sound. It was unbelievably bad around the main stage.

3. Crowd flow. Before something terrible happens. Please.

Hope ya’ll get it together.

Your pal,
Keith Kyle

RSS icon Comments

1

Second point is a good one; the main stage sounded like shit on Friday.

And the third point is something I think everyone agrees on. Whenever someone was playing on the main stage, you could not move around the crowd. It was fucking ridiculous. Maybe the draw power doesn't need to be downsized if someone figures out a good way to fit everyone in.

Posted by Nick | July 28, 2008 9:44 AM
2

the vera stage sound was great, and they had their own exit. vera fucking killed this year.

Posted by go vera | July 28, 2008 9:45 AM
3

either hit the weight room or stay at home if you're scared.

block party was the best weekend of the summer so far and don't forget - 0 violence.

guys like you make seattle look lame. you were probably the one guy that voted for the peanut free section at safeco field and ruined mariners baseball.

please. refrain from ever making a comment again.

Posted by Calderonski | July 28, 2008 9:54 AM
4

calderonski,
a. you are an idiot, were you even near the front of the main stage?

"either hit the weight room or stay at home if you're scared" sorry, but being jacked won't protect you if there is mass pandomonium and you're pressed up against a falling fence, clown.

and the sound did suck, seriously.

what was also ridiculous was waiting in line friday when we had already purchased tix, though if we hadn't, we could have walked right in.

was this planned by a bunch of 19yo frat boys?

Posted by mike | July 28, 2008 10:14 AM
5

Calderonski, are you kidding? This wasn't Rain Fest, this isn't This Is For You, this isn't This Is Hardcore -- DeVotchka and Vampire Weekend headlined. You want to tell me only tough guys who can force their way through a mass of people should be attending?

Posted by Nick | July 28, 2008 10:18 AM
6

I agree with Nick on this. The mixing on the main stage was horrible and even too quiet at some points. Bands only sounded good when they brought in their own sound guy. I don't mind the big headliners, but there was WAY too many people and no way to get through them. The main stage seemed further forward than in the past and you could not get around the corner of the Comet or Quinn half the time.

Posted by Scottie Yahtzee | July 28, 2008 10:19 AM
7

I can't tell if this is posted to make fun of the writer or not. Either way, his point about bad traffic flow and crowding near the mainstage is valid. I don't think the solution is downsizing the lineup (it was great!), but maybe reconsidering the layout.

Posted by josh | July 28, 2008 10:21 AM
8

Calderonski @3:

you were probably the one guy that voted for the peanut free section at safeco field and ruined mariners baseball.

Yeah, ok.  Two nosebleed sections for two specific games has ruined Mariners baseball.

Posted by lostboy | July 28, 2008 10:30 AM
9

@3, sorry you haven't been having the fantastic summer the rest of us have and an overcrowded mediocre music festival with sound problems is the highlight of your summer so far. Sucks to be you.

Posted by rockandrolla | July 28, 2008 10:31 AM
10

I agree with all points. I, too, love to see the CHBP thrive, and I love seeing bands in the street. But especially on Friday night, I found myself consistently asking, "Who did the sound/crowd control for this thing?" when I should've been trying to enjoy the bands.

Posted by hohoho green giant | July 28, 2008 10:34 AM
11

I didn't go this year because all 3 of these points were valid last year too.

And bands like Vampire Weekend? I can maybe understand Girl Talk for sentimental reasons, but this is the "Capitol Hill Block Party," not the "Issaquah Homeowners Get To See Their Favorite National Acts They Heard On Clear Channel Radio Party." It would be awesome if the festival actually highlighted the best bands of capitol hill & the surrounding area.

On the other hand, I'm sure the organizers raked in money, so whatevs. It's not like there isn't enough local music on capitol hill every other weekend.

Posted by girlgerms | July 28, 2008 10:34 AM
12

Don't compromise an awesome line up. Just sell less tickets to reduce over crowding. Don't drastically reduce them, just enough to make it a little more comfortable. Either that or expand the area a bit.

Posted by T$ | July 28, 2008 10:37 AM
13

i can't say i'm surprised by the complaints chbp got this year. i swore never to go again after last year when i went to go see girl talk. they oversold the fuck out of it. i payed, got in, went outside for a smoke and never got to go back inside. i left after i was convinced there'd be a stampede to get through the door.

then i saw a kid get mauled by a security guard on the way out like hell's angels at altamont. yeah, fuck the block party.

Posted by outdoorminer | July 28, 2008 10:53 AM
14

last year was my last CHBP.

it is unfortunate that the crowd control has not improved. there were a few times last year when i felt like i was going to be crushed around the main stage. there was just no where to go - no way to walk through the crowd and no way to stop the flow of people shoving their way through the crowd.

it really is a serious liability - unfortunately as with most situations like this nothing will be done until something tragic happens. thankfully nothing happened this year!

to the CHBP organizers - more people attending always is a good thing - great shows and money in your pocket - why not show all of the people shelling out cash for the shows that you care about their safety and well being and rectify the crowd control problem - a serious problem - BEFORE anything tragic happens. pretend you thought of the idea yourself. make people happy. be heroes.

Posted by xina | July 28, 2008 10:53 AM
15

Hey all - this is a good conversation to have a great place to have it.

A few things:

-- the main place the crowd was an issue seemed to be in front of the mainstage, and particularly the corner by Quinn's. Part of the problem was a result of this being the first year Quinn's was opened during the Block Party and a mash up between people trying to get in and out of Quinn's main door which is right on the corner, and people trying to flow through that corner. Duly noted and will be fixed next year.

-- On the other corner right in front of the mainstage, we moved the sound board and put in a bike railings with security so we could move people around the corner. It helped a lot I think. But the sound board still needs to be moved back further I think to create more space up 10th.

-- Probably just too many people - this is a budgeting battle between trying to keep ticket prices relatively low, and booking a lineup people are excited about. Next year might be less big name acts, or a slightly higher ticket with less of them available. Or a mix. We didn't let lots of people in who wanted to get in. We spent a lot of time Saturday doing more line management, trying to keep the flow of people better. There were actually the same amount of people through the gate on Saturday as on Friday, but with better flow it seemed to never be as crowded Saturday. I hope.

-- Sound: I thought the sound overall was much better this year - Vera sounded great and the mainstage was killer too. Almost every band had their own soundperson on the mainstage, and I don't want to point anyone in particular out, but bands do need to make sure their soundpeople know how to mix outside, just a suggestion.

-- Tons of people had a great time. The bands had a great time. The Police were awesome at this event too so many props to them. And the people in attendance were also awesome. I've done a lot of events and it's amazing to me how the Block Party has a crowd that has so much fun with so few issues. So thanks for being so cool.

Bottom line is that overall the weekend was a pretty huge success, and we'll work hard on fixing the problems. We're aware of them and are always trying to make the event better. And we will fix them, and then you'll notice others next year, and we'll fix those too. And on and on. It's all a process really.

And your suggestions are welcome. Post them and we'll read them.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 10:54 AM
16

Dave,

Please also look into the wristband policy getting into Neumos for the afterparty. I wanted to get in but the beer garden issuing the wristbands was already closed. There wasn't any word about how Security was to handle attendees who didn't have said wristbands even if they're of legal drinking age.

Posted by Grrr | July 28, 2008 11:03 AM
17

take your greedy overpriced 'block party' to white river or the gorge. Your trash, over-selling and drunken underage kids on coke aren't welcome here.

Posted by no more CHBP | July 28, 2008 11:04 AM
18

How about next yr don't put a band with the most complicated sound set up as your firt band on the mainstage. It cut into U.S.E.'s set, and I was really looking fwd to it. Although, the sound sucked for all the bands, including Velella Vellela at King Cobra, and even Les Savy Fav. Girl Talk was too quiet, so was Chromeo. There weren't enuf traffic barriers by businesses, either. Move the mainstage back to where it was a couple yrs ago...

Posted by Jakub | July 28, 2008 11:05 AM
19

Dave,

Please also look into the wristband policy getting into Neumos for the afterparty. I wanted to get in but the beer garden issuing the wristbands was already closed. There wasn't any word about how Security was to handle attendees who didn't have said wristbands even if they're of legal drinking age.

Posted by Grrr | July 28, 2008 11:05 AM
20

meinert,
more recycling. i know it's an impossible task to expect the lazy and/or intoxicated to throw an empty beer can in the right place, but it'd be nice to know that it was tried. or maybe the trash already gets sorted?

Posted by donte | July 28, 2008 11:05 AM
21

Oh, and PS - we book this thing way in advance. I know some people love to rail against bands that have any sort of commercial success. But with Vampire Weekend, remember that this was an indie band that, I think, released two albums on their own, each of which got played a ton on KEXP. People love them like they loved Black Angels and Silversun Pickups. Then they signed to a major to release their new album. We booked them. After we booked them they played on Saturday Night Live, got on the cover of Spin and blew up. Are they somehow worse now that people outside of KEXP listeners like them? I don't know. I like their albums. I liked them before they signed to a major. I like them now. They are good guys too. It's ok not to like them. But don't be an idiot and not like them just because other people do. Nothing is more shallow.

Another note to let you know we think about this sort of thing - when we booked Fleet Foxes they were a local band with a local following. After their album came out, they blew up. We originally booked them in Neumo's but moved them to the main stage as by the time the Block Party happened they were way too big to play Neumo's. And they were great, probably a big breakout show for them in Seattle that will be remembered for a long time.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 11:05 AM
22

any chance of turning the block party into a little sxsw? how fun would it be to have the cha cha & comet (officially), wildrose, chop suey, even the war room in on this??

overall--a lot of fun was had this weekend, made me smile to see everyone enjoying themselves...

Posted by ashley | July 28, 2008 11:07 AM
23

@ 18 - USE was actually the 2nd band. As for the volume, that is set by the City, who monitored it all weekend and kept it down, especially after 8. We'd love to turn it up, but would get shut down. That's Seattle. Help elect different people to run the City and we'll be able to fix that.

@ 20 - Agreed. we do recycle but yes, people are slobs. Next year we're going to try to find an environmentally minded group who will help us with the recycling so we can do it even better. The biggest environmental issue is too many people - on earth. I'm trying to help fix this. But for the Block Party, we're already working on it for next year.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 11:12 AM
24

@15 - the Quinn's corner was just as bad last year, so i don't think much of the blame can go to Quinn's being open. It's the best spot in the beer garden for watching the main stage, so it fills up with people watching the show. Plus it's the only passage between the main beer garden and the Neumo's side, so lots of people try to squeeze through the show-watching crowd.

On the other hand, it was great to have Neumos' side door open, for easy access between King Cobra/Neumos/Beer garden. Nice improvement, where last year you had to go all the way through the main stage crowd and the beer garden to get back and forth between Neumos and the Comet.

In general though, the mainstage location just can't handle the crowds it draws. +1 on rearranging next year.

Posted by Steve | July 28, 2008 11:16 AM
25

I, along with hundreds of other people, was stuck in the crush outside of the Comet during GirlTalk. It wasn't so bad, most people were slowly shuffling their way through, except for a handful of ASSHOLES who think that because they are bigger than everyone else, they have the right to push and shove their way through the crowd. I'm not a big guy and there were plenty of people, mostly women, who were smaller than me and we all managed to act like adults.

You know who you are. Fuck you.

Posted by blank12357 | July 28, 2008 11:17 AM
26

I absolutly agree with the overcrowding issue being a MAJOR problem - yes, at the corner around Quinn's (someone whacked the door open into my face, nice) but in many other places too - there were several times that I felt like if there was a panic that people were in big trouble. Sadly, I left early both days because I'd had enough of being pushed around by drunken idiots. I've been going to see live music in all kinds of venues for many, many, years, and this was the first time I've ever felt compelled to leave either during or before the act I came to see. It made me sad!
Summary - the event was OVERSOLD. No matter how you slice it - there were too many people crammed into too small of a space. The organizers are lucky something didn't happen because it would have been ugly and they would have been at fault.

Posted by scharrera | July 28, 2008 11:23 AM
27

I might be in the minority here but I didn't have too many problems with the size of the crowd for either day. It was a little tough getting to Neumo's to watch Jaguar Love while The Fleet Foxes were playing but that was about it for me. I also wouldn't object if there were "lanes" for people coming and going at the corners on 10th and Pike.

The only time I ever felt unsafe during the weekend was when I rode the bus home from downtown Saturday night and there were way too many people let onto the 106 - and one of them may or may not have had a firearm (which was the result of the Torchlight Parade downtown not CHBP).

Posted by Chris Burlingame | July 28, 2008 11:26 AM
28

Thanks Meinert for taking the time to read our comments about this year's event.

As others have mentioned already, my biggest concern was the traffic flow of people trying to get through the mainstage intersection. Whatever can be done to improve this would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure it's easier said than done, but I'm sure something can be worked out.

Ashley at 22 - I completely agree! Why not expand the block party to a SXSW-esque festival, which may in theory assist with crowd dispersement. With the basement parties and offshoot shows at the Comet, the block party is really starting to feel like it's evolving in that direction anyway. Perhaps have two mainstages as well?

Posted by joshuuuua | July 28, 2008 11:28 AM
29

*sigh

re: Mike

i am not an idiot. i'm actually college educated. having more strength during the event of a falling fence would put you at more of an advantage than a person who did not. its not rocket science. anyways. we are off topic. I'm sorry the sound sucked for you, i was too busy ENJOYING MYSELF, fucking lametard.

re: Nick

No nick, tough guys shouldn't be the only to attend. I remember seeing some sassy girls make their way through the tough crowds. You should probably take a different approach to your passive agressive lifestyle and learn from these girls.

and stranger, as stated by these guys, the answer is to bring in crappier bands with less drawing power please. that will solve everything.

the real answer is to hire Venom's security and have them control designated walkways like they do at the club.

thanks stranger for the best party of the summer so far.

Posted by Calderonski | July 28, 2008 11:28 AM
30

i thought the sound inside the venues were fine, even a bit a loud at times. the sound on the first stage was low, but that's due to the aforementioned sound laws - i can understand that. i thought the stereo field was really small for the girl talk show, but i don't know who was at fault for this (especially considering the sound on the main stage sounded fine leading up to it). the set sounded a little distant and without definition.

my only criticism is the main stage's position in the middle of everything makes it extremely difficult to move from place to place. segregating the main stage and grouping the second stages seems like a better idea.

all in all, a fun time. fuck all these haters.

Posted by cosby | July 28, 2008 11:31 AM
31

The Block Party was my favorite weekend of the summer, and is now my favorite holiday of the year.

Yeah, some of the overcrowding was annoying, but f it. I had the best time. Thanks to everyone who helped put it on.

Posted by Sergio | July 28, 2008 11:35 AM
32

Oh, and PS - Jason Lajeneuse who is partners in Neumo's does most of the booking for this thing (aside from the Vera Stage which Vera does), and he rarely gets the props he deserves, so hats off to Jason.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 11:37 AM
33

I think the real estate would allow for the event to "go large" next year without any ill effects. What if the main stage was in Cal Anderson park? You could put it at the far end of the park by the teletubby hill, or on the baseball field, and still have the stage by Neumo's and the Vera Stage. This way the whole event could be all ages and the venues would be far enough away from each other so as not to have any sound bleeding between them. With three outdoor stages you could stagger the start times of the bands such that changeovers could be longer and folks could have more time to get from place to place. Honestly that corner of Pike St is great for local bands like us (Fleet Foxes, Cave Singers) who would draw that many people, but for bands like the Hold Steady and Vampire Weekend I think you could easily fill Cal Anderson and are doing yourself a disservice booking them on a corner where the capacity is somewhat small and fairly unsafe when packed.. You could even close the small street between the park and Vivace and have that be a Farmer's Market type row of poster tents, food tents, etc. while still maintaining a small-ish feeling. I think if the bands booked keep getting bigger like they are, it makes a ton of sense to move one of the stages over to the park and make the whole thing more accessible to kids.

On the sound issue - my buddy Phil was doing sound for Murder City Devils last year and said that some city official was standing right there with a decibel meter, threatening to fine the band $1,000 a minute for however long they went over the quiet quiet decibel limit. City Hall fucking hates music, no way around it.

Posted by Robin Pecknold | July 28, 2008 11:49 AM
34

Gotta call bullshit on your VW response. I think that was a blatant hype engine marketing ploy. It's not like you had LSF headlining, who are obviously far more appreciated. And if you loved VW for their indie cred so much, how come you didn't book them in years past?

For most of us, it's not about rallying againt a bands' commercial success. People don't often use the word "sellout" anymore, because it's not 80s and most people understand that if a musician is getting paid, he/she is probably not retreating to a mansion somewhere in southern california afterwards. What its' really about is not tolerating to be force-fed some agreeable bullshit that the hype machine promotes because of its' marketability. The good thing is, most kids on capitol hill already know that (save for our young strapping beefheart @3 & 29)

And maybe that's the difference, you're getting old, it shows in your musical taste and what you chose to support. But it does not speak to the masses, and is only accepted because the majority of us can't put our finger on why it sucks so fucking much.

Posted by I hear clear channel has openings...... | July 28, 2008 11:54 AM
35

Robin Pecknold you are amazing. The Fleet Foxes were the absolute highlight of the weekend.

Posted by Danasorous | July 28, 2008 12:08 PM
36

@34 - umm, we're the same people who booked Les Savy Fav remember? And what, Vampire Weekend doesn't "speak to the masses"? Really? I think my age shows most when I push to have Zeke booked. But who cares, I still think they were one of the best bands of the weekend.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 12:09 PM
37

I think it's time to make CHBP's 2009 permit process uncomfortably expensive and difficult.

Unless, of course, we start hearing about how things will be better next year -- and we better start hearing it soon.

Posted by DSB | July 28, 2008 12:15 PM
38

@33 - thanks Robin - and thanks for playing, and congrads on everything that's happening for you.

As for the park - we've tried. City won't let it happen. We'll keep trying though.

Posted by Meinert | July 28, 2008 12:17 PM
39

im glad i got pigeon-holed into the fratastic dude who loves beer and sex. (no. 34 amongst others) because i do.

i offer no retaliation because its pointless. it reminds me of 6th grade cybersexing.

final point- i had fun this weekend. because this city hides throughout the entire year but the 6 weeks of summer, it was nice to see that many people come together. Everyone and everything is beautiful, but yet we still find things to complain about. Have a good time, you can worry about the sound check when you're dead. I'll be on the dancefloor shaking my bottom.

ya diggggg........

Posted by Calderonski | July 28, 2008 12:41 PM
40

Recommendations:
*Maintain a clear path/walkway through the pinch point. Hire security to keep it moving if need be (like they do at clubs). Trying to get through the mainstage crowd to get from one entrance to the other was ridiculous. I arrived during Fleet Foxes off Broadway and needed to get food before anything else. It took a lot of effort to squeeze through a _stand still crowd_ in the walk way to get from point A to point B. This same area was a nightmare on Friday. Tensions were high and there were a few drunk/drugged folks making it very unpleasant. I was tempted to call in a report to the fire dept. (but didn't). As a result of the masses, I missed every band I wanted to see at Neumos and King Cobra after 5 PM. I just couldn't bear to go back and forth through that crowd again.

*More food vendors/locations. (Pitchfork Festival provided a fantastic array. Bigger yes, but very community-oriented).

*Sound was great during Fleet Foxes/Cave Singers but was lost or muddled during some of the more rockin' acts.

*Water vendors near the entrance or side of the main stage. I nearly passed out on Friday during LSF and desperately needed water. Getting through the crowd was literally panic inducing in that state.

*Greater clarity from outside the fence about the location of the primary entrances/exits.

*Have two people at each club door. The same door person should not be ID'ing and wrist banding people while checking that people re-entering already have them. This lead to waiting in line when we didn't need to.

*Speaking of wrist bands, I received a wristband upon entry than had to show my ID again at King Cobra. Why wouldn't they honor the wristband already on my wrist? Again, creating an unnecessary line.

The line up was great. No complaints. I just wish I could have seen more of the music. I was held hostage by the crowd at the mainstage. Unless this changes, I'm not coming back.

Posted by Dod | July 28, 2008 12:42 PM
41

'Meinert', get your head out of your ass, quit with the excuses and rationalizations, and wake up to the fact that this year's 'party' was massively oversold, even more than last year's, which made the whole thing uncomfortable for a LOT of people attending. Of course there are always jerks who don't mind pushing their way through crowds, but most normal decent people are there to enjoy the music and don't want to have to deal with that crap. The problem isn't that the acts are too 'big', or that security didn't do it's job, or that there's anything wrong with the location. The ONLY problem is that pure greed, on the part of YOU Meinert and other promotors, resulted in too many tickets being sold for the available space. No one gives a damn about your specious excuses (keeping ticket prices down, drawing bigger acts, blah blah blah), there were just too many people there for the layout. It was damn near impossible to get anywhere near the main stage or into Neumo's or King Cobra at times, and once you did get there, just as difficult getting out and to another stage later. Piss poor planning and greed, that's all. Wouldn't bother me a bit if the city declined a permit for this fiasco next year, since it's no longer much fun.

Posted by rk | July 28, 2008 12:44 PM
42

Shit #41 - Layoff....mistakes were made and it has been said that it'll be fixed and the comment, "Wouldn't bother me a bit if the city declined a permit for this fiasco next year," here's a novel thought....DON'T GO!!!! Instead of wanting it ruined for others....

Also for a few comments about city hall hating music especially the live kind......It hass sucked seeing the restrictions that City's been laying down over the last few years.......with elections looming it would be nice to see some coverage (by the Stranger hopefully) on how candidates differ on live music and club issues/restrictions or can someone point me in the right direction?

Posted by Ty | July 28, 2008 1:19 PM
43

I was going to write something...and then #41 took the words write out of my mouth...

Posted by Amnesiac79 | July 28, 2008 1:19 PM
44

Complain all you want to Dave and other promoters that put the festival on for the problems. Hell, he openly said he's willing to hear your complaints. But please please please drop the threats of complaining to the city. The Mayor's office has been unfairly harsh on local live music clubs (especially on Capitol Hill) and festivals in the past few years and you really don't want to encourage more government intervention into our music scene.

Posted by dan10things | July 28, 2008 1:46 PM
45

I thought the CHBP was great. Everyone I know that went had a fantastic time- not just good, but fantastic. Yes, it was crowded, that's how popular festivals get. I'm sure the organizers will continue to tinker with it, but I thought the security folks, the cops and staff everywhere were very accommodating.

FOr those above that are worried about crowds, and outdoor sound issues, I would suggest not going to outdoor festivals. Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, any sold out White River, or KEXP show is crowded. And try walking down 6th street on Saturday during SXSW or Bourbon during Jazz Fest- surprise it's crowded.

Also I don't understand the personal attacks on Dave or any of the other CHBP organizers- they work really hard and it's a really great festival for those of us who like music. Working with the city, police and fire dept. and codes, sponsors, area businesses, artists.. it's a headache, it's hard and they make it happen. Do you know how many music fans in other cities would like to have a great music scene like we do? And Dave, Jason, Steven, Grady do such a great job that I met people who flew in from all over the country just for the CHBP! Great job!! I'll be back next year, but I urge all the complainers to stay home and not ruin it for the rest of us.

More pictures of happy people enjoying the block party-

http://threeimaginarygirls.com/capitolhillblockparty2008.

http://cherrycanoe.wordpress.com/.

Posted by JenS | July 28, 2008 2:02 PM
46

Haven't read the rest of this thread, but I AGREE about the sound.

I was near the front-of-house sound mix position during Menomena's set Friday night. Although the toms and kick sounded BASSY and HUGE, the mix was unbalanced the whole time. BACK-UP vox in front of LEAD vox, very little SAX, no SNARE. EFFECTS left on at weird times...

When I looked at the Carlson sound engineers at the board, they were figgiting with processing units away from the console. This went on for most of the set...

For me, just having a loud system with a bunch of subs doesn't cut it.

Posted by payattentiontothemusic | July 28, 2008 2:09 PM
47

@ 46 - word.

what was up during Menomena's set? The bass guitar was totally fuzzed out. at first i thought it was the speakers, then thought maybe it was intentional, then i thought it was the speakers again, then i wasnt sure. i did notice that none of the other bands on the mainstage had that problem with the bass, but it was totally distracting during menomena's set and i love menomena, so that sucked.

Posted by E | July 28, 2008 2:27 PM
48

@25: I agree completely. I was stuck in that mash up during GirlTalk outside of the Comet. It was entertaining at first, but quickly escalated to panic and fear as people piled behind their largest friends and steam rolled through the crowd. The rage on these peoples' faces was frightening.

I know it's not the organizer's fault that they let assholes in, however, it was because of the poor lay-out planning that hundreds of people and I had to be subject to them.

i know it's been said before, but please pay extra attention in widening the walk ways and pass throughs.

Additionally, on Saturday night, I was on the never-moving line to buy tickets and get in the festival. After 40 minutes of not moving, I quit and watched the band from behind the fence. I understand that you have to limit capacity, but please have your ticket sellers make an announcement if they will be pausing ticket sales. The lack of any announcement at all just reeked of the typical too-cool attitude that keeps me away from that area of town.

Posted by BeejShan | July 28, 2008 2:46 PM
49

The Block Party's biggest problem is its success -- which, when you consider the current economy and the state of the music biz, is a pretty good problem to have.

It should speak volumes to the City that events like this can be held safely and successfully in densely populated neighborhoods.

That the biggest problem this year was overcrowding should help facilitate discussions regarding expansion, particularly into Cal Anderson Park.

People work really hard to pull this thing off, and there is a very good reason that CHBP has become such a hotly-anticipated event.

But, yeah, way too much litter.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 28, 2008 2:52 PM
50

CHBP is probably one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. I was looking really forward to this year to be as good, if not, better than the years past. Yes I didn't have as good time as I have had in the past. Yes I agree with the overcrowding and sound quality. But I still got to watch a bunch of awesome music and hang out with my friends. A lot of work goes into putting on these things and i can only imagine how much of a headache it is to deal with the city as well as plan the rest. I know a few people involved and they are good people who genuinely like music before money and these personal attacks are unwarranted. Yeah, there were some mistakes made, yeah, it wasn't as great as the ones in the past. But the organizers (thanks Meinert!) are listening to our suggestions and taking them to heart. There will always be something to complain about and it will take a while for all these suggestions to take effect. But I will keep coming to CHBP, even if I move from this city and have to fly in this weekend every year. We are lucky to have this music scene, we are lucky to have this weekend to celebrate it, and we are lucky that someone throws the party for us to enjoy!!

Posted by Scottie Yahtzee | July 28, 2008 3:00 PM
51

I thought Block Party was spectacular, but that's partially because I stuck to the smaller venues. Wild Orchid Children in the Cha Cha will stay in my memory forever, it was insane. As for getting through the mainstage crowd, I just budgeted extra time and moved through just fine. I had a blast this weekend, and I can't wait for next year. But the lanes for movement sound like an excellent plan, seriously.

Posted by indieguy322 | July 28, 2008 3:27 PM
52

Seattle can be so parental and stuffy the block party’s drunken chaos is actually kind of fun, but I won’t complain if you find a way to work around the various bottlenecks. Also, more bike racks would be nice.

Posted by Greydon Clark | July 28, 2008 3:51 PM
53

My biggest problem with Block Party is that after two nights of dancing on concrete, my feet were killing me. Could you please have next year's BP inside a giant jumpy tent? Also, this year's lineup include bands that I do not like and the crowd was filled with people who are not like me. Next year you should only include bands that I like, in the order most convenient to me. Tickets should only be sold to people that I think are cool, preferably attractive members of the opposite sex that will consider sleeping me with. I also hate carrying around a jacket so you can you have some extra hoodies/cardigans lying around in casse I get cold? Thanks.




Okay, in all seriousness, I loved Block Party this year. Yeah, it was crowded, the sound wasn't great and there were too few recycling bins. But I went home smiling both nights thanks to awesome performances from Girl Talk, Les Savy Fav, Past Lives, Jay Reatard, The Whore Moans, Hold Steady and The Saturday Knights. I danced so much I got a heat rash on my foot. The only real recommendation I'd like to make is keeping the food vendors (the hot dog guy and Quinn's outside area) away from the main stage. The less things blocking those areas the better. And a jumpy tent would be good too. My feet are seriously killing me.

Posted by Me Me Me Me Me Me Me | July 28, 2008 7:50 PM
54

Did anyone eat the Thai food from that vendor in the Havana parking lot? It tasted like a cow had been sleeping on it. For a week.

Besides that bad thai and some scary moments working my way through the Girl Talk crowd, I had a blast. Thank god the sound was stellar for Cave Singers, and everything inside the clubs sounded great.

Posted by Explorer | July 28, 2008 8:54 PM
55

#45 - its a whole different world when you're in the VIP tent - the rest of the masses who pay for their tickets deserve the right to ask for a better, safer block party.

Posted by x girl | July 28, 2008 8:58 PM
56

Next year can you do something about all the ridiculous sunglasses?

Bringing '81 back!

Posted by Jonnie Goodboy Tyler | July 28, 2008 9:41 PM
57

For a contrasting perspective: a guest from Fargo North Dakota said the CHBP crowd was very polite and he was amazed everyone got along so well. Apparently In Fargo fights routinely break out several times a night at clubs.
In comparison to his experience, the CHBP was fine, and he is looking forward to going again next year.

Posted by J9 | July 28, 2008 10:32 PM
58

Lineout commenters are such wusses. The block party is a rock Fest in the street where you can get drunk and spazz out. If people want room to push a stroller around go to Bumbershoot or folklife. This is Capitol Hill, we like it a little rough and dirty here. If you don't then stay the fuck out of here.

Posted by ihatewusses | July 29, 2008 8:19 AM
59

58.

i agree. see. 3, 29, and 39.

Posted by Calderonski | July 29, 2008 9:57 AM
60

How cute Calderonski, you found a new friend on Line Out!

You manly men should hang out together and discuss the many ways that you two definitely aren't wusses. And you know, crush beer cans on your head, throw firecrackers at each other and stuff.

See you in the mosh pit...

Posted by spazz out dude! | July 29, 2008 10:21 AM
61

Maybe next year they'll televise it so peep can stay in the comfort of their own home, not worry about it being oversold, control their own sound, and get right on the internet to complain about it after while the rest of us have fun. LOL

Posted by C-Leb | July 29, 2008 11:47 AM
62

the festival was actually streamed live - you can watch some great music and a ton of people have a great time at SynchLive.com - do a search for "block party" and you'll find all the shows that were archived

http://app.synclive.com?show/22749

Posted by Meinert | July 29, 2008 1:01 PM
63

i didn't attend block party this year, so i can't say much about what went down. however my choice was made, after fighting the crowds last year.

something HAS to do be done about it. i LOVE block party, and have attended the last 4 years, even when i didn't live in seattle. but watching it grow, even from headliners Murder City Devils 2 parties ago (which was an insane crowd, but somewhat more manageable), to Spoon last year (where i thought i was going to die), there really haven't been any preventive steps taken. and the bands just keep getting bigger, and so do the crowds.

wanting a way to safely maneuver a scary crowd, does not make ANYONE a "pussy".

Posted by Jen | July 29, 2008 1:39 PM
64

What's up with the beer garden wristbands?

I arrived at 6 to catch Fleet Foxes, but didn't need a beer so just hung out near the main stage all day. Later, before Devotchka went on, I wanted to get a beer and hang in the beer garden. Bouncer said they were out of wristbands and wouldn't even let me in with my drivers license. What gives?

Posted by AA | July 29, 2008 11:33 PM
65

i was up from portland for friday night, and had an excellent time overall.

at one point, i had become separated from the group i came up with, and was making my way back to where they were. i started from the main entrance and was trying to get to cafe vita.

i progressed along the edge of the crowd without much incident, until i reached the corner directly opposite the stage. barricades had been erected on the outer edge of the sidewalk, to maintain a thoroughfare through the area, but people had started to gather inside of it. Right as I got to the apex of the corner, the crowd reached total gridlock.

after a few awkward seconds, something in my head clicked, and i reached out to someone heading toward me. grabbing their hand, i pulled them through, and helped them move on. the crowd started to make progress moving back and forth. i remained there, doing this vigilante, amateur crowd control for almost the entirety of vampire weekend's set.

the only actual staff in the area was a very nice man trying to do his best to keep people moving. he had 3 major problems:

he did not prevent people from watching the show inside his barricade;

he was unable to effectively gauge the overall situation because he was stuck on one side of the corner, and his efforts there didn't reach the other side;

and although he was in arguably the most crucial crowd control position, he was not given a radio.

my friends eventually showed up in the mob, and i stuck around for another 10 minutes or so after that until it had calmed down a bit.

most seattleites i "met" during my stay in the corner were totally awesome and just trying to make their way to where they needed to be. one guy got offended that i touched him on the shoulder and threatened to kick my ass.

Posted by dreww | July 30, 2008 6:28 AM
66

I 100% agree. It was way too crowded to be safe or fun. And the sound was awful. Why didn't they fly the mains over the crowd so it would reach beyond the first few rows of people? That's just basic live sound 101. When we finally bailed, the crowd was so packed around us that we couldn't figure a way out. Lame. Never going back. And I live on Cap Hill and frequent live music clubs.

Posted by chad | July 30, 2008 7:56 AM
67

@46 and 47:

Pretty sure Menomena's bass guitar had a bad cable and/or connection. That's why the buzzing kept cutting in and out. I thought it was a blown speaker at first, but no. Bum cable. It kinda sucked.

The good news? I saw Menomena play a full set the night before in Bellingham for an enthusiastic all-ages crowd who were not just waiting for Girl Talk. The drums were so fucking huge. It was a gift.

Posted by matt garman | July 30, 2008 6:07 PM
68

I had a terrible experience as well. I was VIP and left the beer garden with a cup en route to Via Trib for some grubb - no signs saying drop your cup, no clear indicator that I was leaving...I even said hey and tipped my cup to the young security guard. Then returning with a super smile cuz I had a full pizza in hand..."Haus" of "Hoss", the head security guard *violently* (seriously) grabbed my shoulder and flipped me around and took a blunt knife to my wrist to cut off all bands. He would'nt even let me say something, he just talked over me. FUCK YOU HAUS or HOSS - I continued to watch him physically push around his co-workers like a fucking elementary bully. Was having the time of my life until he ruined it all.

Posted by Jonny | July 31, 2008 3:39 PM

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