Some Final Thoughts on the Capitol Hill Block Party 2012

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CHBP image credit Jim Bennett All Rights Reserved

The Capitol Hill Block Party is less than a week behind us. The stages are gone, the PBR cans are swept up (or crushed into the pavement as best as possible), and the bands and fans are now on to promoting or anticipating the next big thing.

So what did we learn? Well, on the Main Stage we learned that the live Father John Misty show is full of local banter and insanely fun. We learned that Phantogram lives up to the hype — talk about exciting, powerful music! We were reassured by the overflowing talent of Seattle bands like Fly Moon Royalty and Kithkin at the Vera Stage. There were, as always, too many shows to see at CHBP. Little bands you’ve never heard of, or big bands you’re dying to see, and everything inbetween.

CHBP image credit Suzi Pratt All Rights Reserved

Jason Lajeunesse, the festival’s new owner, and all of the staff for CHBP did a great job of keeping everything running smoothly. The performances started on time, there were no major crimes. (Well…Rex Velvet is still at large.) All in all it would be hard to call it anything other than a success. That is not to say that CHBP can’t stand some improvement.

CHBP image credit Jim Bennett All Rights Reserved

Saturday the festival sold out. (Oversold might be stating it more accurately.) Many shows at indoor venues like Neumos (or Barboza downstairs) went to capacity very quickly. This should come as a surprise to no one. I only point this out to lend some weight to what should be common wisdom: CHBP needs a second Main Stage at the other end of Pike. This is a bit of backseat driving, but it just seems like it makes sense. Maybe next year.

The mobile app was also a little buggy. It could be that it was a data connectivity issue with so many mobile devices accessing limited connection points, but I can say that I wound up referencing the printed schedule a whole lot more. 2011’s mobile CHBP app was much more no-frills, but it seemed to load more quickly and have better all-around usefulness.

These critiques come as a way of saying that this rad festival could still stand to be a bit more rad. It will be interesting to see if going forward the CHBP continues to be a three day festival, what that will mean for surrounding businesses, if the layout and lineups will significantly change, etc. Being a part of CHBP is a special time in a special neighborhood. It’s a place where memories are made, or are perhaps obliterated with canned beer in the maybe-sometimes sunshine. Either way the whole city turns out, it seems, and together we cheer, and dance.

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