by James Truitt
The Saturday following the summer solstice was shaping up to be an eventful one. Between the spectacle of the Rock‘n’Roll Marathon, the unbeatable party-vibe of Pride, and an impromptu mass-moonwalk tribute going down on South Jackson St, there was a ton of great stuff set to happen all over our summer-crazed city. Add to that already mighty list the relatively under-publicized (and free!!!) Georgetown Music Festival -- itself combing powers with Seattle Weekly’s Artopia, another sweet (and free!!!) event -- and you’ve got in your daily planner one serious conflict of fun. However, the upside to so many fine options is you really can’t lose; and after deciding the chance to check out a major sampling of local music and artistic talent was simply to good to pass up, I woke up Saturday morning, rallied the cause to my cousin Amy, and made my way south with she and her friend Alex.
Sandwiched between I-5 and the industrial sprawl lying below SoDo, Georgetown is a fairly isolated place—unheard of by even lifelong Seattleites. Prior to this year, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully point the place out on a map. But, having spent the past four months working down the street from Airport Way, Georgetown’s main drag, I’ve developed a serious affinity for the neighborhood’s gritty, cooperative charm -- and I arrived on Saturday with eager hopes for what the festivities might look like spilled out across it’s brick-and-mortar landscape.
The day’s scene did not disappoint. Over forty Northwest bands were playing blitzkrieg, half-four sets on one of nine different stages, and dozens of local artists displayed their work alongside the neighborhood’s multiple open galleries. G-town’s awesome eateries were in full effect as well: the line for the infamous yellow Falafel truck was deservingly a half-block long, and the down-home-delicious cooking at the Jules Maes kept the Saloon elbow-room only. Perhaps the best aspect of the day was how all of this awesomeness was concentrated within a few short blocks; or how even at their peak the crowds never became an obstacle.
However, inherent in the festival format lies one unavoidable bummer. With so much music and art and food and booze occurring simultaneously, it’s actually impossible to take in everything. The day’s experience was limited to just my one set of eyes and ears, but here are a few particular highlights from where I was standing (mostly by the beer garden):
The charming, piano-driven pop jams these dudes belt-out employ a magnetic formula of classic tag-team harmonies, impressive chops, and just the right amount of playful Kinks-ian wit. Man, do they know how to craft a good bridge. Be on the look out for the forthcoming LP, and check out their show at the Crocodile July 17th w/ Tennis Pro and We Wrote The Book On Connectors
I’m a sucker for woozy psychedelia, especially when there are heavy effects pedals and a saxophone involved. This Seattle trio absolutely slayed their brief set, which consisted of songs that I can only guess must have come from their latest effort, 2009’s The Biggest Waves Come At Night. Levator plays the Sunset on July 13th w/ Carcrashlander and The Ever Changing Sky.
The sass and swagger of this quartet’s catchy dance-punk fit the Georgetown setting perfectly. Lead singer and all-around firecracker Lesli Wood was charismatic as hell, full of a contagious energy that quickly won over the slowly-crystallizing evening crowd. Check out their recent Song of the Day podcast, and don’t miss their upcoming show at The Josephine July 10th.
As the sun begun its slow descent, I found myself many beers, coffees, and Schwarmas deep, thoroughly satisfied by a fantastic day of (free!!!) local sights and sounds. The festival was still raging away, and would continue late into the night with many of the top-billed acts yet to play. It was at this point that I had to make my exit, however, ducking out early to book it cross town in time to catch another local group, this one of the progressive Hip Hop variety. But that’s another story.
Bottom line: the Georgetown Music Festival was an absurdly good way to spend a Saturday, and a true win-win for the bands, neighborhood, and fans alike. The festival’s first time partnership with Seattle Weekly’s Artopia added a welcome visual accompaniment to the killer sounds, suds, and grub already on hand -- one that the folks behind each would be remiss not to solidify into an annual one.
photos of Georgetown Music Festival and Artopia by Christopher Nelson: