KEXP Suggests: Upstream Music Fest + Summit 5/11-13

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It’s easy to take the Northwest’s thriving local music scene for granted. Each day it  feels like a new artist is popping up. From snarky indie rockers to enigmatic rappers and avant garde electronic artists, there’s always some incredible new act to be discovered. If you’re not keeping your ear to ground, you might be missing out on what could be your next favorite band. If only someone gathered a bunch of these great artists and put them in the same place…

Back in August of 2016, Vulcan’s Paul Allen announced an idea that would do just that with Upstream Music Fest + Summit, May 11-13. Allen and his company Vulcan are seeking to turn Pioneer Square into a “walkable mixtape”, focusing on artists from the Northwest — Seattle, Vancouver, Boise, and Portland — to help shine a light on the immense talent in our corner of the country. This week, that vision becomes a reality. With a lineup that boasts over 300 artists (the bulk being made up of local artists), that vision is becoming a reality. Headlining sets from innovators like Flying Lotus, Dinosaur Jr., and Poliça are sure to big hits. But in a reverseal of the typical festival fanfare, a huge draw is the under card. Bring in a notebook and keep your phone charged — you’ll need something to jot down all these bands.

Alongside the festival, Upstream will also be hosting a Summit that features keynotes from Quincy Jones, Macklemore, Kill Rock Stars President Portia Sabin, and composer Ron Jones. There’s also myriad breakout sessions centered on globalization, industry collision, data analytics, and streaming & beyond. These sessions will all be taking place at WaMu Theater in the morning and early afternoon, so you won’t have to miss out on any of the music. Consult the full schedule to start planning your day.

KEXP is proud to partner with Upstream in a number of ways throughout the three. From broadcasts to workshops, it’ll be hard to miss us in Pioneer Square. Below you’ll find a breakdown of KEXP’s curated content for the festival and summit.

Broadcast Stage

Throughout the festival, KEXP will be hosting live broadcast sessions at Little London Plane in the center of Pioneer Square. Each day you’ll be able to tune in and hear performances from local favorites, ranging from up-and-comers like interstellar rap group Cosmos to local legends like Jeremy Enigk and The Long Winters. KEXP’s DJ  Sharelese will be on-site on Saturday as well to bring her local music show Audioasis to the festival with live sessions from Versing and Gazebos.

If you’re attending the festival, you can stop through and catch the artists in-person, but space is limited. If you’re hoping to catch one of these intimate sets, make sure to show up early.

Thursday, May 11th
10:30 AM Cosmos
1:00 PM   MASZER
3:30 PM   The Maldives
5:30 PM   Jeremy Enigk

Friday, May 12th
10:30 AM   Polyrhythmics
1:00 PM   Karl Blau
3:30 PM   J GRGRY
5:30 PM   Long Winters

Saturday, May 13th
12:30 PM Beat Connection
2:30 PM   Summer Cannibals
5:00 PM   Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
6:30 PM   Versing (Audioasis)
8:30 PM   Gazebos (Audioasis)

Occidental Stage

KEXP is proud to present a free, public facing stage in the middle of Occidental Park, featuring some of our favorite local talent. Who might those acts be, you might be asking? You’ll have to wait to find out. Tune into The Morning Show at 9 a.m. on Thursday and Friday to hear John Richards announced the day’s acts. There’s definitely some surprises that you won’t want to miss.

DJ Showcases

Each stage at Upstream is hand-curated by local record labels, organizations, collectives, and more. Alongside Little London Plane and the Occidental Stage, some of KEXP’s DJs have also pitched in to help fill out Upstream’s massive lineup. Seek & Destroy, Preachin’ The Blues, Jazz Theatre, Wo Pop, and Positive Vibrations will all be hosting stages at the festival. Consult the full schedule so you can plan ahead and not miss any of these incredible acts (we recommend installing the app to keep track of all the bands you want to see).

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Mastering The Hustle

Leading up to the festival and summit, KEXP has been partnering with Upstream and MoPop to hold our Mastering The Hustle series. These workshops are focused on helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. Past sessions have focused on building your music brand and your sound and performance. As Mastering The Hustle returns during the Upstream Summit on Saturday, May 13 from 12-2 p.m., this time we’ll be focused on a vital topic: Making Money In Today’s Music Economy. As with the previous iterations, this session will be free with an RSVP. However, RSVPs do not guarantee entry and admission is first come, first serve. Make sure you get there early!

Speakers include:

Jeff Nelson – Chair of Washington Lawyers for the Arts and IP Team Leader at Cairncross & Hempelmann
Maggie Vail – Executive Director at CASH Music
Wade Metzler – Artist and Industry Relations at SoundExchange
Moderated by KEXP DJ Larry Rose

[ RSVP HERE ]

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