Ready your pump-up playlist and finalize your stage-hopping itinerary, because Capitol Hill’s favorite neighborhood music festival returns from July 21 to 23! The 21st annual Capitol Hill Block Party will span 6 blocks, 5 stages, 3 days, and will feature sets from more than 100 artists.
Approaching the weekend with a plan of action is the best way to get the most bang for your buck. So round up your fellow festival-goers, dust off your dancing shoes, and prepare to take some notes!
Know before you go
First things first: if you don’t already have your ticket, purchase it now to get in on the action before potentially getting bumped with the dreaded “sold out” message. Ticket options include the following:
- 3-day pass ($150 for general admission or $300 for VIP)
- 2-day pass (select your preferred combination of days for $110)
- Single day pass (select Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for $60)
Ticket acquired? Have it with you when gates open at 3 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Shows run all day and into late evening, and performance times vary by stage and artist. The Main Stage and Vera Stage, both located outdoors, are each open to all ages, while the Neumos, Barboza, and Cha Cha Stages are exclusively 21 and over. Though attendees are encouraged to explore a variety of shows and discover new favorites, for starters, let’s review some of the standout Main Stage headliners to guide you along as you decide which shows to attend:
Thundercat | 6:30 – 7:15
You’ve got to see the bass guitar wizard live and in-person to understand just how deep the funk runs. Thundercat is currently touring in support of his third and latest album, “Drunk.”
Wolf Parade | 9:15 – 10:15
The early 2000s Canadian indie rockers are back in the game after a 5-year hiatus. Witness the reunion for yourself at the Main Stage.
Run the Jewels | 10:45 – midnight
El-P and Killer Mike are truly a duo to be reckoned with. Get pumped with some late-night hip-hop from the pair that has brought you three full-length albums and a gift like no other: “Meow the Jewels,” the fantastically feline remix.
Manatee Commune | 4:45 – 5:30
Bellingham’s own Grant Eadie has been killing the festival game this year, and continues the streak onward and upward from Sasquatch. If you’re not already familiar with his up-and-coming electronic-chillwave sounds, seize this opportunity.
Whitney | 6 – 7
Led by former Smith Westerns guitarist and Unknown Mortal Orchestra drummer, Whitney’s debut “Light Upon the Lake” remains the perfect summer soundtrack.
Lord Huron | 10:30 – midnight
Upbeat indie folk meets the summer evening air on the Main Stage.
Cloud Nothings | 3:45 – 4:30
Post-punk noise pop sparks up an afternoon party atmosphere.
Angel Olsen | 8 – 9
Angel’s angelic chops make everything from her folksy singer-songwriter reflections to her crooner-rocker anthems a joy to experience from below the stage.
Diplo | 9:45 – 11
Close out a killer weekend with electronic beats from Diplo himself.
Finally, get up to speed with these bite-sized vitals:
- Restrooms: Other than limited capacity restrooms located at some indoor venues, be prepared to use a porta potty (and to stand in potential bathroom lines).
- Pets: Leave them safe and sound at home.
- Transportation: Avoid the inevitable parking nightmare — leave your personal car behind and carry change to hop a city bus, use a Car2Go to access the convenient onsite CHBP drop-off zone, call a Lyft or Uber (but be prepared for possible surge pricing), or just walk to the entrance points at 12th and Pike or 10th and Pine. Bikes will not be allowed on festival grounds.
- Weather: The event will take place rain or shine. At the time of publication, the current projected Seattle weather forecast calls for temperatures in the low- to mid-70s, light winds, clouds with a 20% chance of rain on Friday, and sunshine with a 10% chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday.
- Restricted items: Review the list of what you can and cannot bring into the festival (bags will be checked upon entry).
Enjoy yourself on festival weekend
Ensure you have the best time possible. Start with these five basic tips.
1. Stay hydrated
Should you become dehydrated, you’re gonna have a bad time. Dehydration is especially accelerated in the heat and sun, and since Block Party is a largely outdoor summer event, remaining hydrated is going to require some vigilance. While glass and full, unsealed bottles cannot be brought into the festival, bring an empty reusable water bottle (you can fill it inside the festival) or an unopened, safety-sealed water bottle (which you can also refill on festival grounds once you finish its contents… and recycle should you no longer need it). The key is to continue hydrating throughout the day and evening — especially if you plan on drinking (alcohol is dehydrating), dancing (dehydrating), or otherwise enjoying yourself (moral of the story: you’re gonna want to hydrate no matter what).
2. Don’t party on an empty stomach
Drinking on an empty stomach is not only unsafe — it’s also a nearly surefire way to end up with a hangover and hinder your Block Party experience (or worse, confine you to bedrest at home). Fortunately, you’ll find a wide variety of food (and drink) options within the festival grounds.
Start the day with a cold brew or other iced coffee drink at Caffe Vita or Capitol Coffee Works, grab some lunchtime tacos at Rancho Bravo or a hearty Caribbean Roast sandwich at Paseo, or cool off with a decadent scoop at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. Alternately, browse the Food Truck Rally just north of Pike Street. Don’t wait until you’re already running on empty to seek out food — lines get long on CHBP weekend (especially during peak dining times).
Once you’re properly fueled and ready to party (age and valid ID permitting), just head to the beer garden or any of several bars within festival grounds (including the wacky Unicorn, popular Purr Cocktail Lounge, and many more).
3. Dress for comfort
While you’ll surely want to don your most stylish gear, make sure it stands up to the comfort test. Since you’ll likely be walking, standing, or dancing all day and into the night, start with a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes. Dress in summer-appropriate layers (just bring a small backpack so you don’t lose your favorite light sweater). If you have sensitive ears, make a discreet pair of earplugs an essential part of your ensemble.
4. Remember sun protection
Sunblock is a Block Party-approved item, so make sure to have your SPF 30 (or higher) in your bag all weekend. Re-apply all over every two hours at minimum. Boost your sun protection to the next level with your favorite stylish hat.
5. Stay safe
Above all, having fun is about staying safe. Though security staff will be stationed onsite for crowd control, it’s always wise to remain aware of your surroundings, especially at a packed event like Block Party. Grab a festival map so you know your way around (including where the nearest exits and entrances are located), make sure your phone is fully charged to keep in touch with your group, and if you’re not familiar with this area of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, use the buddy system in case you become separated. As always, if you experience or witness an emergency, call 911.
Happy Block Party, Capitol Hill!
Featured image courtesy of The Capitol Hill Block Party via Facebook