SEATTLE — With a rejiggering Bumbershoot extending its hiatus, it looked like once again Seattle Center would be quiet over Labor Day weekend. But the crew behind another one of the city’s most beloved music festivals apparently had other plans.
Amid a COVID-19-shortened summer concert season, Capitol Hill Block Party organizers are launching a new music festival that will, at least this year, fill the Bumbershoot void.
CHBP producer and Capitol Hill nightlife player Jason Lajeunesse had been kicking around the idea of a second festival for a few years. With Block Party joining a number of local fests throwing in the towel on 2021, suddenly the promoter and Neumos co-owner and his team had the unexpected bandwidth to make it happen. Albeit on a tighter timeline.
“We’ve looked at sites throughout the city over the last few years, as a separate thing entirely, and it just sorta lined up that this year it all kinda made sense,” Lajeunesse said.
By the time the governor pegged a statewide July reopening, the plug had been pulled on CHBP, and when Seattle Center brass tapped Lajeuneusse about its Labor Day weekend opening, the stars aligned for the debut of Day In Day Out — a two-day mini fest taking over Fisher Pavilion Sept. 4-5.
Think a scaled-down Block Party on the lawn, with top draws including indie-electronic stars Kaytranada and Big Wild, synth-pop party starters CHVRCHES and STRFKR, and PNW hip-hop hitters Aminé and Travis Thompson.
Viral TikTok bassist Blu DeTiger, Daisy and Seattle favorites Parisalexa and Chong the Nomad round out the lineup. A number of other local DJs will keep the music going between set breaks.
Fisher Pavilion itself will transform into an indoor-outdoor beer garden, with a 21-plus VIP seating area up top; a handful of food trucks will be on hand. Organizers are also coordinating with the city to provide vaccination incentives, offering 100 free one-day festival tickets to those who get vaccinated at pop-up clinics set up as part of the city’s Welcome Back Weeks effort to bring people back to downtown Seattle.
Capacity will top out at 8,000 people per day — just shy of CHBP’s daily average of 10,000 — and the Day In Day Out name is largely a nod to the urban, noncamping festival’s 2-10 p.m. run time. (Fear not party people, afterparties at Neumos, Barboza and The Vera Project are in the works.)
Although the leaner lineup with a single stage means less of a choose-your-own-adventure vibe than CHBP, Day In Day Out’s mix of electronic, hip-hop and danceable synth bands is mostly in step with recent CHBP lineups (indeed, several Block Party alum are on the bill). As the festival evolves — with future iterations moving off Bumbershoot’s Labor Day weekend slot — Lajeunesse expects his two festivals to have a more “definitive separation and curation.”
“I wouldn’t put a hard line in the sand right now,” Lajeunesse said. “I think we’re gonna see what happens this year and let this grow somewhat organically, just like Capitol Hill Block Party has grown organically over the last 20 years.”
While Lajeunesse’s two-day event might be the biggest show on Seattle Center grounds this summer, it certainly won’t be the first. EDM fans will dance on the same lawn Aug. 15 during the Diplo-headlined Higher Ground bash.