Seattle's south end neighborhood Beacon Hill is putting on a single afternoon all-ages, free music festival June 20th, featuring some of the best in local hip-hop - from the Blue Scholars' Prometheus Brown to Gabriel Teodros to Spekulation. The all-day Block Party will be honoring the neighborhood at the local coffee shop The Station. We had the chance to chat with rapper/producer Spekulation about the festivities, which he is helping to organize.
What is the Block Party all about?
It’s a day to celebrate the artists and community that make The Station [coffee house] such a special gathering spot on Beacon Hill.
There are some big names – from Blue Scholars’ Prometheus Brown to Gabriel Teodros to yourself. How is the lineup going to flow that day? Just constant badass music?
Yessir! We designed the line-up specifically to allow for the highest number of acts possible with the least amount of time in between them. We'll have a steady stream of rappers and DJs, but also a handful of sets from Youth Speaks, bboys, and capoeristas, which will give us some time to do any set up we'd have to do. It's going to be a packed day, and if the spreadsheet I made is correct, there shouldn't be more than a few moments in between each of the acts.What does it mean for you to celebrate The Station and Beacon Hill this way?
It just feels... appropriate. We're putting this whole thing on with a budget of $0, everyone is volunteering and we're pooling every resource we can to make it happen. But at the same time, ain't no half-steppin'... We're still planning to throw the best party of the year, with some of the best performers this city has produced. That's how The Station has always succeeded, that's what makes Beacon Hill so special, and it's dope to be able to celebrate it.
How is the afternoon going to be different from, say, Capitol Hill Block Party?
There are the obvious ways, in terms of scale and sponsorships and stuff. But I think the most notable thing is that it will be free and open to the public, giving folks who live in the neighborhood a chance to step outside their homes and celebrate together. We also don't require black-out dates from any of the performers, which often makes it difficult for working artists to promote their work and make ends meet.
How many years has this tradition been going on? Do you have any favorite memories?
It has manifested itself in a lot of different ways over the course of the last five years... from concerts like we're doing this year, to events like Adobo-fest hosted by Prometheus Brown. My favorite memories are all just simple interactions I've had with the performers, folks I've respected for a long time who are just hanging out on some summer-time vibes, talking with folks. Seeing Sabzi walk back and forth through the cafe with his e-cigarette for an entire afternoon, my first time experiencing JusMoni performing with WD4D, watching Prometheus Brown trying to wrangle hella kids while talking to the Mayor, and sitting on the curb at sunset with the StopBiting Beatmakers crew (which was the first and only time we've ever seen each other outside).
For the uninitiated, what should one do when going into The Station for the first time on a random day? And after, what should one do in Beacon Hill if visiting it for the first time?
Order a Mocha Mexicano, a D'Angelo (brown sugar latte) or a Hot 16 (a 16-oz chai with a cayenne kick). Get it "to go", but sit outside for a few minutes and join in a few of the community discussions that will undoubtedly be taking place around you. After that, head North to Beacon Ave Sandwiches, or South to the taco truck in the Valero parking lot. Get food, tip well. Then head to Jefferson Park to finish it all off.
Lastly, any surprises for your set?
I always bring a few surprises, and this time will definitely not be an exception. I'll have three new songs to premiere, a handful of guests and a few other things that you'll have to see for yourself! My set starts at 7:15 PM.
Find out more about the Block Party at The Station here, and preview some of the performers here:
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