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Published on May 17th, 2017 | by Landon Buford


The First Inaugural Upstream Music Fest + Summit Concludes With A Bang!


Seattle, Wash.   (May 14, 2017) – Upstream Music Fest + Summit @UpstreamFest concluded last night following three days of live public presentations by more than 360 emerging and main stage artists as well as keynote discussions with Macklemore, Quincy Jones, Dr. Portia Sabin, and Ron Jones. The first-year Fest + Summit saw strong attendance with more than 30,000 attendees throughout the weekend.  An estimated 5,000 more people attended the free shows programmed by KEXP in Occidental Park, engaged with the seven art installations throughout the festival footprint, and tasted the tastes of the Pacific Northwest in the food and beer garden.

“It has always been our mission to create a festival that would shine a light on the amazing sound of the Pacific Northwest. We couldn’t be happier that the first year of Upstream brought together so many members of the music community and music lovers from around the region,” said Jeff Vetting, executive director, Upstream Music Fest + Summit. “We want to thank all of our artists, speakers, and sponsors for their incredible support and participation this inaugural year, and we look forward to the future.”

“The experience of walking through Pioneer Square over the last three days, hearing so many of the region’s most promising bands and seeing attendees discover new talent has been surreal,” said Meli Darby, Upstream curator. “This is what the music scene in the Northwest is all about—discovering new music and people collaborating across genres and styles.”


“Through close collaboration between the neighborhood and Upstream, the residents and businesses successfully welcomed more than 30,000 visitors to Pioneer Square,” said Karen True of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “We were honored to give event attendees a sense of what makes our neighborhood and its thriving creative spirit so exceptional.”

Key Highlights from Upstream Music Fest + Summit

  • Following his opening keynote address on May 11, Quincy Jones spent time with students from Garfield High School, his alma mater, and spoke to them about how his time at the school fostered his early career development.
  • During his keynote discussion on May 12, Macklemore shared an unprecedented look into his personal history and gave an empowering charge to the Seattle music community to come together and support the local scene. He also touched on the streaming world’s influence on the dynamic music industry, noting, “it’s already changed since I started this sentence.”
  • Mainstage shows at CenturyLink featured Deep Sea Diver, Beat Connection, AlunaGeorge and Flying Lotus. The main stage closed out strongly with Snarky Puppy, Jay Park, Dinosaur Jr. and Shabazz Palaces.
  • Star Anna and Thunderpussy opened the Mike McCready stage to full houses, followed by McCready himself at the HocketyTalkter stage he curated at Comedy Underground. The Thermals also packed the room at Comedy Underground in a stage curated by Showbox Presents.
  • Upstream founder Paul Allen was spotted at 88 Keys checking out Bill Laurance on Friday. He also hit the Main Stage, presented by Amazon, for Flying Lotus and Snarky Puppy. Quincy Jones was spotted at Court in the Square giving a personal introduction to each of his artists and delighting attendees at his curated stage.
  • Upstream art installation, Liminal Passage, was a hit with consistent lines of people waiting to experience the piece.


Upstream Music Fest + Summit by the Numbers

  • 30,000 attendees experienced Upstream Music Fest + Summit throughout the weekend
  • An estimated additional 5,000 joined in on the free festivities:
    • Attending 9 shows programmed by KEXP in Occidental Park
    • Engaging with the 7 art installations throughout the festival footprint; and
    • Enjoying the food and beer garden in the North Lot of CenturyLink Field
  • No single genre or style defines the Northwest and Upstream’s final lineup of 360 bands featured a diverse mix of rock, hip-hop, electronic, pop, R&B, soul, jazz, folk and more.
    • 8 artists performed at the main stage, all exemplifying the Upstream mission with their shared passion for delivering creative live performances and their support of emerging artists
    • 40+ buskers provided entertainment between venues throughout the Pioneer Square footprint
  • 55 local music influencers Guest Curated 25+ stages resulting in more than 390 performances
    • An additional 5 venues were available to VIP ticket holders and were also programmed with surprise shows
  • Four Summit keynote speakers – Macklemore, Quincy Jones, Dr. Portia Sabin and Ron Jones – made the Upstream Summit a can’t miss industry event.
  • They were joined at the Summit by more than 70 breakout session speakers at 24 breakout sessions representing artists, the music industry, industries like tech, gaming, design and regional community organizations.
  • Upstream harnessed technology to deliver a great experience for artists and attendees that foster collaboration at the Summit and music discovery at the Fest. More than 70% of attendees downloaded the app and:
    • Spent on average 42 minutes in the app
    • Played more than 29,000 songs, an average of 76 times per band
    • Favorited more than 45,000 artists in the schedule
    • Participated in 336 Braindates at the Summit

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About the Author

Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, Whats Trendings CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.

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