Paul Allen’s Upstream Music Festival Kicks off in the Pacific Northwest

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Day 1: Rain or shine, the music goes on. Crowds were soft, but potential is strong. 

It’s year one for Paul Allen and his ambitious take to create a Northwest version to South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in Austin, Texas. Paul Allen believes Seattle deserves a fresh take on a music festival, one that provide a platform for emerging artists to reach a bigger audience, and for music lovers hungry for good music to be able to discover it.

UpStream Music Festival is broken into two parts, FEST and SUMMIT. ‘Fest’ focuses on the music portion of the festival, and ‘Summit’ focuses on keynotes and speakers throughout the week.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers for this week:

  • Keynote Speakers at the Summit: 4
  • Breakout Sessions at the Summit: 24
  • Breakout Session Speakers at the Summit: 70+
  • Number of Stages at the Music Fest: 25+
  • Number of Trusted Local Influencers Curating the Stages: 55
  • Number of Artists Who Submitted to Play: 1,200+
  • Number of Artists at Music Fest: 300+

Thursday morning guests experienced conversations by legendary music producer Quincy Jones at the WaMu theater. The words “You can’t get anything going without those three things I mentioned before. Trust, respect and love” will be the lasting words for the attendees from the Summit.

The organizers of Upstream made it easy for attendees to follow their favorite music genres using the downloadable app, which has maps, performance times, and genre filters. With over 300+ artists, this comes in handy. Beyond the app, Upstream has offered free events and experiences for people not purchasing tickets, including the KEXP stage in Occidental Park, seven art activations, street performances throughout the festival footprint and the Upstream food and beer garden featuring over a dozen food trucks in the North Lot of CenturyLink.

As Paul Allen put it, “Upstream Music Fest is a walking mix tape.” You truly get that feeling as you walk venue to venue through Pioneer Square and hear such different sounds from each artist, from rock, hip-hop, electronic, pop, R&B, soul, jazz, folk and more.

Upstream has also made it super easy for ticket holders to digitally tip or leave messages for the artists using the app (first of its kind) as a way to help them out in their music career.

All-in-all, this is a great start for Paul Allen’s new music festival. We have the artists, the venue, now we need more Seattleites to back it. Once started as a music city, now a tech city, and now we’re seeing a convergence of the two.

Follow us on Instagram as we take Stories of our experience at Upstream.

Anna Imperati (Vulcan)Courtesy of Upstream Music Fest + Summit
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