Chloe Sarmiento

Capitol Hill Block Party 2023

Music Scene Media
Jul 24, 2023
7 min read

If there is any explicit symbol indicating summer in Seattle, it’s the Capitol Hill Block Party, presented by Daydream State. In the vibrant and diverse Capitol Hill neighborhood, this three-day music and arts festival is dubbed the "best weekend of summer." Dozens of local and national acts step into the spotlight, showcasing their talents across numerous bars, outdoor stages, and restaurants, creating an unforgettable experience for all attendees. Sofi Tukker, Denzel Curry, and Louis The Child headlining was the perfect way to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary. Any live-music fanatic would be mistaken to skip this festival.

As gates opened at 3 p.m. on Friday, music fans from across the city and beyond flocked to the festival grounds and settled in. Music aside, the festival presented dozens of food and drink options as well as interactive experiences, like a Fujifilm pop-up and confessional booth. Celsius and Yerba Mate were the hits of the festival, as you could barely step 10 feet without seeing someone holding a can. Yet, with such a packed lineup on all different stages, caffeine was necessary to get through the jam-packed weekend.

The crowd at the Main Stage on Day 1 of Capitol Hill Block Party 2023. (Photo / Chloe Sarmiento)

The Vera Stage was held down by acts like Momma and Rebecca Black. Most of the acts spanned across multiple genres, nevertheless, each artist brought all the energy to the side stage. From Momma’s relaxed early set to Rebecca Black’s bedazzled chainsaw stage prop matching her electro-pop tunes, the Vera Stage proved it was the place to be.

Momma at Capitol Hill Block Party 2023. (Photo / Chloe Sarmiento)

Over at the Main Stage, Goth Babe brought a shockingly large crowd that filled the street. The artist from Tennessee got his stage name from the Surf Curse song released in 2013- A noteworthy connection as Surf Curse is scheduled to take the stage at Day In Day Out next month.

From throwing cupcakes into the crowd to passing around a life-sized Bob Ross cutout, the set could have been mistaken for the main act. The artist constantly interacted with the crowd and was sure to prove his love for the Pacific Northwest.

In true headliner fashion, Sofi Tukker took the Main Stage with the most eye-catching stage setup, complemented by bright pink and yellow lights. Under the colorful hues, the electronic duo was hyper and bounced around the stage, which radiated into the crowd as the fans danced along. Sofi Tukker seemed to have left the traditional EDM performance behind as they showed up with a dynamic take on modern house music. Among their hits, they also included a rendition of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, in honor of the recent Barbie movie release. The duo was the most appropriate choice for a first-night headliner and set the bar high for acts to follow. 

Day two was jam-packed with popular artists, to the point where many, including me, ran between stages during overlapping sets. From Between Friends, Spill Tab, MUNA, redveil, and Denzel Curry, there was always an act to catch at the festival.

Both Between Friends and MUNA brought an electric performance to the Main Stage, while Spill Tab and redveil took over the Vera Stage. The act to see this day was redveil, as the crowds' vibes were unmatched. The 19-year-old rapper showed that he has a natural stage presence and an ability to control the crowd, which was evident by the audience going absolutely crazy in the pit. Despite the set being somewhat short, redveil utilized the allotted time and left the festival-goers with a set to remember.

Walking around the festival grounds, the stages weren’t the only places that had people going crazy. From the the Coca-Cola pop-up to the Fujifilm interactive experience, there was always something to do and the festival clearly caters to its non-music side as well.

Arriving at the set closer to 11 p.m., Denzel Curry took over the Main Stage and injected energy into the crowd immediately. Despite breaking into the industry over a decade ago, Curry is still a force to be reckoned with. It became transparent that he is a tactical artist, and his ability to command the fans was clearly his strongest trait. With that, paired with his introspective and thought-provoking lyrics, he is all-around a great artist and the Capitol Hill Block Party was the place to be that night.

Dreadfully, day three rolled around as the festival came to a bittersweet end. The bar was set high by the previous performers, but hip-hop artists like Rico Nasty and MAVI, indie-rocker binki, and electronic DJs like Surf Mesa and Louis The Child, closed out the festival like no other. 

Loud chants of “Rico! Rico! Rico!” roared from the Main Stage crowd as they anticipated the rapper's arrival. Rico Nasty knocked her set out of the park, from her outfit, to fan interaction, to stage presence. Since emerging into the rap scene in 2017, the artist has only skyrocketed in popularity and success, and we can now see why. The Maryland native turned the energy to 100 and surpassed any and all expectations for the set. 

Similar to last year's closing day with Diplo, the three-day festival ended with a DJ set- And nobody was complaining. Nearing 9 p.m., Louis The Child walked onto the platform, with a stage setup comprised of an LED crown fixture in front of the DJ booth and darting overhead stage lights. At this point in the night, so many fans crowded the main stage to the point where it was challenging to distinguish the audience from a pack of sardines. A mixture of feelings filled the air, including excitement for the set and melancholy due to the festival nearing its end. 

The overall production was eye-catching with streamers shooting into the crowd immediately during the first song and lasers beaming throughout the set. Louis The Child's music experimented with heavy bass drops that revived the crowd for one last show. 

Louis The Child at Capitol Hill Block Party 2023. (Photo / Chloe Sarmiento)

Many sources warned that Seattle would be busy this weekend, due to other events in the vicinity like a two-day back-to-back Taylor Swift concert, baseball games, the Bite of Seattle, and more. However, it was evident that the Capitol Hill Block Party was far from the wrong choice. No matter which part of the festival you were at, there was always something to do or see. Not only were people on the streets of the festival, but many crowded the windows of surrounding buildings to get a birds-eye view of the action.

The musical acts brought to the table varied across dozens of genres, if not more. However, they all fit together cohesively to produce an unforgettable festival experience and we are already looking forward to next year!

Daydream State is also presenting Day In Day Out next month, in the heart of the city, and the lineup is unmatched, consisting of artists like Leon Bridges, Dominic Fike, and Bon Iver, so be sure to grab a ticket while you can!

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