An FAQ with Upstream Music Fest + Summit Executive Director Jeff Vetting

No Comments 12 May 2017

An FAQ with Upstream Music Fest + Summit Executive Director Jeff Vetting

The inaugural Upstream Music Fest and Summit began this morning with an onstage interview between a Stranger Genius (Seattle musician/writer/treasure Ahamefule J. Oluo) and an unqualified genius (musician/producer/wizard Quincy Jones). Despite rumors of low ticket sales (Upstream reps did not respond to an inquiry on the subject), this event was well-attended and inspiring.

Author: Sean Nelson

As the rest of Upstream’s events and performances roll out over the next few days, I’ve heard a lot of people keep asking the same questions about the festival’s conception, while others have raised more pointed concerns about its relationship to the city’s arts community. I asked Jeff Vetting, executive director of Upstream, to address some of the lingering curiosity. Herewith, an FAQ:

1) There’s no delicate way to ask this, so here is the blunt way: Do we need another festival?
Absolutely. Emerging talent is the heart of any music scene and this event provides a unique platform for those artists. We see a need for an event that incorporates both a fest experience and a summit experience and have been really pleased with the response we’ve received so far. In addition to providing 300+ artists the opportunity to play at a music festival, we are bringing together the regional music industry with other major industries like tech, gaming and design to dig into the most pressing opportunities and challenges currently facing the music industry. We hope to give working bands more exposure and opportunities to make a living here and not have to move to another city to make it to the next level in the industry.

2) Why Pioneer Square?
Pioneer Square is a great neighborhood for this type of event and we’ve enjoyed working closely with the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the neighborhood. It has such a rich music history, fantastic businesses that will serve as unique venue spaces and it’s a hub for public transportation making it easily accessible. We’ve partnered with the Seattle Streetcar to offer festival-goers free rides and to operate later than normal, as well as with ReachNow to establish Drop Zones at the festival.

3) Why the emphasis on unconventional venues?
Pioneer Square is a neighborhood with a rich history and super cool venues that we really want to showcase. The variety of traditional and non-traditional venues in varying sizes is unparalleled and will provide attendees a unique experience with the artist.

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