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Upstream Music Festival [Reign City Stage]

  • Pioneer Square Seatte, Wa US (map)


Paul Allen’s love of live music will be showcased by a wide-ranging group of artists when the Microsoft co-founder’s inaugural Upstream Music Fest and Summit takes over Seattle’s Pioneer Square this spring.

The initial lineup of musical acts, unveiled on Thursday, includes more than 100 performers from Seattle and beyond. The local and global appeal of the lineup is meant to demonstrate Upstream’s commitment to supporting creative, emerging artists.

Main stage acts for the event, which runs May 11-13, will include Flying Lotus, AlunaGeorge, Shabazz Palaces, Snarky Puppy, Beat Connection and others.

“Seattle has always benefitted from a vibrant music community, but more than ever this music community deserves more exposure, resources and attention,” Jeff Vetting, executive director of Upstream, said in a news release. “Upstream is intended to help fill a void, with a festival for music lovers of all ages to discover and support emergent artists — and a summit that brings the industry together for thoughtful conversations around the most pressing issues and opportunities facing artists.”

The lineup for the summit portion of the event was previously announced and includes producer and composer Quincy Jones, hip-hop star Macklemore, and Portia Sabin, president of the independent record label Kill Rock Stars, as keynote speakers. That conference-style gathering is intended to offer insight and allow attendees to seek solutions for how to succeed in the changing music economy.

Upstream curator Meli Darby said that the diverse festival lineup will play on a main stage, a free public stage, and curated stages at venues around the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood “for a unique, intimate experience.”

Allen’s love of music is well documented, especially in his founding of Seattle’s Experience Music Project, which is now the Museum of Pop Culture. Vetting previously told GeekWire that the billionaire philanthropist devised Upstream because he wanted “artists here in the Pacific Northwest to have as many opportunities as they can to pursue their music passion and to be noticed.”