In a recent phone interview, The Hype Magazine had the chance to interview the UpStream Music Fest + Summit Director Jeff Vetting. This event will take place on May 11th through May 13th in Pioneer Square located in Seattle Washington. During this interview, Vetting talked about a variety of different subjects from what inspired the idea of this type of event, the performer selection process, and how the executive board was assembled. The entire interview can be seen below.
Can you tell us what inspired the idea of this type of festival?
This particular idea came from Paul Allen who is The Founder of our company. He asks a group of people to come up with the best way to help emerging artists in the Pacific Northwest make it to the next level of success in the music industry. Whether that being regional, national, and finally, worldwide acclaim. So, the group explored different models, whether that was a club, traditional festival, or a conference. The model that seem to make the best sense from our standpoint that was geared towards the artists will be the festival and conference model. Upstream will be a three-day event in Seattle Washington on May 11th through May 13th, 2017. The conference will take place on Thursday and Friday during the day and the festival will take place in the evening of those three days. There will be 25 plus showcase venues around Pioneer Square neighborhood and then on Friday and Saturday, we will also have a big stage in North plaza area of CenturyLink Field.
How was the executive board assembled?
The executive board was created by Vulcan and Rebecca Camarda she actually works directly with Paul Allen. She then reached out and recruited myself, and then I was fortunate enough to bring on Melissa Darby as our Event curator from The Crocodile, we also have Dave Aust who is in charge of sponsorship sales formerly of Live Nation. We are currently trying to assemble the rest of the team as we speak. Being that we are operating under the Vulcan umbrella we have access to their communication and marketing department. These are the same individuals that work with the Seattle Art Museum, New Orleans Food & Funk Festival and some of our other affiliates.
What is the selection process when picking performers?
Melissa Darbi has 18 years of success in booking shows around the Seattle area, and she runs her own production company “ReignCity” So, she will be leading the efforts and we have identified celebrities and other curators along with submissions. Artists can sign up on our webpage “upstreammusicfest.com”, where we will be listening to all of these submissions.
Will the performers mainly be Seattle-based artists or a mixture of mainstream too?
We will have 200 bands and artists performing during this three-day event, with 75 percent being Pacific Northwest (Boise, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver), and the rest of the surrounding area. In addition, the other 25% will be mainstream artists. Our main goal is to create a platform to help artists at all levels receive exposure for their artistry.
Can you tell us what roles Starbucks and Visit Seattle will have during this event?
Visiting Seattle will be handling all the hospitality arrangements for all of the artists and other individuals flying in for this event. Officially they are our coffee sponsor, but they do have their own music division and we are working with them to curate some events. There will be two sections at our event, we also have partnerships with Centurylink Field, KEXP Radio Station, and the Alliance for Pioneer Square. We want this be a community event where everyone has a chance to participate.
What genre of music do you like to listen too?
I tend to listen to all genres and I hope that has a major imprint on this festival. We are trying to represent as many genres as we possibly can, to help people discover artists that they normally would not have access to before this event.
Will this be a recurring event like south by southwest in Austin Texas?
That is the normal comparison and we love what they have been able to accomplish. Our mission is to stay true to the emerging artists. In fact, we would like to be where they were 25 years ago as a music platform. The objective of this event is to showcase our music scene across a variety of different genre.
Eventually, are you trying to attract music executives to come to this event in the future?
We would love for some of those companies to attend this event, but the main goal is to highlight some of our own independent labels such as; Sub Pop Records, Tooth & Nail Record Co, Light In The Attic Record Shop, and Medical Records.
Why do you think Seattle artists have had a hard time making it in the music industry ?
I think geography plays a major factor because Seattle is so far away from Los Angeles and New York compared to other cities like Washington DC, Philadephia, Boston, The Bay and all the other surrounding cities in the Los Angeles area. This is a great opportunity to see a variety of different genres in one place and all the Labels that are in attendance can see the talent on a broader scale. Instead of flying in to see a couple acts or needing to fly them in into their offices.
How can someone sign up to work at this event?
We have a section on our website upstreammusicfest.com to contact us to inquire about open positions for this event.