Arts & Events

Decibel Festival provides much more than just consecutive concerts

On Sept. 26 through Sept. 30 a new community will be fostered. Not a community of solely musicians, disc jockeys, or recording technicians, but a community of artists. This community will develop under the umbrella of the Decibel Festival.

Decibel is much more than a music festival, it is a growth opportunity for consumers and creators of any media. Along with an impressive line-up of over 100 musical artists, Decibel provides showcases, workshops, conferences, and visual media installations.

“What’s cool is that it takes over the city,” KUPS general manager Nick Carroll said, “It’s at venues all over.”

Decibel has in the past had a knack of being on the forefront of the electronic industry of music. This is the 9th Decibel Festival to grace the city of Seattle. In past festivals Decibel has brought myriads of notable artists including “deadmau5” in his early career, and will more than likely continue to give strong starts to artists from all over.

In conversing with Nick Carroll and watching him overlook the line up he could point out all the artists that people would know, yet there were only a few that were so known. Otherwise the artists Carroll brought up were ones that were foreign, underground, or names even he did not recognize himself.

Well-known artists like Kimbra, Ariel Pink, Star Slinger, DJ Shadow and others will grace some of the 15 venues Decibel occupies. Rather than being a festival that would choose to bank on the success of their headliners, Decibel seems to keep a habit of thriving by being a festival of opportunity and new discoveries.

Another important name on the list of artists that lines up well with discovery on Decibel’s line-up is Robert Henke. Henke’s name resonates strongly with the electronic music industry, as he is one of the developers of Ableton Live, a music sequencing software that would prove crucial to future music mixing. Names such as Henke’s really embody the educational entertainment crafted by Decibel.

Whether a novice, moderate, or advanced Decibel attendee, the facilities provided by the festival are those that broaden the horizon of paths to take in order to indulge fully in the world of music.

Keeping with that tradition, the added aspects of showcases, workshops and conferences enable those interested in the industry to grow along with it. This year Windows sponsored a series of conferences on a wide array of matters. Notable titles include “Your Next Album Could Be A Video Game,” “Controllers are Instruments Too,” and “We Can’t All Wear Mousehats: Creating the OK Go Brand and Imagery.”

While one aspect of Decibel is focused on learning and growth, another important aspect to pair with both the music and information is the media, the images and visuals that are so often crucial to music along with a more personal experience of music.

Along with the general lineup of music, 22 different showcases appear on the festival schedule. In the spirit of the festival each showcase provides a confluence of all elements of media and music.

The visual portion of Decibel’s showcases titled as the “Optical Program” is described as a focus on “ambient, modern classical, experimental sound art, live video, films and installations” on the Decibel Festival website.

An intriguing example is 1970’s film being screened, yet during the screening, there will be a “live re-scoring” in which Demdlke Stare will score Jean Rollin’s “La Vampire Nue.” Allowing a key component of film, the score, to be experienced live. The final component of the Optical Program will host three artists as they create the artistic sense of their “ambient” sound. The way the Optical Program is crafted allows for the all of the senses to experience the art of music.

As a festival, Decibel moves beyond music, it becomes an experience, an education and a community. Along with a seemingly modern day Rousseau-like “learning through experience” Decibel also comes along with an opportunity for play.

In tandem with the festival, an impressive series of after parties will occur. One of particular note is being put on by Sweatbox. The after party begins at the end of Decibel, around the hour of 5 a.m. on Sunday and continuing indefinitely. For anyone over 21 it is at the Electric Tea Garden and is $10 at the door. An ambitious event after a long and exhilarating festival, yet still tempting as nearly anyone who has previously experienced Decibel would want to continue the event.

Considering the music, showcases, installations and conferences Decibel Festival is an adventure. One that spans across numerous venues, with many artists of all kinds, enabling an environment unlike any other musical gathering this coast has seen.

More information on Decibel Festival can be found at: