Sunday marks exactly 50 years since Jimi Hendrix electrified the crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival, setting his guitar on fire and ushering in the Summer of Love.
So it’s only fitting that after years of talking, planning, and fundraising, Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix Park makes its official debut.
Much like Jimi transformed music, the park is the transformation of 2.5 acres of undeveloped land in Seattle’s Central District into a celebration of his life and music.
Project manager Maisha Barnett says it’s a vital part of preserving his legacy in a number of ways
“One, the park is located in the neighborhood Jimi grew up in. It’s also a space that celebrates his life, not his death, which is represented in all aspects of the park,” she said.
The new park is adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum.
The landscape is shaped like a guitar. Pathways spiral out like peddles of a flower. Along the neck of the “guitar” is a chronological timeline of Jimi’s life, according to Barnett.
Barnett says on the outer edge of the timeline are lyrics to the songs Angel and Little Wing.
It is a city park, but it took far more than tax dollars to bring it to fruition. Donations and grants from a number of private and corporate donors helped the non-profit Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation supplement the public money needed to create the park.
Barnett says the goal was to create a true living space that regularly showcases live music.
To officially christen the new park, the foundation will host a grand opening celebration from Noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. It’ll feature appearances and special live performances from a number of top local artists including Seattle guitar wizard Ayron Jones, Singer Grace Love, and up and coming rock greats the Hollers.
But most important, it’s another chance to remember the incredible artistry and talent that emerged from Seattle’s Central District.