40 Bands, 10 Writers, 2 Days, 4 Stages, Zero Dollars. This is Big Ass Boom Box.
Now in its second year, Big Ass Boom Box continues to grow and it continues to help introduce up and coming bands from our eclectic, ever evolving music scene to you, the lover of local music. Besides aural pleasure of the musical variety, Big Ass Boom Box will also be bringing you some of the best literary talent this city has to offer. I had a chance to chat with Adam Prairie, one of the many, many people behind putting together this super rad two day event. Read our chat below to learn more about how this event came to be and why this festival is an important addition to our city’s music and literary scene.
Big Ass Boombox is taking place on four stages in Belltown on January 2nd and January 3rd.
The Crocodile is hosting two all ages stages, 2312 Gallery is hosting one all ages stage, and The Upstairs is Hosting one 21+ stage.
Oh! Wanna volunteer at Big Ass Boom Box? Go here to find out how.
the mixtape: What was the inspiration to first put together the Big Ass Boom Box?
Adam Prairie: A couple of our buddies in Portland originally had the idea, so they started Big Ass Boombox in Portland a few years ago. One of those said buddies, Eirean Bradley, told me that he knew so many great bands that didn’t have a whole lot of exposure yet and who all seemed relatively unaware of one another. It also seemed like such an awesome idea to host an all ages and free event to remove any barrier that was keeping bands and potential fans from finding one another. Eirean invited the Hoot Hoots to play at the second PDX Boombox, and we just thought it was too cool of an idea to only do it in Portland. So we got together with folks from the Jesus Rehab, Julia Massey, the Great Um, Friends and Family, and other buddy local bands to make it a reality. And here we are in year 2!
tm: Are there any major differences with this years Boom Box as compared to last year?
AP: We have the same amount of stages as last year, but this year, our third stage changed from the Rendezvous to the 2312 Gallery, which is this awesome art space on Second just a block and half north of the Crocodile. That switch has allowed us to make the entire music portion of the festival all ages. Also, this years literary stage will be hosted at the Upstairs, which is also right across the street from the Crocodile.
tm: How did you go about choosing the bands that are playing the fest this year?
AP: Well, for the programming this year, I wanted to make sure that we had a good mix of previous Boombox participants with new finds. Great new bands are always popping up in this city, so the booking portion of the Boombox planning is this fun opportunity to really dig in and find some bands are awesome that were under my radar a bit.
tm: Where do you see the fest in 2, 5, 10 years?
AP: In the foreseeable future, it would be cool to host smaller Boombox events throughout the year, maybe even a summer outdoor version. However, we would need to procure more funding to make that happen. We’re currently run completely on a volunteer basis and held financially afloat from generous donations from local businesses like Tom Douglas Restaurants, Equal Exchange, American Music, and others, and we are so grateful for their support. The core elements of the festival though (free, all ages, focus on local, emerging talent), I don’t see that changing. That’s where we want the focus to be, and that focus means that there’s not a any pressure to turn the event into a Sasquatch-level experience. So yeah, other than maybe adding an event or two over the year, I’m pretty happy with how the festival has shaped up the last two years.
tm: Why is this festival important?
AP: Well, one reason this festival is important is that smaller venues, the ones where most musicians cut their teeth in Seattle, have been steadily vanishing from the scene for a while now. Big Ass Boombox doesn’t solve that problem, but it at least gives young and hungry bands one additional opportunity to try to find an audience in this city. Plus, Big Ass Boombox is an opportunity for local music lovers to become engaged with their local music scene, perhaps for the first time. Everyone who has put their time and effort into this festival really loves this city and its music community, so it’s gratifying to be able to band together and give something back.