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Capitol Hill Block Party 2017 Panel Series

Now in its fourth year, the CHBP panel series will offer two panel discussions on Friday, July 21 at Grimm’s on Capitol Hill. The panel series is designed to foster dialogue between local arts and business communities. Participants will include KEXP DJ Troy Nelson, Emily Nokes from Seattle band Tacocat, and Legendary DJ Marco Collins, among others.

The event begins at noon with a networking lunch followed by a 1 p.m. panel designed to help artists navigate today’s music industry and ecosystem and a 2 p.m. discussion about artists’ ability to affect change in our current political and social climate. The event is free and open to the public, and will finish just before gates open for the 2017 Capitol Hill Block Party at 3 p.m.

The panels are sponsored by Capitol Hill Block Party and their PR partners Porter Novelli and produced by local publicity firm Lo Flux Media and volunteer webzine NadaMucho.com.

CHBP Panel Details

Band Survival and Strategy in a Post-Big Industry World
Moderator: Kelly Fleek –Lo Flux Media / The Spider Ferns

  • Jodi Ecklund – MoWave / Pink Parts
  • Marco Collins – 107.7 The End/  The Glamour & Squalor/ KEXP/ VH1
  • Matt Ashworth – WE Communications / NadaMucho.com / Capitol Hill Block Party
  • Leigh Bezezekoff – Tractor Tavern / Macefield Music Festival
  • Troy Nelson – KEXP / Killroom Records / The Young Evils

Resistance as Art: Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality as the Artist’s Platform for Change
Moderator: Kelly Fleek – Lo Flux Media / The Spider Ferns

  • Carlos Tulloss – Afrocop / Screens
  • EJ Tolentino – CHARMS
  • Emily Nokes – Tacocat / BUST Magazine
  • Irene Barber –Dust Moth/ Erik Blood /XVII Eyes
  • Sasha Bolof – STRES

Interview with Kelly Fleek

I recently caught up with Kelly Fleek (CHBP panel moderator/Lo Flux Media/Spider Ferns), to get some insight about this event.

the mixtape: As a moderator I’m sure you’ll have many questions for each panel member. In your opinion, however, what do you think band survival and strategy in a post-big industry world is?

Kelly Fleek: Band survival today is about navigation —finding your compass in an industry that itself has no clear direction.  Being a musician has always been a series of trust falls, leaps of faith and endless hard work.  Today, infinite possibilities exist to bring your music to the masses, which is both exciting and daunting:  It’s easy to get lost in a sea of options and opinions, but never before have artists had more tools at our disposal to take control of our art and distribution.

tm: The first panel is going to be focused on helping artists navigate today’s music industry and ecosystem. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges with navigation within the music industry?

KF: The industry is immense and decentralized, it’s a multiverse.  Artists themselves have always been unique entities in a world that once had a clear set of rules of engagement. The challenge now is how to make your presence known and garner attention for your work in a galaxy of options. The exciting thing to me, is success is truly by personal design: every artist has to decide what success means to them and set their goals accordingly. It’s more akin to having a small business than working for a corporation, but working for a corporation is still an option.

tm: Have you found from being in the industry that the survival rate in a post big industry world is not good and is/has taken down bands because they just don’t know what to do?

KF: I don’t feel bands are folding over confusion. I feel it’s always been a labor of love to be a musician and keep a band together. Most of the bands I encounter both as a musician and a publicist don’t know what they should be doing.  Most artists just want to create and perform. I know this is certainly true for me as an artist. That’s the eternal struggle. The ‘big’ industry is and has been a massive capitalist machine that has only benefited a small percentage of artists in the past. Right now, I often feel the industry is racing to keep up with the flood of artists and innovations.

tm: How do you think gender, race, class, and sexuality play a role not only in the Seattle music scene but in the music scene in general?

KF: There are many ways of interpreting this question. Women, POC, LGBTQ musicians —are all bringing their creativity, their truths and their struggles to our music scene. We face a disproportionately uphill struggle in a largely white, male dominated industry rife with racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism.

Seattle has myriad music scenes in a city that is growing and gentrifying at such a rate that it’s become increasingly difficult to maintain artist spaces and venues in the shadow of high rise density.  The financial opportunities that our tech industries bring also serve to push artists to the margins and often out of the city. Combined with our current political climate, many artists feel pushed out of neighborhoods that have provided safety, stability and resources to create, perform and build community.  Women, POC, and LGBTQ individuals are particularly hard pressed by the shifting cultural dynamic and financial pressures the city is facing.  This same circumstance is reflected nationally and worldwide.

tm: Why is it important that these panels exist?

KF: These panels exists to create dialogue and enrich our music community by providing an inclusive and safe opportunity to share knowledge, network with one another and to provide a platform for voices that are often overlooked in the larger music industry. Ultimately, we are all working together to succeed.

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