By Todd Hamm
Special to The Seattle Times
When The Seattle Weekly pulled the plug on its sixth Reverb local-music festival with a full roster of musicians still expecting to play, a group of Ballard-area folks (which includes former Reverb booker Kwab Copeland and KEXP DJ Hannah Levin) stepped in with the intention of continuing the lively spirit of the all-day event, seasoned with a few new ideas of their own.
Though still culled exclusively from the deep well of Puget Sound talent, the lineup for the rebranded Macefield Music Festival was held to 27, down from Reverb’s nearly 60 in recent years. The venues were also kept to a tighter radius, utilizing only three Ballard Avenue staples: Conor Byrne Pub, the Sunset Tavern and Tractor Tavern.
With a name taken from stubborn old-Ballard icon Edith Macefield, who famously refused to sell her small house to Ballard Blocks’ building developers for $1 million (the house was also notably donned with helium balloons by Disney/Pixar publicists to promote the film “Up”), the fest strives to be “an affordable way to explore the current landscape of Seattle music while celebrating the steadfast attitude of the dearly departed Ms. Macefield,” according to the event’s website.
The streamlined concept presents a well-defined cross section of the local scene, which boasts a diplomatic selection of electronic (USF, Kid Simpl, Vox Mod), heavy rock (Princess, Constant Lovers), hip-hop (ILLFIGHTYOU, Jarv Dee, Key Nyata, Keyboard Kid), country/folk (Davidson Hart Kingsbury, the Ganges River Band), indie pop (Learning Team, LURES, The Intelligence), R & B/funk (Afrocop, Funky 2 Death) and even classical (Lori Goldston).
The more accessible festival grounds should encourage venue hopping and provide the opportunity to fill out an eclectic schedule of acts.
The lack of an all-ages stage is one noticeable drawback to the new team’s scaled-down approach, but given the limited amount of time the team had to pull things together, the first Macefield Music Festival has already exceeded expectations.