Summer Down South: A Roundup of Live Music and Block Parties in August

by Amanda Ong

Last week, we interviewed up-and-coming local and BIPOC musical artists performing in the city this summer. These artists are just a few of the many incredible singers and musicians in the South End, who are part of a thriving and vibrant local music scene.

Even as the end of summer approaches, there are still plenty of opportunities to see concerts, attend festivals, and go out for block parties. The emerald has brought together a number of fantastic events – many of which are free – where you can listen to live music before the summer ends and, above all, support local artists, vendors and businesses.

Although not covered in this list, check out places like Beacon Hill’s clock fair and Columbia City The royal bedroom and Living Room Rumba Notes for more shows. For other arts happenings, check out our August Southern Arts Roundup.

Entertainment all summer
The patio: Avenue Rainier South and Rue Ferdinand South

A crowd enjoys a Beatwalk event earlier this summer, dancing in the street with a smile
A crowd enjoys a Beatwalk event earlier this summer. (Photo: ArtBy FREDERICK)

For 28 years, Beatwalk has been bringing incredible live music to Columbia City every summer. Free events for all ages feature local musicians hosted by neighborhood businesses. On June 24, he had his first Pride-themed Beatwalk. The final two Beatwalk events will take place on August 20 and 28. Facebook page for more details as they are announced.

August 13, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
East Pike Street and 11th Ave.

Although technically a pop-up market with vendors selling handmade goods, vintage clothing and street fashion, On the Block also features art activations, live music and DJs. sets. On the Block is free and takes place every second Saturday from May through October on 11th Avenue between East Pike Street and East Pine Street on Capitol Hill. The August 13 event will feature DJ Dark Wiley and co-musical curators Dadabassed and Vitamin D. Follow On the Block on instagram for artist announcements.

August 13 to 20, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Historic Nihonmachi/Japantown

This annual block party celebrates the businesses and community of historic Nihonmachi/Japantown in CID. Participating companies, such as Kobo at Higo, Itsumomo and Pioneer Barber, will have special events and live music will be provided by Seattle Kokon Taiko.

August 13-14
Pier 62, 1951 Alaskan Way

The eighth annual Madaraka Festival returns August 13-14 to downtown Pier 62, featuring African food, art and a line-up of musical artists from Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the South Sudan, as well as local artists. Hosted by One Vibe Africa, Madaraka Fest seeks to foster connections between Africa and Seattle’s African Diaspora communities, and all are welcome. Read Emerald’s recent event preview for more details. The festival is free with RSVP.

August 14, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Othello Park, 4351 S. Othello St.

This 14-year community celebration takes place at Othello Park and Playground, one block east of the Othello light rail stop. There will be live performances from neighborhood bands like Northwest Wushu Martial Arts, Samoan Siva Dance Group, and Washington Diamond Drilling Team. More than 90 vendors will be present, offering local and handmade products, dishes from Delish Ethiopian Cuisine, and more. Check emeraldrecent overview of the event.

August 19-20, 5-10 p.m.
Jefferson Park, 3801 Beacon Ave S.

Returning for a second year, Bazzookafest brings together a lineup of incredible black artists, including Shaina Shepherd, Bijoux, Rainbow Coalition Deathcult, Da Qween, and more to come. The free festival kicks off on Friday, August 20 with Bazzooka Ball by queer collective BeautyBoiz. The musical guests will take the stage on Saturday. There will also be a market with all BIPOC suppliers.

From August 20 to 21, from 2 p.m.
Airport Tavern, 5406 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma
Tickets start at $50

Reggae fan? Look no further than Tacoma’s annual tradition of Reggae on the Way, filling two blocks between LeMay – America’s Car Museum and the Tacoma Dome in south Tacoma with two days of full reggae music. See music bands like reggae-rock irritationhip hop duo AtmosphereHawaiian reggae-pop ensemble Kolohe Kaiand Jamaican singer-songwriter prototype. Single-day and multi-day tickets are available through See Tickets website.

August 20, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
900 King Street S.

The Chinatown-International District Block Party is a day-long musical and artistic celebration of the region’s many Asian American communities. There will be an art walk, food walk, car show, beer garden and later in the evening an outdoor movie at Hing Hay Park. The musical guest list has not yet been announced, so check out the official list website Where Instagram account for current info.

August 26-27
Port of Olympia, 1210 Marine Dr. NE, Olympia
Tickets start at $35

Fifteen live bands, games, food trucks and a beer garden, all on the beautiful shores of Puget Sound. See acts like Courtney Marie Andrews and bullyas well as local acts, such as The cave singers and The home team. Tickets are on sale on the South Sound Block Party websitewith options for single-day and multi-day passes.

August 28, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
16th Ave. SW between Southwest Roxbury Street and Southwest 100th Street
Free; wristbands for additional purchase

After a series of vandalism and arson in 2021, neighbors and local businesses decided to come together to celebrate with the first White Center Block Party. Now in its second year, the White Center Block Party continues to be a free family event that helps support local businesses, bars and restaurants. Although the event is free, wristbands are available for purchase on the White Center Block Party website which offer special discounts at participating suppliers. Follow her instagram consider announcements regarding vendors and performers.

September 2 to 4
White River Amphitheater, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Rd.
Tickets start at $25

Auburn’s Labor Day weekend will see a major rock festival. This year’s program includes incubus, Sublime with Rome, Chained Alice, Break Benjamin with Bush, Sammy Hagar and the circle, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and much more. Tickets are available for purchase at ticket master.But before Pain In The Grass begins, anyone can get a head start on the Pain In The Grass Kickoff Party on Wednesday, August 31to Moore Theater with the pretty Reckless and based in Seattle Ayron Jones.

Amanda Ong (she) is a Chinese-American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate in the University of Washington’s Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in Creative Writing and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

📸 Featured image: Select scenes from On the Block: DJ and producer cljlamar (left), singer and songwriter Maya Marie (center), resident artist and event volunteer Nya (top right), and beatmaker and audio producer Third Eye Bling (lower right). (Photos by Luis Orozco of exthindvisuals, courtesy of On the Block.)

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