Macefield Picks Up

For those unfamiliar with the local history that inspired this festival’s name, a quick lesson. In 2006, octogenarian Edith Macefield refused to sell her Ballard home to commercial real-estate developers, famously turning down a $1 million offer for her property. The striking image of her tiny home surrounded by five-story concrete walls during the construction project stood as a testament both to her stubbornness and to her love of the heretofore working-class neighborhood where she lived.

It stands to reason, then, that the festival bearing Macefield’s name is also informed by civic pride. In August, Seattle Weekly announced the cancellation of Reverb, a showcase of local music that had been running for eight years. Shortly thereafter, talent booker Kwab Copeland, who’d programmed Reverb for the duration of its history, and three other Seattle music-industry veterans stepped in to resurrect the festival under a new name. All four organizers sport tattoos of Macefield’s house, and they saw that Reverb added value to the Ballard community.

Aside from the name, not much has changed for the festival. Many of the venues are the same, and the lineup was selected by Seattle Weekly ’s music staff and contributors. The festival remains a diverse cross-section of Seattle’s musical talent, as well as a place to catch up-and-coming local acts before they blow up—the 2007 festival, for instance, saw Fleet Foxes and Macklemore perform three hours apart at the Sunset Tavern.

Macefield this year may not boast the next Macklemore, but it has its share of rising talent. Tacoma rap collective ILLFIGHTYOU headlines a strong slate of hip-hop rounded out by Jarv Dee and Key Nyata; producers Kid Smpl and Vox Mod are the best of the fest’s electronic music; and on the rock front, fresh faces like LURES and Learning Team are buoyed by veteran acts like The Intelligence and Constant Lovers.

It’s tough to say what Macefield would think of the music—she preferred opera—but it’s not hard to imagine she’d appreciate the community-building sentiment behind this new-but-old festival.

 
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