A Brief History of the KEXP Gathering Space

Best Radio Station for Music: KEXP

Since its grand opening just over a year ago, KEXP’s Gathering Space has welcomed listeners for special events and concerts, or sometimes just a cup of joe from in-house coffee shop La Marzocco and a view of the DJ booth. Lisa LeClaire and Caroline O’Keefe, who work at the station in Guest Services (among other roles), have watched the Space grow, and have picked up some favorite moments.

April 16, 2016

Grand Opening LeClaire: “From the minute we opened the doors, it just filled with people. Grace Love did this rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ to start it off and people were already crying.”

May 6, 2016

Prince Memorial: Nothing Compares 2 U O’Keefe: “People [were] coming into the Gathering Space and coming up to the front desk in tears. They didn’t know what to do, and they were requesting Prince songs. A couple of us at the station were like, ‘We need to do something.’ … It was a beautiful service.”

August 29, 2016

Caspar Babypants O’Keefe: “We were packed for that. It was a noontime performance. I got to go to lunch. Everybody else had to hang out with 300 babies… . Oddly enough, that was the one show that no one paid attention to the ‘Stay off the stage’ sign.’’

November 2016

The Great Power Outage of Queen Anne O’Keefe: “The whole Lower Queen Anne area and other parts of the community had lost power for several hours. People were calling the station asking if we had power. We just ended up turning the Gathering Space into a makeshift shelter. Everybody was forced to share the space and make room for their neighbor. The coffee shop was giving people free water, and I brought out extension cords for people to plug in and charge their phones.”

January 20, 2017

Bed-In for Peace LeClaire: “People came in and sang, John and Riz were on the stage just talking about things—just kind of bringing people together that were struggling with that day. This girl had a little basket of flowers that she was doling out to people. In the end Sean Nelson led the entire crowd in a rendition of ‘Give Peace a Chance,’ and so the entire space was singing this song.”

May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell Memorial LeClaire: “We had a bouquet of flowers and a picture of Chris Cornell that we were going to put up. But all of the rest of the stuff that was on the stage, that was just brought over that whole morning and afternoon. Cheryl and John and Riz got up and their speeches were just amazing. Everyone was crying. Riz had all these stories to share and he had people laughing and crying, and that’s kind of what it’s all about. That’s what we wanted to have here.”

June 28, 2017

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) LeClaire: “They’re a very energetic band, and the front man, Nic Offer, is just very charismatic and full of energy and all over the stage. He turns around and he sees the DJ booth [which] is attached to the stage. He knows that there are people in there and so he’s trying to get their attention, but the problem is the DJ booth is 100 percent soundproof, so they weren’t seeing him. He put his mouth up against the glass and was blowing on it and dancing around. They still weren’t paying attention, so he then turned around and pulled down his pants and pressed his butt up against the DJ booth window. It had to be cleaned at the end of the day.”