The inaugural Upstream Music Fest + Summit, the brainchild of billionaire music fan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, kicked off in Seattle Thursday morning.
The focus of the event, running for three days throughout the city’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, is all about music discovery. Upstream is made up of a summit, with keynote speakers and discussions and workshops centered around the modern business of music, and a festival, with hundreds of emerging acts from the Pacific Northwest.
With more than 25 stages at a variety of venues and 300 artists representing diverse musical genres, Jeff Vetting, executive director of Upstream, called it “a snapshot of Pacific Northwest music in 2017.”
The Summit started Thursday with a keynote address from legendary producer Quincy Jones, titled “Making Hits For Every Decade: How The Music Industry is Adapting to The Streaming Model and Beyond.”
Jones was celebrated in opening remarks by King County Executive Dow Constantine, who told his own stories of how music influenced his upbringing in Seattle, and how Jones, or simply ‘Q,’ was and is “the coolest Seattleite ever.”
Ahamefule J. Oluo, a Seattle-based musician, composer, writer, and stand-up comedian, interviewed Jones in front of several hundred Summit attendees.
Jones called Paul Allen “the best” and said “he looks like a tech nerd, but he can play” guitar.
Other keynote speakers include Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore; Portia Sabin, president of the independent record label Kill Rock Stars; and Ron Jones, the TV and film composer.
Check back for updates on this developing story and for more from GeekWire throughout Upstream.