In 2003, I founded Decibel Festival with the mission to redefine underground electronic music and visual art as a unified performance medium, while establishing the Pacific Northwest as a vital hub for electronic music culture in the United States. At the time, "laptop performance" was still shrouded in mystery and most electronic music performance consisted of turntables, CDJs, and a mixer. Electronic music in America had receded from the rave boom back to small communities of loyalists caring more about the music itself than its potential to generate revenue or fan base. This has been the community that has supported Decibel from day one and I'm thrilled they are still at the heart of Decibel today.
Fast forward to 10 years and electronic music is pervasive in nearly every facet of mainstream American culture and we continue to have mixed emotions regarding this surge. As avid supporters, performers, producers, and fans of electronic music for over 20 years, we can't help but feel nostalgic for a time when underground warehouse parties and independent record stores were the predominant outlet for electronic music discovery.
As much as the digital age has brought many advantages, it's important to remember how we got here and what it means. It's a balance between technology and creativity; innovation and nostalgia; popularity and obscurity. With each year I hope to build a program that encompasses all of these elements while retaining the integrity of a festival known for pushing the boundaries of both art and science.
Looking at our continued growth from our inaugural festival of 2,500 attendees in 2004 to 23,000+ attendees in 2011, I am faced with the challenge of assembling a compelling program that captures our past, present, and future. Although we're only mid-way through announcing this year's line-up, I believe that 2012 will be our most ambitious program. Based on the initial list of artists below we already have our most diverse program to date. This includes a strong international presence with 19 countries represented as well as 25% of the line-up featuring female artists, which is a historically high number based on other electronic music festivals. In addition, Decibel is continuing to embrace a wide spectrum of genres, venues, and activities designed to entertain, educate, and inspire attendees regardless of age or background. 2012 festival pass holders will be treated to 34 audio/visual showcases, an outdoor event, a three-day conference, and a film festival. In addition, Decibel will be co-curating and co-producing eight after-parties and five boat-parties, none of which will conflict with the festival schedule. As you begin to look at what we have in store this year, I encourage you all to dig deep into our new website and explore a festival filled with discovery, decadence, beauty, emotion, and unbridled entertainment start to finish.
The past few years we have taken an "artist a day" approach to unveiling the festival program. This year we'll be announcing the first half of the line-up on May 24rd (60 artists out of 120), with the second half of the line-up coming on June 27th. In addition offering some immediate gratification, we hope to reward those who purchase passes early with a discounted rate (25% off through June 26th). As for the dB Conference, the individuals showcases, film festival, after-parties and boat-parties; we'll be announcing the entire program on July 11th.
The Paramount Theatre : 911 Pine St / Showbox SoDo : 1700 1st Avenue South / Showbox at The Market : 1426 1st Ave / Neumos : 925 E. Pike St / The Nordstrom Recital Hall : 200 University St / The Crocodile : 2202 2nd Ave / Broadway Performance Hall : 1625 Broadway / Melrose Market Studios : 1532 Minor St / The Baltic Room : 1207 Pine St / Re-Bar : 1114 Howell St / The Triple Door : 216 Union St / Barboza : 925 E. Pike St / The Islander Cruise Ship : 1611 Fairview Ave E + MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED