When it comes to music festivals, none hits closer to home than Capitol Hill Block Party. I’ve seen it from the outside and I’ve heard it from the other side of the fence but before this summer I’ve never gotten the opportunity to go. What’s kept me from buying a ticket has always been the fact that half the festival is 21 and up. Two of the Four concert venues a part of CHBP require ID to enter. Is it worth my money to see only half the bands? What is that atmosphere like at a festival that’s also half bar? Well I found out and it ain’t that bad.
What I think is most important for under 21 Block Partiers to know before buying a ticket is what bands are playing where. The Vera Stage and the Main Stage are both open air all ages’ stages. If the bulk of band that you’re interested in seeing will be playing on those stages the ticket may be forth you’re wild. The Main Stage has all the headliners and big names who put on huge high energy shows and the Vera Stage has the cool local bands, a mix of acts you’ve heard of and names you’ll learn to love. These two stages provided enough music to keep me happy all weekend, although there was an awkward moment at one point were there was no one playing and my reporting comrade (Marcus) was gone watching a band at a 21 and up stage.
With no music to watch Block Party gets a little awkward for an under 21-er. Block party has a strong set of non-profits like Washington Bus, Vera Project, and Lifelong Aids Alliance passing out goodies and the food at Block Party is great with restaurants like Ballet and Picquitos still open as well as a parking lot full of food trucks. But if you need to kill time, and not be/feel awkward, it’s a little tricky. There are limited places to comfortably sit and not look weird. Block Party is set up so that if you’re not watching a show you should be drinking an over-priced beer and when you can’t do that, it gets awkward.
The large sections of the block roped off to serve drinks didn’t make the atmosphere too strange. I was actually surprised by the amount of youth (what I thought were high school teens on the scene) at CHBP, they made me feel a little old and certainly not out of place. The CHBP staff and security were also very nice and super friendly, making me feel welcome even though they kept me out of all the cool kick it spots. CHBP has some of the nicest security guards and bouncers I have ever encountered.
The only bone I have to pick with CHBP was the lack of water. Like all festivals outside drinks are not allowed in, NBD. But Block Party lacked any clean drinking water for festivalgoers to fill up on, BD. I believe water is a basic human need and right. I think it shows poor planning and a little bit of rudeness to let people fill up with beer, put them in the hot sun and expect them to pay a dollar for a plastic water bottle. We were lucky enough to get our water bottle filed up at Ballet, the amazing and way too nice Vietnamese restaurant on Pike. I would suggest then any future Block Partiers plan on doing similar or be prepared to spend a dollar on water.
Long story short, If you’re under 21 and all you’re favorite bands are playing the Main Stage at Capitol Hill Block Party, then go, it’s worth it. But otherwise do your research before hand, know what you can and can’t see, and save a couple extra bucks for water and food truck grub.
-Megan Castillo / Undercover Lover / KSUB Reporter