…a music festival and nobody showed up, would it make a sound? The Red Bull Music Academy brought dozens of European techno DJs to Seattle from Nov. 7 through Dec. 8. Each year, the “energy drink” people bring assorted mastes and tyros of electronica to a different city.
The academy’s workshops and conferences were hidden behind the obscured storefront of the former Beatty Book Store on Third and Virginia, compared to ROCKRGRL’s highly promoted events in the Madison Hotel.
Aside from fancy brochures and flyers in the participating bars and nightclubs, the Red Bull event was hardly even publicized locally. Too bad; the local electronica scene’s been on stagnant times, and could’ve used some high-profile events to bring back the local crowds—even if the most famous participant at Red Bull was Eumir Deodato, who’d made a hit disco version of the 2001 theme three decades back.
Even Red Bull’s PR packet contained nothing introducing the event to Seattle; only long essays introducing Seattle to the event’s Euro performers and reporters. Some excerpts:
“Seattle, while not as large as the American metropolises of New York or Los Angeles, is host to a bustling, shucking and jiving culture…. Seattle has long had a vibrant Asian and Asian-American population, and well-established communities of Scandinavians, African-Americans, Jews, Latinos and thoroughly Native Americans. The city represents the ‘melting-pot’ that logically fosters around the coastal areas of the United States.”…The grunge proliferation and later Internet boom created a dreamlike atmosphere in the city. RealNetworks, Amazon, and Adobe populated the Employment opportunities section of newspapers with wanted ads. Seattle-baed Starbucks replicated itself exponentially on a tidal wave of too-sweet corporate coffee to jolt the technologically-inclined into their 12-hour workdays…. While the Internet boom and bust were a manic time of too much wealth and then too much poverty, they did help revolutionize the culture of Seattle. The limitations of the finite world were kept at bay, if only briefly, and allowed dreamers to indulge. The staid American work tradition of business attire was cast aside, and three-piece suits were retired in favor of ratty T-sshirts and Levi’s. Tradition was scorned for new invention. It is perhaps for this reason that Seattleites insist on proudly wearing jeans and Teva sandals with white tube socks to restaurants with $200 price fixe menus.”
Streaming audio of the Seattle performances can be heard at redbullmusicacademy.com.