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When plans for the reimagined Seattle waterfront were beginning to take shape, there was a great public interest in creating a park which serves as a cultural space for the city. With 26 blocks of park promenade and a nine acre central public space, opportunities abound to achieve that great mixing chamber a park can be, where visitors and locals alike can experience the rich arts, music and performance scene in Seattle.

In order to offer a taste of what this future cultural space will be like and test ideas for the future, we launched the Hot Spot, a three-year park activation pilot at the existing Waterfront Park featuring free cultural programs like live music, dance and theater performances, and art installations. As part of the pilot, we involved emerging talent from the University of Washington Master of Architecture Program to design an iconic pavilion made from locally sourced materials to support Hot Spot events for three years.


Hot Spot Studio at the Department of Architecture was launched by David Miller, and the design process for the Hot Spot pavilion was overseen by associate professors Peter Cohan and Kimo Griggs.  After two quarters of design and fabrication work led by student teams, the pavilion was completed by Calder Danz, Alden Mackey, and Lisa Glenn — three talented UW School of Architecture students.

Friends of Waterfront Seattle launched Hot Spot last summer with a series of free concerts and performances. The series provided thousands of Seattleites with a glimpse of what the future holds for the waterfront — a future where innovative events at the waterfront are always changing, where the entire Seattle community can gather and perform.

Year two of the Hot Spot kicks off on July 2 with KEXP Rocks the Dock, a free concert of local music put together by Seattle’s renowned radio station. It will be the first of many free and diverse events at the Hot Spot throughout the summer and fall — not just music and performances, but sports events, public art, and lighting installations.

Hot Spot summer programming runs from July 2 through September 9, and we’re excited to be hosting all the free events below. Come on down and enjoy what will soon be a central public space for everyone in Seattle to enjoy!


KEXP Rocks the Dock
July 2 // 4 PM – 8 PM
Popular local bands will kick off a summer at Hot Spot with an event hosted by KEXP, Seattle’s non-commercial independent radio station that produces an award-winning, innovative blend of music for a worldwide audience.

Sunsets on the Pier with Reflect
July 8, August 12, September 9 // 4 PM – 10 PM
Reflect hosts Sunsets on the Pier second Fridays throughout the summer, with locally and internationally known DJs playing the latest in electronic and underground dance music.

The Northwest Parkour Championships with Parkour Visions & Origins Parkour
July 9 // 12 PM – 6 PM
Parkour experts will climb, jump and balance on obstacles, amazing spectators in this demonstration and competition event hosted by two of Seattle’s and Vancouver’s premier parkour schools, Parkour Visions (SEA) and Origins Parkour (VAN).

Blue Sundays with Highway 99 Blues Club
July 10, July 17, July 31, August 7, August 21 and August 28 // 2 PM – 3 PM
The bands of local blues hub Highway 99 Blues Club cross the street to play Hot Spot.

Beat Masters 5th Annual Zulu Jam Producers Edition with 206 Zulu
July 15 // 6 PM – 10 PM
Zulu Jam Producer’s Edition pays tribute to the production aspect of Hip Hop music. Sixteen top Northwest producers will play their beats in a head-to-head tournament style competition until the winner is revealed, baring prizes and the Zulu Jam Producer Champion title.

Bodies of Water, a site-specific performance by Alice Gosti produced by Velocity
July 16 // 5 PM – 10 PM
Bodies of Water is a 5-hour durational performance spectacle celebrating Seattle, and the complex relationship the city has with its waters, by Italian-American artist Alice Gosti.

Fourth Fridays with DJ Riz
July 22 & August 26 // 5 PM – 9 PM
Riz Rollins has one of the most eclectic musical tastes of any DJ at KEXP, where he has been on the airwaves for a quarter century. Hear what the host of Variety Mix and Expansions has in store for Friday evenings.

School’s Out! with Recess Monkey and The Board of Education
July 24 // 11 AM – 2 PM
Favorite local kid’s bands Recess Monkey and The Board of Education play a family fun festival with games and other fun all-ages activities.

Summer Vacation with C89.5 FM
July 29, August 5, September 2 // 6 PM – 9 PM
A radio station out of Seattle’s public Nathan Hale High School, 89.5 FM reaches 200,000 weekly listeners while students learn production, programming, on-air presentation and music selection.  DJs from C89.5 will be back in 2016 spinning dance music at Hot Spot.

Out to Lunch with Happy Orchestra presented by Downtown Seattle Association
August 5 // 12 PM – 1:30 PM
Happy Orchestra, produced by drummer Tarik Abouzied, is a band that puts smiles on faces and lights fires under feet. The band, nominated 2015 Alternative Jazz Group of the Year by readers of Earshot Jazz, combines instrumental and compositional firepower with a determined effort at crafting an intensely happy musical experience.

K-Pop NOW!
August 6 // 4 PM – 8 PM
K-Pop started in South Korea but is taking over the world, with local K-Pop talent bringing a contest filled with pop music and dance to Seattle’s waterfront.

All-Ages Music Fest with Vera Project
August 13 // 3 PM – 8 PM
A showcase for talented young bands who represent the next generation of Seattle music with event production from Vera Project, an all-ages volunteer-fueled music and arts venue with a focus on ages 14 to 24.

Jazz on the Sound with Garfield High School
August 14 // 1 PM – 5 PM
The public Garfield High School has one of the top jazz programs in the world and we will welcome a Garfield Jazz combo back to Hot Spot.

Fish-N-Chips – Zulu Jam Open Styles Dance Edition with 206 Zulu
August 19 // 6 PM – 9 PM
Dancers come from across the Pacific Northwest to challenge themselves and showcase their unique dance flavor in an All-Styles Dance Battle, and Crowd Participation Pro/Amateur Battle. Open style dance includes popping, locking, and other street styles.

Hair and Space Museum with Henry Art Gallery
August 20 // 8 PM – 10 PM
Hair and Space Museum is a multimedia duo, featuring David Golightly and Emily Pothast (Midday Veil), whose performances explore the generative, cosmic properties of sound. This performance is part of the Henry Art Gallery’s The Untuning of the Sky, a series of outdoor events at venues across Seattle throughout the summer that brings together music, poetry, and film inspired by the mystery and wonder of the sky at night.

Americana Festival
September 3 // 4 PM – 8:30 PM; September 4 // 2 PM – 7 PM
Celebrate Labor Day weekend on the waterfront with Americana music, incorporating elements of American music such as country, folk, bluegrass and blues in new songs and sounds.