The 10th Annual Decibel Festival recap, thanks, photos, reviews & recordings

The 10th Annual Decibel Festival recap

It has been three weeks since the kick-off of the 10th Annual Decibel Festival. Though we are still in the process of calculating final numbers for this year’s edition, we’re currently estimating just over 25,000 attendees across the five day, 12 venue program. Though we didn’t hit the 30,000 mark we were aiming for, we are still quite pleased with the turnout, especially in relation to out of town attendees. It is fair to point out that we dealt with historically bad weather this year, which did have an impact on attendance. Overall, we hit capacity on 26 out of 44 showcases and pulled in record numbers for our OPTICAL and dB After-Hours events. We also sold a record numbers of festival passes this year, which were up over 10% from 2012. In addition, this year’s dB Conference delivered free workshops, lectures, panels, demos and talks to more people than ever before through a streaming partnership (over 1,000 attendees and over 1,200 online participants over the three day, three room conference).

As some have pointed out, this year was technically scaled back when you look at the number of artists and venues we hosted in 2012. This was an intentional decision, triggered by feedback that there was simply too much happening last year, particularly with the 9pm to 2am events. I’m pleased to say that this year’s strategy paid off both in terms of attendee experience and with helping mitigate operational challenges. Consequentially, the feedback across the board was that every aspect of festival operations were managed exceptionally well this year. Considering Decibel is run entirely by volunteers, this is a welcome testament to the dedication, knowledge and passion of the Decibel staff and over 250 volunteers who contributed to this year’s festival (see staff thank you below). Without their continued effort, the creative vision of the festival would have never manifested into what we have today.

In terms of highlights, 2013 brought together our deepest and most impressive selection of musicians, bands, deejays, visuals artists and performances to date. With nearly 140 artist representing over 20 countries, it was simply impossible to experience them all. This year I was able to personally attend 31 out of 44 showcases, catching 68 total performances. Coupled with the more than 40 reviews I’ve read (see link to media reviews below) this year’s list of highlights include Ben Klock, Peter Hook & the Light feat. Moby, Kode9, Mileece, Peter Broderick, Hauschka, The Martinez Brothers, Cajmere/Green Velvet, JETS, Machinedrum, Nils Frahm, Nicolas Jaar, Shigeto, Slow Magic, Midland, Dusky, Ólafur Arnalds, John Tejada, Max Cooper, Henrik Schwarz, Pharmakon, Zola Jesus, Lorde, The Orb, Flosstradamus, Kyle Hall, Raime, Nosaj Thing, KiNK and Art Department’s Kenny Glasgow. One thing that I found completely inspiring was just how brightly the Northwest talent shined this year. Natasha Kmeto, The Sight Below, Lusine, Cyril Hahn, Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, The Helio Sequence, Teen Daze, ODESZA, Kid Smpl, Ghost Feet and DJAO were all mentioned as highlights time and time again, often by writers and attendees that had never heard of them prior. This focus on Northwest talent has been at the heart of the Decibel Festival since inception and I’ve never felt more proud of our community.

We had a great deal riding on this year’s program and I’m pleased to report that 2013 was without question our best received, best run and most memorable program to date. As for the future of the organization, we will continue producing our year-round events, just as we have since 2003 (see online events calendar). Based on the final numbers, we will once again evaluate the current state of the festival and make any necessary changes moving forward. Whether this means continuing to scale back or perhaps looking at a different business model remains to be seen. Regardless, the past decade has brought me an immeasurable amount of joy, pain and life experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. To each and every one of you that has contributed to Decibel in some way, I thank you with all my heart.   Sean Horton – Decibel Festival Founder, Curator & President


Thanks to our staff and volunteers!

Sean Horton : Founder/Curator/President
Vance Galloway : Technical Director/Production Manager
Cody Morrison : Sponsorship Director
Jessica Brockish : Business Operations Director
Katie Harkins : Human Resources Director
Matt Dressman : Marketing Director
Kate Lesta : Will Call & Ticketing Director
David Kwan : Art Director
Kristyn Brown : Sponsorship Director
Blake Peterson : Artist Management Director
Carlos Ruiz : Social Media Director
Cameron Jessup : Video and Photography Director
Brandy Gray : Visual Director
Crystal Fritz : Media Relations Manager
Brooke Bendewish : Green Team/Partner Relations Manager
Melenie Yap : Social Media Manager
Mollie Bryan : Hospitality Manager/Sponsorships /Art Curation
Katie Paige : Street Team Coordinator
Ian Todd : Mobile App Project Manager
Tony Gavilanes : Production Lead
Matt Clark : Backline Coordinator
Rebecca Swaney : Financial Coordinator
Zach Walker : Video Production Lead
Matthew Krall : Will Call & Ticketing Manager
John Clements : dB Conference Production Manager
Zach Bohnson : dB Conference Manager
Melissa Gonzales : Merchandise Coordinator
Kristin Martin : Merchandise Coordinator
Ross Cantor : Merchandise Coordinator
Trevor Walker : Promotions/Resident DJ
Brian Willoughby : Recording Engineer

To the more that 250 volunteers that helped make our 10 year anniversary our most memorable to date, THANK YOU!


Thanks to our partners!

Red Bull Music Academy, Windows, KEXP 90.3, Dubspot, Techno Tourist, Chihuly Garden & Glass, W Seattle, PlayNetwork

Rane, Ableton, EAW, AIAIAI, Stimulant, PANOPTO, Teenage Engineering, Be-At.TV, Guitar Center

Resident Advisor, The Stranger, Mixmag, XLR8R, 107.7 The End, C89.5, Beatport, Big Up Magazine, Signalfy, Abstract Earth Project, What The Festival, Innerflight Music, High & Tight, Crateplayer, Starborne Sound, Lost In Sound, Electric Deluxe, Leisure System, Ghostly International, Sub Pop, Mad Decent, Kompakt Records, Hyperdub Records, Hessle Audio, Timetable Records, Erased Tapes, Hush Hush Records, Dropping Gems, Surefire, Fanfueled, Headphone Commute

Sustainable Seattle, Seattle Green Drinks, Klean Kanteen, Sierra Nevada, Purity Organic, Molbak’s Garden + Home, Tesla, MusiCares, The Recording Academy, The Vera Project, Yoga UniQue, DanceSafe

Vita Coco, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bacardi, Dewar’s, Visit Seattle, Uber, Flud, Crown Social, Color Cloud, Etymotic Research

Stumptown, Mighty-O Donuts, Demitri’s Gourmet Mixers, Clif Bar, Sparkle Donkey Tequila, Kind Snacks

Fore more information on our 2013 partners, visit the partners section of our website.


dBx Photo Gallery

We’re pleased to share with you our initial photo gallery from the 10th Annual Decibel Festival. We encourage you all to relive and share your favorite dBx moments through these amazing images. If you prefer Facebook, we’ve also created a FB photo album. Many thanks to our staff photographers!


dBx Reviews

We’re honored to have so many great media outlets join us for Decibel Festival. Thank you to all the journalists for sharing their experiences with the world. We’ve compiled over 50 reviews and will continue updating as more are published. Relive things you saw and catch up on things you missed, please enjoy!


Decibel Festival / RBMA Radio

We were proud to once again partner with Red Bull Music Academy for the 10th annual edition of Decibel Festival. Ever since Seattle hosted the Red Bull Music Academy in 2005, Decibel and RBMA have been forging a creative partnership that has spawned some of Decibel’s brightest moments, including the US debut of Amon Tobin ISAM Live, Erykah Badu DJ set, Flying Lotus live with band, Modeselektor feat. Pfadfinderei, Bonobo, Glitch Mob and the NW debut of Nina Kravitz.

This year RBMA Radio caught some of the best moments from the festival including Cajmere/Green Velvet, Dusky, Cyril Hahn, Olafur Arnalds, Natasha Kmeto, Hauschka, Phaeleh, DJ Spinn and Peter Broderick (more to come!). All of these sets are now available for streaming at the Decibel RBMA Radio Page, along with some previous Decibel recordings from Shlohmo, Tokimonsta, Teebs, Eskimo and Quantic.