Summer in the South End: A roundup of live music and block parties in August

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by Amanda Ong


Last week we interviewed some up and coming local and BIPOC music artists performing in town this summer. These artists are just a few of the South End’s many incredible singers and musicians who are part of a thriving and dynamic local music scene.

Even as we near the end of summer, there are still plenty more opportunities to catch concerts, attend festivals, and attend block parties. That emerald has put together a range of fantastic events – many of them free – where you can catch live music before the end of the summer and most importantly support local artists, vendors and businesses.

Although not on this list, be sure to check out venues like Beacon Hill’s time-out lounge and Columbia City The King’s Room and Rumba Notes Lounge for more shows. For more arts events, see our August South End Arts Roundup.

Events throughout the summer
The terrace: Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street
Free

A crowd enjoys a beatwalk event in early summer, smiling and dancing in the street
A crowd enjoys a beatwalk event early in the summer. (Photo: ArtBy FRIEDRICH)

For the past 28 years, Beatwalk has brought incredible live music to Columbia City every summer. The free events for all ages feature local musicians and are hosted by neighborhood businesses. On June 24, it had its first Pride-themed beatwalk. The final two Beatwalk events will take place on August 20th and 28th Facebook site for more details as they are announced.

August 13, 1pm-9pm
East Pike Street and 11th Ave.
Free

Though technically a pop-up market with vendors selling handmade goods, vintage clothing, and street fashion, On the Block also features art activations, live music, and DJ sets. On the Block is free and takes place every other Saturday May through October at 11th Ave. between East Pike Street and East Pine Street on Capitol Hill. The August 13 event will feature DJ Dark Wiley and musical co-curators Dadabassed and Vitamin D. Follow On the Block on Instagram for artist announcements.

August 13–20, 1–5 p.m
Historic Nihonmachi/Japantown
Free

This annual block party celebrates businesses and communities in historic Nihonmachi/Japantown at CID. Participating companies such as Kobo at Higo, Itsumomo and Pioneer Barber will host special events, and live music will be provided by Seattle Kokon Taiko.

13th-14th August
Pier 62, 1951 Alaskan Way
Free

The eighth annual Madaraka Festival returns on August 13th and 14th at downtown Pier 62 and features African food, art and a top-class lineup of musicians from Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan, as well as local artists. Hosted by One Vibe Africa, Madaraka Fest seeks to foster connections between Africa and Seattle’s African diaspora communities, and all are welcome to attend. Read Emerald’s latest event preview for more details. The festival is free with RSVP.

August 14, 12pm-6pm
Othello Park, 4351 S. Othello St.
Free

This 14-year community celebration is taking place at Othello Park and Playground, one block east of the Othello light rail station. There will be live performances from neighborhood groups such as Northwest Wushu Martial Arts, the Samoan Siva Dance Group and the Washington Diamonds Drill Team. Over 90 vendors will be in attendance offering local and handcrafted goods, Delish Ethiopian cuisine and more. Try this emerald‘s current preview of the event.

19-20 August, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m
Jefferson Park, 3801 Beacon Avenue S.
Free

Bazzookafest is back in its second year bringing together an array of incredible black artists including Shaina Shepherd, Bijoux, Rainbow Coalition Deathcult, Da Qween and more to be announced. The free fest kicks off Friday, August 20 with the Bazzooka Ball by queer collective BeautyBoiz. Music guests enter the stage on Saturday. There will also be a market with all BIPOC providers.

20-21 Aug, from 2 p.m
Airport Tavern, 5406 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma
Tickets start at $50

Fan of reggae? Look no further than Tacoma’s annual tradition of Reggae on the Way, filling two blocks between LeMay – America’s Car Museum and the Tacoma Dome in South Tacoma with two days of reggae music. See music groups like reggae rock angerhip hop duo the atmosphereHawaiian reggae pop ensemble Kolohe Kaiand Jamaican singer-songwriter prototype. Day and multi-day tickets are available from See Tickets website.

Aug. 20, 3-9 p.m
900 S. King St.
Free

The Chinatown-International District Block Party is a day-long music and arts celebration of the many Asian American communities in the area. There will be an art walk, food walk, car show, beer garden and later in the evening an outdoor film at Hing Hay Park. The lineup of musical guests has yet to be announced, so check the official website or Instagram account for current information.

26-27 August
Port of Olympia, 1210 Marine Dr. NE, Olympia
Tickets start at $35

Fifteen live bands, games, food trucks and a beer garden, all right on the beautiful shores of Puget Sound. See acts like Courtney Marie Andrews and bullyingas well as local acts, such as The Cave Singers and The home team. Tickets are available at South Sound Block Party websitewith options for day and multi-day passes.

August 28, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m
16th Ave. SW between Southwest Roxbury Street and Southwest 100th Street
Free; Bracelets to buy later

After a spate of vandalism and arson in 2021, neighbors and local businesses decided to come together to celebrate with the first White Center Block Party. Now in its second year, the White Center Block Party continues to be a free, family-friendly event supporting local businesses, bars and restaurants. While the event is free, wristbands can be purchased at the White Center Block Party website who grant special discounts at participating providers. Follow him Instagram Account for announcements about vendors and artists.

2nd-4th September
White River Amphitheater, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Rd.
Tickets start at $25

There’s a big rock festival in Auburn over Labor Day weekend. This year’s line-up includes incubus, Sublime with Rome, Alice in Chains, break Benjamin With bush, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and many more. Tickets are now available ticketmaster.But before Pain In The Grass begins, anyone can get a head start Pain In The Grass Kickoff Party on Wednesday 31st AugustIn the Moore Theater With the pretty Reckless and based in Seattle Ayron Jones.


Amanda Ong (she/she) is a Chinese-American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate in the University of Washington’s Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnic and racial studies.

📸 Featured Image: Some scenes from On the Block: DJ and producer cljlamar (left), singer-songwriter Maya Marie (center), artist and volunteer Nya (top right), and beatmaker and audio producer Third Eye Bling (bottom right). (Photos by Luis Orozco from exthindvisuals, courtesy of On the Block.)

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