Decibel Festival Review 2015

Written by DJ Mkulima (The Farmer) on October 23, 2015

In anticipation of the 12th annual Decibel Festival in Seattle, KPSU had the pleasure of hosting Nordic Soul (Sean Horton) founder, curator and president of Decibel Festival on Learning to Grow with DJ Mkulima.  Decibel certainly lived up to what Sean had promised; a conscious environment uniting EDM lovers from around the country.  Open minded would be a good description of most festival participants.  Genres ranged from Detroit techno, to smooth rhythmic house, all the way to experimental sound.


Nordic Soul (Sean Horton) – founder of Decibel Festival hanging out enjoying the weather at Decibel Conference at The Crocodile in downtown Seattle.

The decibel is physically defined by the lowest sound level an average person can hear.  These decibels which surround us, defined by the humans which perceive them, was the uniting force bringing good vibes all around the dB-Fest venues.  Decibel featured different events over the course of the five days bringing Decibel Conference, weekend boat parties on the lake, visually based dinner sit-down shows, nightly showcases, late-night club sets until sunrise, and a super yummy breakfast club Sunday morning.

For the first three afternoons of Decibel Festival, The Crocodile in downtown Seattle hosted Decibel Conference.  Decibel Conference featured presentations, gear and software demos, group discussions and live music sets.  It’s a home for EDM lovers and artists to sit down and really share with each other some of their inner passions.  The presentations were enormously useful, packing in information from the very basics to the most advanced customized functions of the biggest names in gear and software.  The upstairs featured a set of demo booths where conference participants could play around with the gear in the presence of company experts and festival artists!  Another interesting endeavor was open panel discussions with artists about the musical process, collaboration, or whatever you could ask.

An avant-garde beatnik feel filled the air at the visually based at The Triple Door.  These events were a rare gem of creative expression – in fact it’s difficult to accurately describe the scene at all!  Experimental sound filled the air along with complimentary visuals tying together the full artistic message and in the case of Tim Hecker, complete black.  Another evening warm-up was at the lobby of The W Hotel which provided a chill electronic lounge setting along with their top notch food and drinks.  Unique sets coupled with excellent food was a perfect precursor to the nightly showcases.

Showcases featured lineups of big-hitting headliners and perfectly coupled openers.  The venues spanning downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill were among the finest in Seattle.  Depending on mood of the evening festival participants could go to showcases featuring melodic house, down-tempo chillwave, droning techno, experimental sound or whatever EDM genre one could imagine.

Closing out the nights were the down-tempo caffeine powered sunrise marathons.  Mesmerizing visuals and rhythmic dance inducing beats filled the neon lit clubs.  The venues were packed out the door with lines stretching around the block and well worth the wait.  To greet the final sunrise of Decibel there was a special breakfast club at The Monkey Loft to keep those busy feet dancing.

Of course there were the Decibel signature boat parties on Lake Washington! It was smooth sailing this year with perfect sunny weather, a salty ocean breeze, a full bar and fancy snacks.  Upstairs there was a sun deck and unbelievable views of the beautiful land which Seattle inhabits.  Down below was a dance experience unlike any other. A mobile dance floor would be an understatement.  Dancing along with the rocking of the boat was an art all of its own. It seemed like no matter what song was playing, the beat perfectly synced with the rocking of the boat; here’s to you skipper!

Nearly a month later, back in Portland and the Decibel festival vibes are still rolling.  Out at the EDM-centric Portland venues one can’t help to keep running into familiar faces from Decibel, some new and some old.  What keeps bringing people back to Decibel is undoubtedly the killer lineup and chic Seattle clubs, but the cherry on top is the mindful and friendly community that Decibel fosters.

Check out KPSU specials with dB-Fest artists, Anna Langley, Nordic Soul, Photay, and a special pre-Festival showcase on Learning to Grow with DJ Mkulima

For a festival photo recap check out this Facebook album.

Decibel Festival 2015 website and program.





Show Notes & Show Blogs


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