Summer Nights Controversy

Seattle’s annual Summer Nights at the Pier concert series is planning on moving from South Lake Union Park to Gas Works Park despite some residents voicing traffic, parking and noise concerns over the city’s decision to relocate.

The city and local nonprofit group One Reel– which also produces Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival – announced the move December 23rd.

Shortly after the New Year, roughly 60 neighborhood residents were present at a monthly Wallingford Community Council meeting where several complained they had not been consulted, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Needed structural improvements at the series’ original home of Pier 62/63 led to last year’s move to South Lake Union Park, and continued development in the park forced the event to move again.

The June-to-August series is expected to remain at Gas Works Park until renovations are completed at the central waterfront area, a process that could take years.

Council President Heidi Herr told the paper that putting the series in Gas Works Park “potentially poses large transportation, parking and noise problems, among others, for nearby residents, the park’s recreational users, and nearby businesses.”

One Reel representative Michele Scoleri said the nonprofit holds most of its events within parks and public areas, and there’s rarely an instance when residents don’t have concerns.

“This is not something that is uncommon or that we haven’t dealt with,” Scoleri told Pollstar. “We’re a big part of this community and we know how to do the things that need to be done to be successful.”

She added that One Reel has successfully put together traffic and parking plans before, and said this year shouldn’t be any different.

At the community meeting, Richard Haag, the landscape architect who designed the park, said he was angry that there would be limited public access.

“It is morally if not legally inconsistent to deny the public access to the whole park,” Haag reportedly said.

Scoleri responded that only a portion of the park will be closed off during show days, and the park will be completely open the rest of the time.

Summer Nights will host 18-23 concerts between June and August, showcasing a variety of musical genres including pop, R&B, jazz and country. Major touring acts that have played the series include Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls, and Bjork.

The shows will seat 3,800 fans, with ticket prices ranging from $20 to $60.

Mitchell Peters