The Uptown Get Down music festival was such a huge success that organizers are expanding it next year into what they hope will become the largest music festival in Eastern Washington. I asked founder and CEO Caleb T. Brown about building on this year’s success.
First, let me congratulate you and your team on the Uptown Get Down! I was only able to catch part of the festival — there was so much talent! What inspired you to expand and rebrand as Tri Town Get Down?
So, the goal was never to just stay in the Uptown, but always to expand to John Dam Plaza, the Parkway, and into Kennewick and Pasco, all while keeping the festival’s heart in Richland. As the festival grows, the plan has always been to expand throughout the Tri-Cities.
Tell me about your vision for TTGD. What are you most looking forward to?
My vision is just to be the biggest and the best, bigger than The Gorge. I think this year’s lineup is really special. We’ll see the return of some artists and new artists from all over.
Do you have some acts already signed for this event? Any major headliners you can tell us about at this point?
We do have a lot of acts signed for the event. There'll be over 100. We can't tell you exactly who yet, but I will say very large acts that are part of the Spotify club. We have acts from all over the world. Also, locals that will be [doing] one of their first shows. If you're talented, we'd love to have you on.
How can other artists get involved?
Any particular genre or type of music you are looking for?
We really are looking for everything. Whether you're a Latinx [band] or a massive 20-piece choir. Any kind of band. Anything, really. Banjo, hip-hop, opera — you name it.
A festival like Tri Town Get Down can be a huge boost to the local economy.
I agree that it's going to be a massive boost to the local economy, with the Uptown Get Down bringing in over $100,000 to the Uptown just based off foot traffic. So, we already demonstrated that with just 1000 people, you can have a huge economic increase. This year, we're expanding over 10 times and expect over 10,000 people, so it should be a tremendous increase to our economy.
What has it been like working with the city, businesses, and other organizers?
It’s been interesting working with the city. There are so many regulations you wouldn't believe, but they're all there for a reason. It's been very cool to be received by the city, businesses, and by people like Art in the Park and the Emerald. People want to come together and make this one festival really cool. And, so, yeah, it has been fantastic. We started planning Tri Town Get Down before Uptown Get Down, so it's been a very long process. Everyone has been cool to work with.
How can the community support TTGD?
The community can support Tri Town Get Down by getting involved and buying tickets. You can do both of those things at tritowngetdown.com. Go to our website; it's got all the information on fusions, ways you can get involved — whether you want to volunteer, whether you want to play, whether you want your band to perform, whether you want to do media, photography, videography — we made this festival for everyone. We want you to participate. This is for the people of Tri-Cities. So, get involved or get your tickets and we will see you June 7!
Ted Miller has been part of the local performing arts scene for over 25 years. He currently serves on the board of the Washington State Community Theatre Association.