Is there a difference? Tomato, to-mah-to? Turns out the names sound similar, but there are many key differences. First, let's get the logistics out of the way:
- When: May 3-5, 2013
- Where: FRED Wildlife Refuge, The Highline, and The Lo Fi Performance Gallery
- Cost: $40 for 3-day pass, or $15-20 per night (advance versus door), with a $7 Saturday matinee show (note: advanced passes are no longer available--it's this weekend!)
- Age: This is the 6th Annual Debacle Fest! Bigger and better this year.
- Who's playing: Full line up here. Includes local artists like Brain Fruit, MTNS, and Black Hat as well as more nationally recognized acts like Palm Dates, Expo '70, Nate Young (of Wolf Eyes), and Matt Carlson (of Golden Retriever).
- When: September 25-29, 2013
- Where: All across Seattle. Both Showboxes, Crocodile, Triple Door, Neumos...even a Party Boat. I want to party on that boat!
- Cost: As of May 2nd, only festival passes were available. $200. You can get the "green" pass for $210 and pay for the mitigation of your carbon footprint.
- Age: This is the 10th Annual Decibel Festival!
- Who's playing: The first of 3 waves of artists was announced on April 16. Acts include The Orb, Light Asylum, Olafur Arnalds, Young Galaxy, Teen Daze, Helio Sequence, Shabazz Palaces, THEEsatisfaction, Lusine, and Vox Mod (so far). Bigger names, comprised of some locals but mainly nationwide acts.
Comparing the two:
Debacle Fest is this weekend, and it runs the gamut of "electronic, drone, noise, techno, improvised, metal, and synth". Decibel Festival music overlaps, but just barely on the pop/electronic side of things. Debacle Fest is more experimental and it showcases a lot of the label's artists (though certainly not exclusively). Part of the proceeds go to support our local Hollow Earth Radio, this year's non-profit beneficiary. Debacle Fest has some nationwide acts, but it has a more distinctly local feel.
Decibel is shorthand for the official title of the event: Decibel International Festival of Electronic Music Performance, Visual Art and New Media. The festival's first wave of artists (there will be two more, which highlights its large budget and scope) throws out several local artists that many folks will recognize, particularly Helio Sequence, Shabazz Palaces, and THEEsatisfaction--high quality artists that grab the attention of a wider audience (2012 had over 26,000 attendees), but don't necessarily make me think "electronic" first and foremost. Hopefully those that come for the big acts will end up delving into the rich and varied festival lineup.
Progressive vs. full-on experimental
Small venues versus some of the largest venues in the city.
$40 versus $200 for festival passes.
Both Debacle Records and the folks at Decibel conduct showcases throughout the year in Seattle, with these festivals being their big culminating events. Either event will broaden your horizons in electronic music!