How to enjoy Capitol Hill Block Party with Sensory Difficulties

I’m going to put it right out there  – Capitol Hill lock Party is NOT Sensory-Friendly at first glance. Due to it’s location in the heart of urban Seattle, sandwiched right in the Pike/Pine Corridor, it is not your typical, relaxed blanket-on-the-lawn type of music festival. It is however, an awesome music festival  that features touring acts, up-and-coming artists and local talents not to be missed. The fun-loving crowds, loud beats and bright lights do create a fun music festival atmosphere, but can be stressful and even painful for those on the autism spectrum/with sensory difficulties.   Since we at Sensory Access feel everyone should be able to enjoy the arts in any form, especially the amazing community of a music festival, we want to help make CHBP as sensory-accessible as possible, and are excited to partner with this great festival!   Sensory Access will be onsite throughout the festival to help in the following ways:
  • Look for our staff in our gray t-shirts with the bright Sensory Access logo! We’ll have earplugs to give out to those with auditory sensitivities on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Connect with us on social media on twitter (@sensoryaccess) and instagram (@sensoryaccess) during the festival to help you find calmer locations, good areas to watch the shows from and basics like where to find the restrooms and refreshments!
  • Look for our Sensory Map!  Although we do not have our usual Sensory Access sectioned-off areas at CHBP due to it’s location in the heart of the city, we will identify calmer spots during the festival and put them out on social media during the festival.
  • Sensory Support – if you find yourself in the crowd getting overwhelmed, ask a nearby Sensory Access staff member for help or reach out to us over our social media platforms – we’ll find you and come help!
  • If you would like to attend CHBP but need 1:1 sensory support, additional support staff are available  – contact us at to reserve
Tips for enjoying Capitol Hill Block Party if you have Sensory Difficulties, Autism, or can’t easily tolerate crowds:
  1. Give yourself a lot of breaks: Decide which artists you absolutely want to see, and take breaks in between.  A great place to get away from the crowds are Cal Anderson park across from the festival on Pine street (see DEI Creative’s map, to the right).  Sit on the lawn, get hydrated and have a snack, and go back in when you are ready. Another good place for a sensory break is Elliot Bay Book company (they will be closing earlier during CHBP but are open until 6pm Fri and Sat and 7pm on Sunday). If you want to stay within the festival area, try grabbing a cold drink and snack at one of the many restaurants, and be on the look out for our commentary on twitter and instagram (@SensoryAccess) for some less crowded spots!
  2. Hydrate!   I can’t repeat this enough!  Weather is predicted to be in the 80’s on festival weekend, and nothing wears down sensory-tolerance quicker than being dehydrated and overheated.  You can bring in empty camelbacks or non-glass water bottles, as well as sealed water bottles. Bring some with you and then have some funds to purchase more if needed.
  3. Know your Sensory-tolerance. Everyone is different, and you know you best – take care of yourself and listen to yourself throughout the day & use sensory tools.  Auditory: CHBP is loud just like every music festival, but the sound bouncing off the buildings does tend to intensify the sound.  Bring earplugs, and if you have auditory sensitivities, bring noise-reducing headphones. Visual:  During daytime it is likely to be bright, and difficult to find shade.  Don’t forget your sunglasses!  If you have visual sensitivities those sunglasses may come in hand at night to take off strain from the stage lights. Tactile:  There will be lots of pushing and shoving, crowding and bumping.  There is really no way around this at this event (and most general admission music events).  Some people find it helpful to have something to hold on to (barricade, fence, etc)to steady themselves, others prefer to stand back where there are less people.  Find what works for you.  If affordable for you, VIP areas have less people and can be more calm
We look forward to seeing you at Capitol Hill Block Party July 20-22, 2018 – look for our logo shirts and say hello!   Your Sensory Access Team    

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