A few weeks ago Upstream Music Fest + Summit announced phase one of their line up. At first, I didn’t realize this was a ‘phase one’ deal and was honestly a tad bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the amount of local talent on this line up was overwhelming and much appreciated, its just  I can remember reading that Paul Allen and company wanted to bring SXSW to the Northwest. (Check out our Upstream Music Fest playlist below).

For me, phase 1 did not look like a true SXSW lineup.

The Austin music festival is featuring the likes of 9th Wonder, ASAP Ferg, Amine, Cam’ron., French Montana, DJ Mustard, Gucci Mane, Jidenna, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yatchy, Meek Mill, Migos, Rick Ross, Rae Sremmurd, Wu-Tang Clan, and many other major artists this year. Festivals such as Fvded In The Park have provided stellar line-ups but they did fail to include an impressive list of up and coming artists from their region.

While we are really thankful for this festival giving so much shine to our local talents, this first announcement was severely lacking star power compared to most major festivals these days. Thanks to Reign City’s involvement I still have high hopes for some huge names to be added to the lineup.

Upstream Music Fest Playlist (Hip-hop)

One of the best ways lesser known artists can grow is to open for bigger performers who really bring the masses in and help local fans discover new music.

Established locals like Shabazz Palaces and Grynch can be found all over the lineup alongside the city’s new(er) wave of talent. If you enjoy hip-hop, this lineup features many of the region’s best.

Artists to Watch at UpStream Festival

Brothers From Another


Dave B


Gifted Gab

Key Nyata


Nacho Picasso

The Last Artful Dodger

Travis Thompson

Romaro Franceswa

Warm Gun

Will Jordan

Upstream Music Festival Tickets

Although this is the first round, I am slightly disappointed with the lack of a few artists I thought had major years including Macntaj, Mic Capes, Huey P and the entire Black Umbrella crew to name a few.  It will never be possible but please everyone, but I just want to make sure all sides of the Northwest is represented on the largest platforms.

The UpStream event will also incorporate a summit of speakers to talk about the ever-changing music industry, tech world, and how they connect. Keynote speakers include Macklemore, Portia Sabin, and the legendary Quincy Jones. This will definitely provide some value to the festival attendee and really helps me justify the price to attend.

Overall, I’m stoked we have a company bringing the Northwest such an innovative festival. It features a great selection of acts from around our region and Paul Allen running the show gives me great faith in Upstream’s overall success.  I hope Upstream can be a giant stepping stone for our region’s music scene.

Who should we add to our Upstream Music Fest Playlist? Let us know on Twitter.

nick weaver article with Diego Pellicer image