It’s hard to believe that Nonsequitur is about to enter its 30th year. But here we are, on the threshold of adulthood at last! Approaching this next big anniversary, it feels like a good time to reassess and make some resolutions for the future.
Seattle has a remarkably rich and diverse avant music community, with many artists across multiple generations doing excellent work that rarely attracts large audiences and finds few hospitable venues. The extent of this activity is astonishing; consider that the ten nights per month of the Wayward Music Series are consistently booked six to eight months out with challenging and innovative music and sonic art that relatively few people are aware of – contemporary classical, free improvisation, abstract electronic music, and other experimental oddities. We’d like to see those artists stick around. But as more and more Seattle artists are forced out of town by the current housing crisis, it seems urgent that we deepen our commitment to those who remain.
Seattle’s ongoing feeding frenzy of inflated home prices, skyrocketing rents, and bidding wars inevitably leads to the displacement of the working class, people of color, and artists. As neighborhood after neighborhood falls to speculative development, the entire city becomes unaffordable for anyone who didn’t buy early or isn’t making six figures. People do what they can to hang on – downsize, work extra day jobs, hustle more mainstream music gigs, get roommates, rent out rooms on AirBnB, give up studio spaces. But many are leaving, sometimes to the (slightly) cheaper suburbs (where the process repeats), and often to another city or state or country entirely.
So an adjustment of our priorities seems warranted. Nonsequitur will still subsidize the Wayward Series at the Chapel, and we will continue to present one or two shows each month as part of it. But in the coming year and for the indefinite future, we intend to shift our focus away from bringing in artists from out of town and to instead devote those resources to supporting local artists – especially those who do not own homes or have comfy day jobs – with more substantial artist fees and help with ambitious projects that they might not otherwise be able to afford to do.
We know this is a drop in the ocean, that Seattle is probably destined to become the next Bay Area or New York City, that people will still leave. But we feel obligated to show solidarity with those who are the lifeblood of our local cultural scene, and who are still valiantly trying to make a go of it.