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Sub Pop Records, noted for hits by Nirvana, The Shins and The Postal Service, will open a retail store in April at Sea-Tac International Airport. The location is auditioning managers (send resumes to email@example.com) for the store, which will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
It is the latest development in the virtual takeover of the nation’s 15th biggest airport, with 33 million visitors a year, by the once-underground Seattle music scene.
Seattle bands — once vigorously suppressed by city officials — now play live at Sea-Tac baggage claim and elsewhere, in 40-minute gigs, 10 times a week. The performance schedule is likely to increase in 2014.
Visitors also see music videos and hear 600 recordings by 160 Northwest artists, including Beat Connection, Nirvana, Eddie Vedder, Heart and Allen Stone, and overhead greetings by Macklemore, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Ben Gibbard, Quincy Jones, Brandi Carlile and Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell (who tells travelers where they may and may not smoke).
“It’s ironic to see a city that tried to shut down practically every punk show 20 years ago now supporting local music as an economic pillar and a cultural symbol of pride,” says leading Seattle music historian Charles R. Cross, whose book Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain will be published in March. “Now Seattle is known for music as much as for computer companies and coffee.”
Besides official support by the Seattle Music Commission, the Port of Seattle (which operates the airport) and PlayNetwork in nearby Redmond, Sea-Tac’s Experience the City of Music program is backed by up to $375,000 pledged by Sea-Tac’s dining and retail merchants (which now will include Sub Pop along with Starbucks, Bose and Bigfoot Food & Spirits).
In September, Sea-Tac won an award at the industry-wide Future Travel Experience Awards for Best Arrivals Experience, thanks largely to the growing Experience the City of Music program.
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