Interview: Tim and Katie Tuten (Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest)

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This summer marks the 18th annual Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest, an incredible family-friendly music programming partnership between one of Chicago’s finest live venues (The Hideout) and the arts-and-entertainment branch of America’s finest news source (The Onion’s A.V. Club). StGA will be providing press coverage for this year’s festival, which takes place on Sept 5+6 and features headlining sets from Death Cab For Cutie (will Chris Walla be there??? confirmed: this will be Chris Walla’s last North American show with DCFC), The War On Drugs, The Dismemberment Plan, as well as some incredible supporting acts.

Hideout owners Tim and Katie Tuten (pictured below, foreground) were kind enough to take a few questions via email to kick off our pre-show coverage of the festivities – expect live tweets during that weekend, as well as a full report on Sept 8!

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The thing I’ve always loved about the Block Party is the diversity and accessibility of the acts – there’s always something for everyone. Was there a particular theme or point of view from which you programmed this year’s fest? If you can, say it in six words, like a 12th grade English class.

Katie Tuten: This is one of our most eclectic years of music – most genres are represented. Hideout and Onion staff and “Hideout regulars” recommended bands to us, so the diverse line up reflects our diverse audience. A 16 year old recommended Mac DeMarco, a 55 year old recommended funky Meters.

Tim Tuten: Women, War, Drugs, Dismemberment, Funky, Dancing! (Shouldn’t that appeal to a high school kid?)

Which acts are you personally jazzed about seeing live? Why?

KT: funky Meters and Sylvan Esso. I love [their] energy. Can’t wait to see The Dismemberment Plan sing “What Do You Want Me To Say,” one of my top ten favorite songs.

TT: The Dismemberment Plan – They rarely play live. They always play loud. They intensely celebrate every second of life. Especially when they perform. The Handsome Family – They will be home at the Hideout. The crowd will be full of their personal friends. This will not be a show for them, this will be a celebration with their friends. Sylvan Esso – This is their summer, their year. They are having the best time in their lives. They will be dancing and dancing. Valerie June – She will start with a solo acoustic guitar, immediately following the 50 guitars of Vision Celestial Guitarkestra blaring a 30 minute jam. From the screeching heavens to the earthly power of Memphis soul. Intense.

You’re are old pros at this by now, but are there any residual nerves that come up when approaching a new year? Any new challenges this year?

KT: As more and more festivals are added to the Chicago schedule it becomes increasing[ly] more challenging to secure talent and sponsors. Sewing the tablecloths is always a challenge. [We’re] thankful for our 450 + volunteers who help us out every year. People are so kind and generous.

TT: The challenge is always weather and electricity. We can’t sleep at night, worrying about the weather and the generators. We need warm, dry weather, ice cold beer, and generators that won’t blow out when the bands play loud.

What is the thing you think people love the most about attending the Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest that they don’t get from Pitchfork or Lolla?

KT: People People People. Seeing so many old friends and their children and how they have grown. A sense they we all did this together. It is a DIY operation and people feel ownership. It is their festival not ours.

TT: At Lolla you pay extra for VIP area and treatment. At Pitchfork you need to be on the guest list for the VIP area. At the Hideout Block Party it’s so much more intimate that everyone feels like they are in [the] VIP area. And everyone runs into old friends.

Any new vendor partnerships you’re particularly excited for this year?

KT: 1) Good Ideas Tent: EarLove, Voter Registration, 606 Bloomingdale Trail, Poetry Foundation, Illinois Humanities Council, Art License Plates, Foundations of Music, Chirp Radio and our bartender Emily is running in a marathon to raise money for Special Olympics 2) Wendella Boats Water Taxi 3) Publican as a food vendor.

TT: I love Lagunitas Beer, especially since the beer will be actually made in Chicago this year – Tony and Karen have been amazing partners! I love Ada Street Restaurant and County BBQ – David and Michael at DMK Restaurants have become really great friends and neighbors to the Hideout!

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