Tingting Wu

Upper Left Lit Up Smith Tower at Upstream Music Festival [Review]

Local artists, live music, hyped crowd, breathtaking view. These four things sum up the Upper Left stage at Upstream Music Fest this year. It was a night with great music and great company. Upper Left curated the second day of Upstream Music Festival. However, it was was the first day Smith Tower opened their doors to festival-goers. The energy was fresh and exciting.

Before we talk music, let’s talk about the view from the stage. The Upper Left venue was located at the historic Smith Tower. Getting to the actual stage on the 18th floor is an adventure of its own. The beautiful interior and manually run vintage elevators made us feel like we were in a black and white film.

Though the wait to get in took longer than some other stages, it was worth it. Once you step foot onto the 18th floor, the windows were the first place you head to. The 360-degree view overlooks Seattle and it is indescribable. You can see down to the festival from the top. Walking throughout the floor felt like being at a penthouse party.

Photo: Tingting Wu

Upper Left curated two stages on the 18th floor; Forms stage and Studio 4/4 stage.The Forms stage featured a subtle yet eye-catching light installation. The Studio 4/4 stage was a bit more laid back and floral. Both stages having LIVE sets from 9 pm – 2 am. Performances by local favorites included Tezatalks and Justin Hartinger. We even caught up with PNW native DOT before her performance. Here are some highlights from the Upper Left stages.


You’d never have known it, but despite producing music for over a year together and having an EP signed to a label, this was Tezatalks’ first live performance together. The energy was intense, and the live vocals were every bit the firebrand they are on the Chaos EP.

Photo: Tingting Wu


Local music producer Qreepz gave a thrilling performance with live rappers and an eye-catching setup. His stage gave off a visual vibe that aligned perfectly with his beats.

Photo: Tingting Wu

Justin Hartinger

Seattle favorite, Justin Hartinger debuted his first live performance featuring live vocals from artists such as Spencer Shangrow. Festival-goers came out in full force and packed the 18th floor.

Photo: Tingting Wu

Mike Illveser  

The beautifully decorated Studio 4/4 stage set the mood for intimate performances. Dancers hit the floor with energetic, choreographed dance moves while Illvester hit the stage. His multi-instrumental set up consisted of several drum pads and keyboards. His funky and soulful beats kept the crowd dancing and energy flowing.

The live performance aspect the Upper Left curated stage brought made for an unforgettable first year of the festival. No need to travel down to Texas for SXSW anymore when we can head Upstream.

Did you make it up to the 18th floor of Smith Tower? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought!