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For the first time in its 43-year history, the Fremont Fair is adding a ticketed concert series to its solstice celebration and has tapped two of the top groups in the Northwest, Built to Spill and Blue Scholars, to headline the main stage on Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21, respectively.

Though live music has been a part of the free-spirited solstice weekend for 20 years, the ticketed concert series marks the first time a gated attraction has been added. Music starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and the event is open to all ages.

“The painted cyclists always grab the headlines, but we want to give people something to come back to. Sure, they saw the parade or participated in the fair, but now they have a reason to stay longer,” said Phil Megenhardt, president/creative director of Bold Hat Productions, which produces the event.

The three-day Fremont Fair is in the heart of Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, which likes to call itself “the Center of the Universe,” and features a Solstice Parade (it starts at 3 p.m. Saturday this year), craft market, art cars, dog parade, yoga and children’s activities, alongside food and beverage vendors.

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Megenhardt expects the concert series to be an annual event, and one that is needed to give audiences a reason to stick around.

“I feel as the parade sort of moves into the evening, it’s the perfect time to have a gated venue so people can stay. You can go in and out (of the fair) so you can see all the vendors, do some shopping and come back.”

Bold Hat Productions worked with One Reel to book the entertainment.

“Overall we really upped the ante on the music; I believe that it’s going to be a great production and a great show overall,” Megenhardt said. “It’s the right place with a great venue, and there is already 100,00 people in the neighborhood over the weekend.”

Northwest guitar-rock legends Built To Spill, led by Boise’s Doug Martsch, will headline Friday’s main stage. The band has released a slew of critically acclaimed albums over its 22 years, and its debut, “Ultimate Alternative Wavers,” was reissued on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day 2014.

Tacocat, recognizable by its feminist-tinged pop, plus The Young Evils and Campfire OK, will open Friday’s show.

Seattle’s Blue Scholars will bring their blend of upbeat hip-hop and socially conscious rhymes to the main stage Saturday. The duo, DJ Sabzi (Saba Mohajerjasbi) and MC Geologic (George Quibuyen), released a crowdsourced album, “Cinemetropolis,” in 2011. Cascadia ’10, The Flavr Blue and the Physics will open Saturday’s show.

The fair’s Waterfront Stage will host free music starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s lineup includes Environmental Encroachment, Milonga, the Quick & Easy Boys, Juno What?!, Funky 2 Death and the Staxx Brothers. Sunday’s Waterfront performers include Moongrass, Br’er Rabbit, Blake Noble, True Spokes and Publish the Quest.

Jeff Albertson:

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