Seattle Phonographers Union at Georgetown Steam Plant - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Phonographers Union at Georgetown Steam Plant

Listen to the world in a new way at this sonic improvisation performed at a historic landmark.

Join the Atlas Obscura Society Seattle for a private performance with the Seattle Phonographers Union at Georgetown Steam Plant

The Seattle Phonographers Union is a collective of artists from various backgrounds—music, visual art, audio engineering, nature recording, film/video game sound—who engage in group improvisation using only field recordings gathered by group members in the so-called "real world." All sounds are presented as originally recorded, with only minimal editing and equalization; no other digital signal processing is used to transform them into "electronic music." Their goal is not to "excite, confuse or entertain per se, but to attend to the world," with detailed, diverse, and multi-perceptional sounds. For this  performance, group members will focus on using sounds that are recorded in, or evocative of, the Georgetown Steam Plant.

The Seattle Electric Company built the plant in 1906-1907 on 18 acres of land along the Duwamish River. At the time, the Plant stood at the heart of the Georgetown neighborhood's rapidly growing residential and industrial activity. Today, the Georgetown Steam Plant, a National Historic Landmark, is a reminder of America's era of newly electrified cities, and a time when,"industry was first attracted to Seattle by its inexpensive hydroelectric power and electric trolley system." In recent years, the Georgetown Steam Plant has been working to restore the site and each piece of its equipment.


  • 10 percent of each ticket sold will be donated to the Georgetown Steam Plant.
  • Directions to the steam plant can be found here. Do not use GPS or GoogleMaps, as you will get lost.
  • Limited parking available on-site. Carpools and public transportation are encouraged. If on-site parking is full, visitors may be requested to find parking off-site, including local neighborhood streets. Seattle City Light assumes no responsibility for personal vehicles parked on- or off-site.
  • There is no seating inside the steam plant. Please bring blankets or cushions or be prepared to stand. Collapsible chairs are permitted.
  • All visitors must stay in designated areas and not go beyond safety barriers or touch any of the equipment. Anyone not complying with these policies will be asked to leave the premises.
  • Camera tripods are permitted. Tripods are not allowed on the second-floor catwalk. Steam plant staff have the discretion to ask you to move a tripod. Camera flash is permitted inside the building.
  • Bags, backpacks, purses, and packages larger than 11” x 17” x 8” are not allowed inside the Steam Plant. Hazardous materials (e.g. pepper spray) and weapons of any kind are prohibited.
  • The only access to the second floor of the Steam Plant is via a steep flight of stairs. If you would like to request special assistance, please speak with a Steam Plant staff person
  • Seattle City Light provides an ADA-accessible portable toilet (aka, Honey Bucket) on the grounds. There is no plumbed restroom inside the building.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.