Seattle's Experience Music Project Plans Opening

Almost three years after breaking ground with a concert featuring The Kingsmen, Mudhoney, and The Presidents Of The United States Of America, Seattle's Experience Music Project has lined up its grand opening.

The interactive museum is the brainchild of Microsoft co-founder (and self-professed Jimi Hendrix fanatic) Paul Allen and will mark its opening on June 23 with a multi-day celebration dotted by live performances.

Organizers say that fans can expect performances from artists encompassing rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and other genres, but specific details have yet to be revealed. The EMP is also planning educational workshops, master classes, films, public programs, and tours of the 140,000 square-foot museum to mark its opening this summer.

The ambitious undertaking has been in the works since 1992 and was originally expected to open last year.

When the doors finally swing open on the EMP, visitors will find interactive, multimedia presentations

showcasing various branches on the rock music family tree, including jazz, blues, country, gospel, hip-hop, punk, grunge, and other genres. The museum's exhibits will also feature more than 80,000 rock artifacts. Performance spaces have also been built into the design of the EMP, providing opportunities for live music.

Organizers have put together nine main areas of interest for the EMP: Sky Church (a gathering place and performance venue), Crossroads (the main exhibit area), Sound Lab (a studio where visitors can play instruments), Artist's Journey (a ride-like experience), EMP Digital Collection (an archive of information, images, audio and video), Performance Stage (featuring performances, guest lectures, and other events), Electric Bus (the museum's national educational outreach vehicle), Experience Arts Camp (a day-camp program for young people), and Studio (which lets visitors take their own stab at making music).

The EMP was originally planned as the Jimi Hendrix

Museum, a shrine to the late Seattle guitarist, but Allen and Hendrix's family had a parting of the ways (see "Groundbreaking Concert Features Seattle Legends"). Allen proceeded with the project and broke ground on the site of the EMP in June of 1997.