How Reign City Riot Captivated an Astonishing 200,000 Fans with Music

Rainbow City Performing Arts is proud to celebrate the amazing achievements of our sports band, Reign City Riot, which broke the record in our organization for the most people seeing their performances throughout the 2023 season at over 212,000 people! This incredible feat was accomplished thanks to their dedication and passion for supporting OL Reign, Seattle’s NWSL soccer team, as well as participating in various community events.

Reign City Riot was formed originally in 2015 as a grassroots drumline, eventually forming a full band in 2018. As a joint venture with the team, the band had a mission of bringing high-energy entertainment and spirit to the soccer matches and beyond. The band consists of many members of other Rainbow City ensembles and other music groups from around the community who share a common love of music, OL Reign, and diversity and inclusion.

Reign City Riot-Early Season 2023

The band’s performances feature an eclectic selection of music that spans many genres including pop, disco, rock, and punk among others. They feature music from artists native to the Northwest, as well as women, people of color, and those in the LGBTQIA+ community. This year for the first time, most of the Riot’s charts were composed by its own members. Caleb Gomes, interim assistant director and arranger of many of this year’s charts, said, “It was great to bring some more niche songs to our audience, inspired by music used by OL Reign, and starting to incorporate our own voice and sound into our performance.”

The 2023 season was a thrilling journey for the band. With the first full band rehearsal on February 8 and the first match on April 15, they played a total of 15 matches at Lumen Field this season. An early highlight of the season was joining forces with the Sounders’ band, The Sound Wave, to create a musical spectacle for 27,303 fans at the double-header with the Sounders on June 3. These bands have partnered previously and were proud to play together again.

OL Reign Pride Game 2023 PhotoOne of the highlight matches of the season was the Pride match on June 10, where the band was featured on the field, with special guests Rainbow City Color Guard, and played a tribute to the LGBTQIA+ community for 16,678 fans. At that match, the band was also proud to be featured in a profile in The Stranger by Nathalie Graham, herself a saxophone player. She interviewed the band members and also joined them for their performances. Nathalie talked to them about their personal stories, their love of music, sports, and their queer community.

Rapinoe's Final MatchThe band reached the peak of their season on October 6, when they performed at Megan Rapinoe’s farewell game, where over 34,000 fans attended to honor the legendary player and witness a record-breaking attendance for a standalone NWSL game. “We have felt the excitement in the air at each match as the crowds have grown and reached record levels” said director of the band, Wes Walton. “Support has really grown for the band as well and we can see it at each performance as our fans cheer us on and dance along! We really feed on that energy, and it has made our pre and post-match performances a ton of fun and helped us kick it up another level.” The band’s final performance of the season came on October 20, in front of the largest crowd for a playoff match in NWSL history with 12,152 pumped up fans in attendance. The band and drumline gave it their all, playing their best songs and creating a festive atmosphere for the fans and the team, powering OL Reign to a thrilling last-minute victory over Angel City FC.

Hockey Association Pride Game Photo

In addition to the soccer matches, Reign City Riot also performed at several community events, such as:

  • The Seattle Pride Hockey Association tournament on June 11, where they cheered on the LGBTQIA+ hockey teams and players from around the world.
  • HONK! Fest West on June 2, where they joined other street bands to celebrate the power of music and activism.
  • The Seafair Torchlight Parade on July 29, where they marched along with other floats and performers to showcase the diversity and vibrancy of Seattle and to represent OL Reign.
  • Rainbow City’s own Seattle Sports Pride Rally on June 18, in partnership with Seattle Center, where they hosted and performed with other pro sports bands and LGBTQIA+ athletic organizations.

Riot Sports Pride Rally

The new manager for the band Phillip Sagastume is proud of the band’s achievements and to serve his new role. “I’m very grateful to be part of such an amazing ensemble - the band has been very supportive and welcoming in my leadership position and working with both Wes and Caleb has been such a delight!” The band also added new members thanks to unprecedented demand and fielded an electric bass for the first time, adding more depth and variety to their sound. There are more plans to continue these new evolutions next season.

Rainbow City does not do this work alone, but by working closely with our partners at OL Reign to produce a match day experience that best supports the team and fans. It's a special connection not found with many bands supporting professional teams. "Sports teams and businesses like to partner with organizations like ours to play at their games or events once a year in June and that is great, we love to see it," remarked director Wes Walton. "What’s really cool about OL Reign though, is that they have chosen to partner with and lift up a queer organization at every single match for many years. They have proven themselves to be a real ally for us and our community and not just engage with us on something performative which is truly special." We are so proud of Reign City Riot for their amazing accomplishments this season and to OL Reign for their inspiration and support of our community. We can’t wait to see what they will do next season!