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Fans Leave Chris Cornell Tributes at Seattle’s Sound Garden

David Ryder, Getty Images
David Ryder, Getty Images

The unexpected death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell sent his fans into the streets of Seattle to pay their respects on May 18 — many of them congregating at the local art installation that inspired the band’s name.

Uproxx reports that a number of Cornell’s fans have headed to the Sound Garden in Seattle’s Magnuson Park to leave tributes to the singer. It’s a fitting location not only because of the name, but because as the report points out, “the installation consists of 12 towers, which are topped with organ pipes and weather vanes that produce sound whenever the wind blows.”

Designed and built by sculptor Douglas Hollis between 1982-83, the Sound Garden installation has been a popular tourist attraction in Seattle since its dedication. One of many public works created by Hollis throughout his career, it reflects his artistic mission statement to create “places that have an oasis-like quality where people can catch their spiritual breaths” — and serves as a perfectly fitting pilgrimage point for grieving Cornell fans.

The spontaneous Sound Garden tributes were just one of several citywide efforts to honor Cornell after his passing. As they announced with a tweet prior to their game against the Chicago White Sox on May 18, the Seattle Mariners held a moment of silence in his memory at Safeco Field.

Local radio station KEXP also served as the meeting point for a de facto wake, with hundreds of fans congregating to share their memories, their grief, and their tributes to Cornell. “Part of our city died today,” KEXP DJ John Richards told the assembled. “But I’m selfish — I just wanted to have a place to hang out and mourn and wanted all of you to be here … It’s OK to grieve and be sad. It’s OK to cry.”

Another event in Cornell’s honor has been announced at the Rock on the Range Festival, where Soundgarden were scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio this weekend. “Our hearts are filled with sorrow, but the show must go on,” reads an update on the festival’s Facebook page. “Please join us immediately after Live’s performance for a special tribute to Chris Cornell.”

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