On Stage

Sh'Bang!

A picture-perfect party

Attend

What: Sh'Bang! A Festival of Ideas

Where: Lookout Arts Quarry, 246 Old Hwy. 99 N.

More:

WHEN: Sept. 6-8

Cost: $25-$160

Info: http://www.shbangfest.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Last week, after perusing hundreds of photos of past Sh’Bang! events, I was left with a few conclusions about the late-summer gathering that, early every September, fills the Lookout Arts Quarry near Alger with all manner of entertainment and enticements.

First off,  I observed that those who choose to attend the “Festival of Ideas” at the former rock quarry seem to be just as likely to have a good time if the rain is falling as they are if the sun is showering them with rays. If the weather’s not ideal, attendees simply dance in the mud, don rain jackets to watch or participate in the offroad downhill soapbox derby—the gravity-powered race that was the genesis for the inaugural Sh’Bang! 12 years ago—and still show up in droves to support the performers who work around the clock to entertain and enlighten the masses.

I also took note of the wide grins that were plastered on the mugs of many of the children who have joined their parents over the years to explore the magic to be found within the 40 forested acres located just 15 minutes from Bellingham. Whether they’re hanging out at the creative kids’ zone known as Harmonious Hollow—a volunteer-run space that includes an innovative playground, music-making toys, costumes, bubbles, face-painting, workshops and a napping area—swimming in the shallow end of the quarry’s private lake, or perched atop their parents’ shoulders to watch a mesmerizing aerial act, it’s clear they’re having the time of their young lives. 

The final line item that stuck with me was the jaw-dropping array of happenings that span the three days of the festival—which this year takes place Fri.-Sun., Sept. 6-8. Sh’Bang may have started with a soapbox derby, but the add-ons of local and internationally renowned circus artists, musicians, DJs, interactive events and far beyond have made it necessary to hunker down for the weekend in order to take it all in.

In addition to this year’s art installations, workshops, carnival games, wood-fired sauna, trapeze zip line into the lake, waterslide, puppet shows, storytelling, 100-plus live bands and genre-defying performances happening throughout seven themed zones on five stages, a few surprises are still in store.

Some highlights to expect include parades led by the Chaotic Noise Marching Corps, swimming in the quarry to the music of Baby Gramps, superstar punk troubadour Jason Webley’s floating Flotsam River Circus, an all-star Saturday-night circus featuring performers from around the globe, High Step Society’s dance-inspiring electro swing, Parts Per Million’s aerial pinata pandemonium, Sunday’s Aquatic Circus on the Water, and a raucous late-night neo-burlesque cabaret sandwiched between sets by Intuitive Compass, Hot Damn Scandal, and Three for Silver.

To find out what other astonishments await you, make your way to the Lookout Arts Quarry in the coming days. Dress for the weather, and be prepared to make memories for your own photo album.

More On Stage...
Edgar Allan
The mystery and the mania

As cofounders of the Twin Cities Horror Festival, actors and musicians Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan are familiar with things that go bump in the night.

Performing as the Coldharts, the Minnesota-based duo furthers their love for the macabre by bringing original works inspired by the…

more »
An Iliad
Summer Rep’s swan song

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with the Sylvia Center’s epic Summer Rep season, which kicked off its five-play run of ancient Greek plays with Briseis June 20 and ends this weekend with free outdoor performances of An Iliad at Maritime Heritage Park.

When actor and…

more »
Standup Roundup
The laughter list

The best comedians make telling jokes in front of an audience look easy, but anybody who’s ever witnessed one of their friends nervously testing out their routine in front of a mirror in their bathroom (been there, done that) knows full well it can be an arduous path to the punchline.…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Anything Goes Arts and Crafts

10:30am|Sumas Library

Nuclear Power and Weapons

6:30pm|Lynden Library

'Hamster Church with Brad Lockhart

6:30pm|Old Parish Hall

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Grizzly Boy

3:00pm|Point Roberts Library

Cook It and Book It

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Community Conversations Book Club

5:00pm|Village Books

Artist Workshop

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Wednesday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Wednesday Farmers Market

2:00pm|Barkley Village Green

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Disruptive Play

7:00pm|Village Books

Native Plant Seed Propagation Basics

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Brad Shigeta Quintet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts,

see our complete calendar »