An end-of-summer spectacular

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Under the list of “things you’ll need and maybe want” on Sh’Bang’s website are a flashlight or headlamp, rain gear, warm clothes and layers, camping gear, a refillable water container, things to share, some of your own food, earplugs, musical instruments, costumes, water toys and mermaid tails. (The wearing of bathing suits is optional, so you might want to bring one along in case you’re feeling shy.)

The eclectic mix of suggested items to bring along to the 10th annual “Festival of Ideas” happening Sept. 8-10 at the Lookout Arts Quarry is par for the course. In between when Sh’Bang kicks off with a 3pm outdoor art walk Friday afternoon until it ends late Sunday night with a performance helmed by a cadre of internationally acclaimed shadow theater artists, those who come to enjoy one of the last weekends of summer will experience not only the best nature has to offer, but will also have intimate access to more than 40 live bands and 37 performances on five stages. 

A downhill soapbox derby, a sunrise dance party on a floating dock, kid-focused activities, sideshows, circus extravaganzas and swimming will also be ways to pass the time while being astounded by the wealth of talent that gathers at the creatively controlled venue each September.

“Water-sliding into the pristine, stadium-sized lake at Sh’Bang! might just be the perfect way to close out such a hot summer,” organizer Clay Mazing says. “This former quarry now filled with clear rainwater is often referred to as the best swimming hole in the Northwest. The quarry takes on a special energy during Sh’Bang! with live music, dancing, zip-lining, aerials over the water, mermaids and synchronized-swimming performances. The rest of the property holds whimsical areas nestled in the mossy forest, wetlands with exciting wildlife and a blanket of stars reflected in the water and ready to dive into.”

Mazing says since this year marks a decade of merging art with nature, those who set up camp and settle in for the rain-or-shine weekend at Sh’Bang! should expect more than a few surprises. Hints include treasure coves, tea zones and something called a “funderdome.”

“Each year this festival of ideas churns out new grandiose expressions of art,” Mazing says. “Over the years we’ve added a two-story saloon facade, a giant pirate ship, a huge stage sourced from cedar on the property, a wishing well, a floating dock stage and exciting surprises in every corner fueled by the creative minds that continue to dream for the future.”

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