Music

Subdued Stringband Jamboree

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Attend

What: Subdued Stringband Jamboree

When: Thu., Aug. 11 -14

Where: Deming Log Show Fairgrounds, Deming

Cost: $25-$120

Info: http://www.stringbandjamboree.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I first met singer/songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake not long after I moved to Bellingham, now half of my life ago. For a few memorable years, he was my next-door neighbor and I would see him on a near-daily basis, which was a little weird for both of us. I have made more jokes in print at his expense than I have anyone else in Bellingham—and he has taken every last one of them in stride, a quality that can be hard to come by in local musicians.

I have also watched him grow the Subdued Stringband Jamboree, the festival he founded 16 years ago, from a harebrained scheme cobbled together by Blake and a few of his friends who had more ideas than knowhow into the mostly well-oiled machine it is today.

Although it has grown in size and proficiency of execution over the years, much of Stringband remains as it ever was—a steadfastly local, stubbornly grassroots affair that is steeped in goodwill and staffed by the cheeriest crew of committed volunteers you’ll find anywhere.

Blake has added days, stages and other elements to his festival as it has evolved, but not because he needs Stringband to be the biggest thing around—quite the contrary, in fact. The changes he’s made exist to serve the music—and the people who make the journey, year after year, to the expansive field of the Deming Log Show Fairgrounds to kick up a little dust and allemande left, all in the name of a down-home good time.

Blake has also tinkered with the lineup over the past decade-and-a-half, some years trying on bigger headliners, some years increasing or scaling back the regional footprint from which he draws musicians, and has settled on a roster that is mostly local, familiar faces with a smattering of carefully chosen bands and musicians from farther-flung locales. Blake then rounds out the proceedings with a daily square dance, workshops, late-night stages, a gospel sing-along and my favorite piece of the Stringband puzzle, the band scramble, in which bands are formed by plucking names out of a hat, only to take the stage and play a set a short time later.

After the horde of Jamboree volunteers descends upon the Deming Log Show Fairgrounds to build the main Flat stage and the smaller Slanted stage, get the backstage area squared away, test the sound, set up boundaries and barriers, and generally do all the other pre-festival behind-the-scenes work we take for granted, musicians will begin to show up, and the man himself, Robert Sarazin Blake, will kick off the festival at 5pm Thurs., Aug. 11 with his Family Band. From there, music will alternate between the two stages, but you can expect to see Yogoman, Willie Reavis & His Weary Boys, and the Crying Shame before Lache Cercel & the Roma Swing Ensemble close out the first night of the 2016 Jamboree.

The next day, Fri., Aug. 12, Stone Jones & the Stage Crew Band will start things off on the Slanted stage, where you’ll also see Meghan Yates, the Free Range Reveleers, the Stephen Nikleva Band, and more as the day goes on. The Flat stage will play host to Grace Love, Peadar MacMahon & Friends, Pete Irving & the Best Intentions, Lone Pinon, Sierra Ferrell, Hamell on Trial (one of Blake’s favorites), and Petunia and the Vipers (one of my favorites).

Same goes for Sat., Aug. 13, except the Slanted stage music begins bright and early, at 9am, with Robert T. MacDonald III, who will hand the reins off to everyone from the Bellingham Circus Guild and Peter Blake & Mountain Thyme to Marcel & Nakos and the Sweet Goodbyes before the day is done. Commanding your attention on the Flat stage will be Louis Ledford & the Little Shots, Robert Sarazin Blake (you didn’t think he’d relegate himself to just one set on the Slanted stage, did you?) the Jacob Joliff Trio, Three for Silver, the Dusty 45s, the Crow Quill Night Owls, and others before the night ends with the much-beloved and always-entertaining All-Star Jamboree, where anything can—and generally does—happen.

As mentioned, each day features a 6pm square dance (if you don’t know how, don’t worry—you’ll find ample opportunity to pick up the necessary skill set), and after the last notes of the day ring out from the Flat stage, late-night festivities featuring the likes of Sarah Goodin, Sierra Ferrell, Devin Champlin, Jefferson Hamer, Strangely, and more will provide you with a soundtrack to dance to under the stars.

By the time the 2016 Subdued Stringband Jamboree winds down on Sun., Aug. 14 with a gospel sing-along led by Meghan Yates, Louis Ledford, and Grace Love, you’ll be thoroughly entertained, your itch to square dance will be scratched, you’ll be glowing with Stringband’s particular brand of public goodwill, and you’ll probably be at least a little dirty but content in the knowledge that you are living just right.

More Music...
All Sound, No Fury
A week at the Wild Buffalo

I am not ashamed to say I spent the entirety of last weekend inside my house, mostly in my pajamas. With the exception of one brief sojourn to find sustenance, I hunkered down in my hermitage, perfectly content.

But it’s time to break out and should I need an excuse to do so beyond…

more »
Thelma Houston
Getting the last word

On paper, Thelma Houston is a one-hit wonder from the disco era.

But with Houston, as with so many things, what’s on paper isn’t even the first word, much less the last one.

To begin with, Houston (no relation to Whitney because it probably needs to be said) didn’t just have a hit…

more »
Skagit River Salmon Festival
Salmon are life

To grow up in this corner of the Pacific Northwest is to be steeped in the science and lore of salmon. Even a kid like me, from the suburbs of Everett—which are neither wild nor scenic—released hatchery fingerlings into a salmon stream during school field trips. I’m still way more…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

La Cage Aux Folles

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

The Wind in the Willows

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Brunch on the Bay

10:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Edison Farmers Market

10:00am|Edison Granary

Banned Books Week

10:30am

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Brunch and Learn

11:00am|Ciao Thyme

Your Vote Counts! Block Party

12:00pm|Depot Market Square

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

South Side Stories

2:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Waiting for the Whales

4:00pm|Village Books

Not-Creepy Gathering for People Who Are Single

6:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Moon Walk

6:30pm

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Vendovi Tours

10:00am|Vendovi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Banned Books Week

10:30am

Baker Lake Cleanup Signup Deadline

8:00am|Baker Lake

Wheelchair Gangball

3:30pm|Bloedel Donovan

Monday Night Pizza

5:30pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Books on Tap

6:30pm|El Agave 2

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books
Tuesday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Banned Books Week

10:30am

Rainbow Reads Book Club

3:00pm| Ferndale Library

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Bellingham Reads

6:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Seabird Struggles

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Beginning Square Dance Lessons

7:00pm|Ten Mile Grange

Warlbers and Woodpeckers

7:00pm|Village Books

Comedy Open Mic

7:30pm|Shakedown

see our complete calendar »

Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books