Music

Subdued Stringband Jamboree

Home sweet home

Attend

What: The Subdued Stringband Jamboree

When: 10 am Thu., Aug. 10 -13

Where: Deming Log Show grounds, 3295 Cedarville Road

Cost: $25-$135

Info: http://www.stringbandjamboree.com

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It is the nature of music festivals to remain in constant flux. Even when their names and locations stay the same over time, they tend to want to grow and change in other ways, from booking bigger and greater numbers of acts, to offering activities beyond music, to adding or subtracting stages, to changing their musical bent, to any number of other alterations and modifications.

The Subdued Stringband Jamboree, not so much.

The homegrown, homemade, decidedly down-home music festival, now in its 17th year, did its fair share of evolving for the first decade or more of its existence. It decided pretty early on a formula of offering old-timey and Americana music during an August weekend—this year taking place Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 10-13—at the Deming Logging Show grounds, a general idea that was met with success almost immediately. From there, it has undergone myriad changes both minor and more extreme in its quest to fill its niche and find favor with its audience.

However, for the past several years, Stringband has settled into a comfortable, familiar groove. Its traditions have, over time, become institutions both beloved and eagerly anticipated. The weekend seldom has surprises in store—and that is part of the festival’s considerable charm. Each Jamboree blends seamlessly into the next, the same way that spending holidays with beloved relatives become part of one extended fond memory of home.

Much of this constancy is owed to Robert Sarazin Blake, Stringband’s founder and guiding light. From its inception, Blake intended for his event to be a labor of love, brought to life by his friends to showcase their music. He built it, and we came.

What keeps so many of us returning to Stringband time and again has as much to do with the sense of community to be found at the festival as it does the music. The endeavor that began with Blake enlisting his friends to build the stage, direct traffic, take tickets and provide hospitality remains just that—except these days those friends are joined by a veritable army of volunteers, boasting an amazing array of skills and abilities, filled with seemingly ceaseless energy and good cheer, taking their jobs just seriously enough to ensure that they and everyone else have an excellent time.

Meanwhile, when he’s not putting out proverbial fires or playing music, Blake can be found on his bicycle, probably wearing a straw hat of some sort, pedaling hither and yon, surveying the scene. A more accessible festival organizer you will not find anywhere.

All of this laboring and love come together to create an experience that is enjoyable precisely because it can be counted on to be predictable. When I go to Stringband—and I’ve been to most of them—I know that the day will give me an array of bands, musicians and entertainers I love, that I will listen to them with friends who attend the festival every year, that kids will wear themselves out whirling like dusty dervishes, that I will be surprised and delighted by the Band Scramble, and that I might even be enticed to square dance some. When night falls, I know that the Stringband stage will be lit with a warm glow even as the field grows increasingly dark, that when the stages go silent, the pickin’ parties among performers and amateur musicians alike will begin and that’s when the festival will fully cast its spell.

In terms of talent, Blake has assembled a roster of performers, many of which are local, and most of which will end up collaborating with one another before the weekend is through. Among them are Petunia & the Vipers (a band that I fell in love with at a past Subdued Stringband Jamboree), the Gallus Brothers, Chris Acker & the Growing Boys, Del Rey & Steve James, Hot Damn Scandal, Deakin Hicks, Marcel & Nakos, Broken Bow Stringband, the Living Arrows, the Reverie Machine, the Shadies, the Elopements, and others. As well, the Bellingham Circus Guild will delight you with feats of acrobatics and aerialism, you can swing dance with Hot House Jazz Band or square dance with the Shadies, suss out the songwriters in the round, and more. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Blake will open the festival on the Slanted stage, and will play the penultimate set the final night on the Flat stage. I’m guessing he’ll probably manage to sneak onstage with another band or five—and will be quick to encourage other collaboration-minded musicians to join him.

In a world that can often feel like it is changing at breakneck speed, a festival that feels familiar and the sense of community it spawns become that much more important. It’s nice to know that, at least as far as the Subdued Stringband Jamboree is concerned, you can go home again.

More Music...
Live At The Lincoln
Rebels with a cause

During the course of the coming days, the Lincoln Theatre will host three big-name acts—Bebel Gilberto (July 21), Leo Kottke (July 25), and Robert Cray (July 31)—and at first glance, it would seem the only thing they have in common is the historic venue at which they’ll perform.

But dig…

more »
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Run for the border

I am in the habit of reading the news every day, usually within minutes of waking up. I have done so for a good portion of my life, and it used to make me feel informed and more prepared to take on the day.

These days, not so much.

Now when I launch my New York Times app, I do it…

more »
Downtown Sounds
You are my sunshine

As our much-anticipated and much-needed sun dissolved into gray skies and showers last weekend, I had a conversation with someone who insisted that June 21 marks the first day of summer. Given that this person has lived in Western Washington for most of his life, I was surprised to hear…

more »
Events
Today
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Northwest Raspberry Festival

10:00am|Lynden

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Summer of Blood

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

LOL-apalooza

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Raspberry Pancake Breakfast

7:00am|Lynden Community Center

Tour de Whatcom

7:30am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Christmas in July Bazaar

9:00am|Bellingham Masonic Center

Twin Sisters Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner, North Fork Library

Four Democrats seek election in the Skagit

9:00am

Primary Election Forum

9:30am|Bellingham High School

NW Art Beat Studio Tour

10:00am|Skagit County

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Summer Seersucker Bicycle Ride

10:00am|Gilkey Square

Lynden Farmers Market

10:00am|Centennial Park

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Islander Grocery Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Downtown Market Walk

11:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Street Food Saturdays

11:00am|Zuanich Point Park

Show & Shine

11:00am|BelleWood Acres

Hot Ticket

11:00am|North Fork Library

Public Sail

12:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

The Nandia Trilogy

1:00pm|Barnes & Noble

Craftapalooza

1:00pm|Point Roberts Library

Concrete Saturday Market

1:00pm|Concrete Community Center

Field Games

1:00pm|VanderYacht Park

Wren and Della

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Lynden Cemetery Tour

1:00pm|Lynden Cemetery

State Street History Tour

1:30pm|Depot Market Square

The Secret Garden

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Ferndale Uncorked and Uncapped

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Whatcom Democrats Country Picnic

4:00pm|Hovander Homestead Park

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Feast and Frolic

5:30pm|Viva Farms

Saturday Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Music at Maritime

6:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Austin Jenckes

7:00pm|Eagle Haven Winery

Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

7:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert

7:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Bebel Gilberto

7:30pm| Lincoln Theatre

Gerrymandering Update

7:30pm|Island Library

2018 Cascadia Kids
Tomorrow
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Summer of Blood

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

NW Art Beat Studio Tour

10:00am|Skagit County

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Vietnam Veterans Car Show

10:00am|Barkley Village

Edison Farmers Market

10:00am|Edison Granary

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Skulls and Skins

1:00pm|Tennant Lake

Mosaic Stepping Stone Workshop

1:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Audubon at the Museum

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

Fiddlin' Fox Summer Concerts

2:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Village Books 2018 Cascadia Kids
Monday
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Rainbow Reads

12:00pm|Ferndale Library

Plant Diagnostic Clinics

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Paddling Whatcom County

6:00pm|REI

Cuban Salsa

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Books on Tap Two

6:30pm|Tino's Pizza & Pasta Co.

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Trove Web Village Books 2018 Cascadia Kids Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1