Rumor Has It

A Bummer Summer

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Even when I know they’re coming, the cancellations still knock the wind right out of me.

Even when I understand why they’re happening, a little voice inside my head still screams, “Nooooooooo!”

I bet you can relate. Such is life in COVID times.

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood’s Fri., April 24 announcement that all city-permitted events and facility reservations were being called off touched off a cascade of cancellations.

Even though Downtown Bellingham Partnership Events Director Lindsey Payne Johnstone had been bracing for this very impact, the news that her 12th season of Downtown Sounds won’t happen was surely disappointing. No one loves to bring people together in the name of dancing in the streets quite like she does, and the loss of Bellingham’s marquee summer concert series for 2020 is a tough pill to swallow, not just for her, but also for the thousands of concertgoers who will no doubt feel the loss keenly. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, I have no doubt the Reign of Payne will continue in some form or fashion.

Also cancelled is the incredibly popular Elizabeth Park concert series, leaving its devotees with a summer’s worth of Thursday evenings to fill instead of spending them watching local bands perform at the idyllic locale in the Columbia neighborhood. Of course, the question on everyone’s minds is, without the park series, where will Margaret Bikman go to dance her Thursday nights away? However, staying tuned is in order, as the concert series’ indomitable organizer, Marla Bronstein, promises music of some kind, somehow. Considering she has a way of making things happen, I’m inclined to take her at her word.

Another COVID event casualty is the Subdued Stringband Jamboree. With much thought but little fanfare, festival founder Robert Sarazin Blake made the decision to pull the plug on his beloved annual summer tradition. In theory, given the expansiveness of the Deming Log Show Fairgrounds and the fact that the event isn’t scheduled to take place until early August, some form of socially distant music festival could be cobbled together. In practice, once one begins to consider the logistics involved, it becomes clear immediately such an endeavor would present enough obstacles so as to be insurmountable.

Summer Meltdown, which released its lineup a little more than the longest month of our lives ago, continues to promote its early August festival, but I’m guessing that behind the scenes some intense calculations are being made and hard conversations had. Perhaps they will be one of the sole survivors of 2020’s increasingly denuded summer entertainment landscape.

2021 is going to be lit as hell, though. Right?

Past Columns
A Trickle of Tunes

June 24, 2020

One Strange Summer

June 10, 2020

COVID Chronicles

May 27, 2020

Pandemic Problems

May 13, 2020

The Show Goes On

April 15, 2020

My Pandemic Diary

April 7, 2020

We’re Baaaaack

April 1, 2020

Strange Days

March 25, 2020

Making it through

March 18, 2020

Pandemic Panic

March 11, 2020

You’ve got mail

March 4, 2020

Of bongos and backwards balls

February 26, 2020

Drink it up

February 19, 2020

Apologies in Advance

February 12, 2020

All-Ages Action

February 5, 2020

Music at the Movies

January 29, 2020

Hot in Herre

January 22, 2020

Chicken and egg:

January 15, 2020

Say It Ain’t So:

January 8, 2020


January 1, 2020