Rumor Has It
A Trickle of Tunes
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Normally at this time of year, we’re fresh off a weekend at the Lookout Arts Quarry where we thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictable wonders of the Bellingham Arts and Music Festival. We’re eating Mallard ice cream at Thursday-night concerts at Elizabeth Park or inhaling grilled fare and imbibing local beer at Blues, Brews and BBQ at the Hotel Bellwether. We’re either anticipating or discussing the Downtown Sounds lineup and wondering aloud whether this year can possibly top the attendance records set the year before.
Some of us are also preparing to run for the border and to Jericho Park for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival or to Fraser Heritage Park for the Mission Folk Music Festival, both of which entertain as well as educate us about what folk looks and sounds like the world over.
In Skagit County, folks are making plans to attend free concert series in Anacortes (with bands playing twice weekly all summer long), Burlington, Mount Vernon, La Conner, and even tiny Sedro-Woolley.
We’re also pondering the age-old question that has long defined late-summer entertainment in this area: Subdued Stringband Jamboree or Summer Meltdown? With rare exception, the season’s two marquee events happen during the same weekend forcing a difficult choice to be made by music lovers every year.
It is, as I have said so often before, an embarrassment of riches, one I’ve always appreciated while also taking it somewhat for granted, despite believing otherwise. COVID-19 has taught me some things, and that is one of them.
However, our local music scene, its venues and its artists, have proven to be both tenacious and resilient and even though our dedicated venues such as the Shakedown and Wild Buffalo remain dark until some future phase we’ve yet to reach, signs of life abound elsewhere.
At Skylarks Hidden Cafe in Fairhaven, the pretty patio has been newly expanded and Wicked Timing showed up to play some music to break it in. Under our current circumstances, I can think of few lovelier places to enjoy a meal, a cocktail and some live music.
Across town, music can also be found intermittently on the terrace outside the Hotel Bellwether’s Lighthouse Bar and Grill. Although social distancing demands it not draw the sizeable audience that crowds the terrace for Blues, Brews and BBQ, there’s something to be said for a waterfront concert played for an intimate crowd, especially if you can afford to treat yourself to the Lighthouse’s cedar-plank salmon or filet mignon to go with it (they also make a delicious burger for those on a budget).
Further north, it appears as though the Semiahmoo Marina and the Beach at Birch Bay are also getting into the socially distant musical game, with others certain to follow.
It’s no Downtown Sounds, but I’ll happily take whatever I can get.