Extend your summer in Bellingham’s Backyard
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
At a rainy wedding I attended in Maple Falls last Sunday, the bride and groom didn’t seem fazed by the downpour. Even though they were getting married outside, the vows took place under a tent in front of a roaring fire, and went off without a hitch. Soon thereafter, the precipitation stopped, pictures were taken near a scenic field of blooming dahlias, and someone arrived to squeegee the concrete dance floor—which got plenty of use later in the night, when the vaccinated guests paid homage to the final weekend of summer by joyfully moving their bodies to the music.
The event made a couple of things clear to me. First, people who’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for a while don’t freak out when there’s a chill in the air or a few raindrops fall. They bring layers of clothing, and don them accordingly. Secondly, PNW residents realize that summer doesn’t always end when the calendar says it does, and early fall often brings with it some of the most spectacular weather of the year.
This seasonal extension is expected to be in full effect this week at Boundary Bay Brewery’s Beer Garden, where “Bellingham’s Backyard” will be the scene of a number of events winding up a streak of outdoor concerts that started in June and will wrap up at the tail end of September. If you’ve been to one of these “Garden Parties,” you’re probably already aware these recurring events have been a gift to the community after a long pandemic-related hiatus when stages were silenced and live music was difficult to come by.
Thurs., Sept. 23 will see the continuation of Stringband Thursday, a lineup of concerts curated by Stringband Jamboree founder and musician Robert Sarazin Blake. From 5pm-7:30pm, this week’s offering will feature the lovely country, folk, old-time and bluegrass sounds of the Dovetails, a band from the Skagit Valley comprised of Jessica Gigot and Dean Luce—a married couple who, when they’re not making music together, run a farm and a family, raise sheep and make cheese.
From 8pm-11pm that same night, a Twilight Hour concert with Three for Silver and Crooked Constellation will take the covered stage. The former band features “one-of-a-kind instruments you’ve never seen playing styles mixed in ways you’ve never heard,” and the latter describes themselves as a “Cascade Grass Band” with an aim to get people dancing.
At 6pm on Funky Friday—an end-of-week event that pairs a delicious fish fry with musicians who aren’t hesitant to bring on the funk—trombonist and singer Emily Asher will make her mark. After a career as a bandleader and sidewoman in New York City for years, Asher has returned to Bellingham to teach, and is currently on the jazz faculty at Western Washington University.
Hold on to your seats, because the following day’s all-ages End of Summer Garden Honky Tonk will be an all-day affair. Starting at 1pm Sat., Sept. 25 and continuing until well after dark, the event will feature five bands, food trucks galore, plenty of beer and a full serving of community camaraderie.
The Bellingham-based duo known as the Sweet Goodbyes will kick off the day of tunes. Amber Darland and Lisa Harmon have been performing together since the spring of 2015, and are known for their intricate melodies, vocal prowess and original songs ranging from the political to personal. They’ll be followed by Starboard Moon, Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl, and the folk trio Wandering Seas.
Up to that point, the music will be free. Starting at 7pm, a cover charge of $12 will be collected at the door for the closing act, the Dusty 45’s (pictured). The band has been bringing their big Americana sounds to local and regional stages for more than 20 years, and seem like an apt ensemble to bring a symbolic end to summer.
While the forecast in coming days points to sunshine, the nights are getting chillier and rainstorms are known to appear out of nowhere around these parts. Although Bellingham’s Backyard is mostly covered, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a layer (or two). But you probably already knew that, didn’t you?
For more details about concerts taking place at Boundary Bay Brewery’s Beer Garden through September, go to http://www.bbaybrewery.com/events