Music at the Vashon Strawberry Festival 2018
Vashon Island’s annual Strawberry Festival is known to bring in some of the most talented artists local to the island as well as nationally acclaimed musicians for three days of soul, country, rock and roll, electronica, and indie music across multiple sound stages for a unique festival experience. Here are just some of the artists you should know about before you prepare to attend the festival this year.
Vashon’s own big band has been making critically acclaimed swing music for the past 40 years. A year in and year out festival favorite, the band brings an eclectic sound made up of 16 professional and amateur members. This year Tony Lillard will direct the band as it opens the Ober Park Stage.
The Adrian Xavier band blends multiple genres to create a unique sound that brings together fans of reggae, dub, and acoustic music alike. A maverick musician, Adrian Xavier has collaborated with several well-known musicians ranging from soul legends like Quincey Jones to hip-hop stars like Macklemore. The band is well known for its themes of social wellness and positivity harkening back to a Bob Marley-esque sensibility. The Adrian Xavier band will close the first day of festivities on the U.S. Bank Stage.
What do you get when you mix 30 years of American Old-Time and Celtic music together? A sound that blends a quick and rhymic pace with slow and spirited undertones. Little Deer has a unique band profile consisting of an accordion, guitar, and fiddle that gives it the freedom to perform in pubs, dance halls, and record studios. Little Deer will be playing Sunday from 3:30 to 4:15 pm on the Pandora’s Box Stage.
The 24-year-old Nashville native has collected an impressive resume for her age, achieving honors like “Top 4 American Country Star Finalist” as well as first place at “Night of the Stars” in Colorado. Perry will open the Snapdragon Stage on the final day of the festival.
Another artist famous for his genre-blending skills is JD Hobson. The Virginian, however, combines Outlaw Country, Pacific Americana, and Delta Blues to create a high paced and high energy sound that has recently taken notice on several Blues and American Roots charts. Influences from the likes of John Jackson and John Cephas in Port Townsend has refined the musician’s grasp on the Americana tradition. Hobson will perform on Saturday from 1:45 to 2:15 pm on the Snapdragon Stage.
One of the most successful artists at the festival, Newcombe has opened for the likes of Pearl Jam, Oasis, Cheap Trick, and Elliott Smith so that should clue you into his sound. According to Seattle based music journalist Charles Cross, Newcombe’s debut album “Masterwish” is “one of the years’ ten best records.” Danny Newcombe and the Sugarmakers play Sunday from 2:15 to 3 pm on the U.S. Bank Stage.
Along with his contemporaries like Mac DeMarco and Boy Pablo, Nolan Garrett is another millennial take on Bob Dylan. The Tacoma native, however, adds more grunge and classic rock flavors that yield high energy concerts with elements of Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, and Kendrick Lamar. Garrett will perform a high powered set on the Youth Concert Stage from 9:15 to 10:15 pm that will close out the first night of the Festival.
From her roots in British Columbia, Elke Robitaille has managed to tie together a unique combination of heart-pounding bluegrass to Pacific Northwest Americana. The multi-instrumentalist has completed two national tours in the United States and Canada as well as four full-length albums. She will play from 2 to 2:30 pm on Sunday at the Village Green Stage.
Slingshot around the Sun
Academically trained and fashioned from 20 years of the Seattle club scene, Slingshot around the Sun (aka Jason Dean), uses IDM, ambient, and techno sounds from hardware synths and samples to create energetic music reminiscent of genre heavy hitters like Boards of Canada and Tycho. Slingshot will hit the Youth Concert Stage from 7:45 to 8:15 pm on Friday night.
Poultry in Motion
Easily the most diverse sound on this list, Poultry in Motion includes a Cajun fiddle and accordion playing Louisianian, LA-based guitar player, Chicago bassist, and a soul singing drummer from Virginia. Additional instruments like the mandolin and banjo heavily feature in the bands line up for an additional twist to the sound. Poultry will close out the Beer Garden Stage on Sunday from 3:15 to 5:15 pm.
A Vashon native, Kate MacLeod is known the world over for her music that has been recorded and performed by international artists. Her songs touch on the soul of the island and have a quintessential Americana appeal that takes listeners back to the peaceful setting of the Pacific Northwest. MacLeod regularly collaborates with other island natives and will perform alongside Kat Eggleston when she heads for the Pandora’s Box Stage on Saturday from 2:45 to 3:30 pm.
Thanks to the range of musical styles, influences, and diverse backgrounds, this year’s Strawberry Festival will simultaneously uplift and energize audiences that come from near and far. From Cajun inspired fiddlers to tech synth percussionists, there is sure to be something for everyone at the festival.
Interested in applying for your band, or you as a musician, to perform at the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival this year?
Vashon Events is responsible for curating the music for the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival in partnership with the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce. This year, there will be six stages of live music ranging from soloists to big bands and everything in between with added sanctioned busking stations.