November 28, 2011

welcome to doe bay

This past August I spent five days at one of the most incredible, tightly-knit, music-saturated festivals I have ever been a part of. You might remember my raves about The Doe Bay Fest, a small homegrown festival on an island in the San Juans with a radiantly breathless air of magic — pure and simple. There is a new independent documentary in the works which tries to chronicle and identify what makes this festival amazing and so necessary in music today.

Welcome To Doe Bay looks at this phenomenal confluence of artists and attendees with no boundaries, and delves into how festivals like this one –at least to hear me say it in the interview I gave for the filmmakers– just might save the world, or, at least, save our musical souls. I forgot to meet with the directors during the fest because I was too busy running all over the island seeing jaw-dropping music from the time I woke up until long past when I should have been in bed, so they arranged for me to sit for an interview for the film on a sunny Ballard afternoon the day after the fest, to give a perspective as a music-lover from outside the local scene, and my impressions of the weekend. I remember being just glowingly, borderline-incoherently excited about what I had just lived through. I’m not sure how much of what I had to say made it into the film (spoiler: I like to ruminate), but every person and band featured in this documentary gets what makes Doe Bay incredible, and why that kind of organic passion is so, so important in music today.

The documentary is winding up a Kickstarter campaign, and trying to raise enough funds to submit to film festivals like SXSW. I really want to see this love letter of a film completed, and the music industry world of bloat and detachment needs to see what a group of musically committed individuals can accomplish through a festival like this. A donation to their Kickstarter (in these last two crucial weeks – they are so close!) will make a huge difference, and also let you see many of the performances from this last summer in an exclusive look, if you couldn’t be there that weekend. Think of it as your best way to participate in Black-Cyber-Small-Business-spending-day today, and please take a look at the trailer – which just gave me chills to watch again (Pickwick, Kelli Schaefer, The Head and The Heart, Bryan John Appleby, Sera Cahoone, just in the trailer? Yes please I want to go back there).

And if you are an artist, psssst, you should TOTALLY SUBMIT to play the fest in 2012. I guarantee you that it will be the best and most deeply refreshing musical weekend of your year.

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  • I couldn’t be more on board with this, not if I tried. It’s amazing how a short few minutes of a trailer has the power to transport back in (summer) time, to excite beyond all possible reason, to have a hefty dose of faith in the piece of art they’re putting together for the world to see, hear and experience, either all over again or for the very first, blessed time.

    Dainon — November 28, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  • Beautiful. Who are the artists featured in the clip?

    Elizabeth — November 28, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  • in order of what I can recognize: that’s Champagne Champagne in the van, a wonderful tuba player i do not know, Kyle Zantos on the banjo with the blanket serape, Chris Cunningham of Ravenna Woods, Sera Cahoone, The Head and The Heart, Campfire OK, Kelli Schaefer, Pickwick (with Kendra Cox from Lemolo pounding on the drums, and then everyone onstage with Pickwick, breaking said stage), and the final chill-inducing singalong with Kelli Schaefer on her song “Sister K.” the song playing throughout the second half of the trailer is called “Thursday After” by Youth Rescue Mission.

    whew. and that just scratches the surface.

    browneheather — November 28, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  • That look that Bryan John Appleby gives the camera once ‘Sister K’ ends was a look I felt I had on my face all weekend long. I cannot wait to see this doc.

    Adam — November 28, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  • In anyone’s opinion, what is the best way to scout out these great, relatively unknown, music festivals? I don’t mind the bigger ones (I’m from MI so I’m familiar with Rothbury festival) but i’d love to find more music fests like doe bay.

    Geoff — December 2, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  • you know, geoff, that is such an excellent question. during the interview for this film, i was talking about how regional/local festivals like this one might be the key to musical festival salvation of us all (because i am prone to hyperbole :)) but i thought of the exact same question — how do we find them? i wonder if some of these great festivals might start “blog-rolling” each other, in a similar way to how music blogs first started linking up and banding together and repping each other. I remember when I first started writing fuel/friends, that was an integral way that we would find other likeminded folks who were running these music blogs and stood for similar sorts of ethos.

    i would be really interested in any other suggestions or ideas people have.

    browneheather — December 2, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  • Hey Geoff,

    I am one of the organizers of Doe Bay Fest and I agree that your question is a great one. The truth of the matter is, I don’t really know how one finds out more about small music festivals like the one we put on because we created this one based on an idea and a number of ideals rather than any pre-existing model. To most promoters, the beginning idea that shrinking your attendence to about 1/10 of your actually capacity to make everyone comfortable and create a different atmosphere may seem kind of crazy as it translates to “less money”. I for one don’t know of other festival promoters beyond folks who generously throw house shows that operate this way.

    I’d recommend really reaching deep to find new and relatively unknown bands that are every bit as talented as the known ones. Follow them, support them, and see what festivals or unique people in your community put on events that do the same.

    Kevin Sur — December 2, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  • Also, part of this is just a do-it-yourself ethos, like blogs are. Start your own excellent live music festival around music you love, and invite local indie writers/photographers to cover it!

    browneheather — December 3, 2011 @ 10:39 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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