Transition Fidalgo and Anacortes Music Project team up to create a weekend of social consciousness and song.
Last Saturday and Sunday, local sustainability group Transition Fidalgo hosted the Future Fest event to raise awareness of a number of social and environmental issues. Along with this educational program, the event included several artistic projects including a song writing contest facilitated by Anacortes Music Project. According to board member Todd Young, from the list of several dozen entries, five finalists were chosen. On Saturday afternoon, the finalists performed their entries. In between the songs, members of AMP moderated discussions about what kind of activities the community wanted to see in the future to maintain Anacortes’ strong support of the arts.
First up of the song writing finalists was Abigail Morgan Prout. The theme of her song ”We Are the Ones” echoed that of the song writing contest, namely to sing the future you want to build. Abigail sang is a high, clear voice accompanying herself on guitar. I would describe her entry as a modern folk song. After the first performer, Sommer Velin Carter, the AMP president spoke briefly about the importance of creativity, and how wonderful it is to live in a town that is committed to the arts, music, and preserving the forests. She went on to say that taking care of people and the community, and keeping our legacy of support for the arts is so important.
The second performers were Bellingham based duo The Scarlet Locomotive. Their entry, “Dragging the Flag” had a pretty powerful political statement to it. Guitar player Ted O’Connell mentioned that he had written the song during the Nov inauguration last year. With violinist Arielle Luckmann adding really nice high harmonies, Ted sang in what seemed to me to be a Dylanesque voice. The chorus was symbolic of using the flag to clothe people.
The peasants will sing and drag the flag.
After Scarlet Locomotive’s performance, Todd engaged the audience in a discussion about what art means to them. He asked local art supporter Chris Terrell to say a few words. Chris related a great story about how in the early 90’s, he saw an office for rent behind the long defunked bakery La Vie en Rose, and decided to open it up as a performance space. From there, he expanded his vision to the current outdoor venue of The Heart of Anacortes.
Next up on the stage was a trio consisting of Hoe and the Harrow members James Harper, Channing Waage, and Ben Goe. Their entry, “This American Dream” had a very poignant message similar to that of Scarlet Locomotive. This ballad style entry had a call to action feel to it. Channing’s vocal harmonies blended well with James’ lead singing.
The fourth entry came from guitar duo Scotch Doubles; Elaine York and John McCollister. Before launching into their song titled “Pacific” they spoke about the beauty and wonder of spending time out on the water. With lyrics about hauling in the lanyards, and life on the sea, it was pretty obvious they were serious boaters.
Before bringing on the winner of the song contest, the AMP hosts asked the audience to list what concrete actions they thought the community could undertake to continue supporting the arts. Some of the suggests were.
Painting murals around the city, assisting with art education in the schools, developing poetry workshops for young and old, and helping artists connect with other creative people. The need for a community art\performance space was also brought up. The example of the Department of Safety model of a performance space, gallery, and hostel was mentioned. Other suggestions included creating a first Thursday Music Walk and reaching out to other cities in the area to help promote the arts were mentioned.
After finishing the discussion, emcee Todd announced that finally, the winner of the song writing contest would be revealed. A hush fell over the crowd. Guitarist Chris Aiken of the Lopez Island band Field Boats received the BIG check amid applause from the audience. Chris explained that his winning entry, “This Machine” was inspired by the Woody Guthrie classic, “This Land is Your Land.” Much like Guthrie’s anthem, the winning song had a lot of movement and power to it.
This here land is your land, we can’t afford it
Along with the song writing contest, there were many art forms displayed in the rustic port transit shed. The Walk of Why Not was lined with innovative ideas for conserving resources and re-purposing materials, just to name a few.
On the wall to the left of the stage an exhibit of tapestry entitled The Tempestry Project was displayed. According to their Facebook page.
The Tempestry Project blends fiber art with temperature data to create a bridge between global climate and our own personal experiences through knitted or crocheted temperature tapestries, or “Tempestries.” Each Tempestry represents the daily high temperature for a given year and location, all using the same yarn colors and temperature ranges.
The Tempestry display pictured here represents
From 1948 (top left) to 2016 (bottom right), Deception Pass, WA. January at the bottom of each piece. Knitted by over a dozen people — cofounders of the project, but also friends and volunteers.
After the song contest, I spoke with Evelyn Adams, one of the organizers of the event about what their inspiration was.
We wanted to give a gift to the community celebrating the talents we all have, no matter how small. Considering all the negativity these days, we wanted to bring people together, to challenge them to use their ingenuity and imagination to find solutions for some of the problems we all face.
Entertainment Writer Mark Perschbacher…A man who will cross great barriers to find exceptional music, art, food, and beer. Mark is a long time Skagit County resident, contributor to, and supporter of local arts.