For three years now, music lovers in Snohomish County haven’t needed to travel far for a festival experience. Those too far north for Bumbershoot in downtown Seattle and too far south for the Summer Meltdown in Darrington need to look no further than Everett where the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival takes place every May.
Behind this pay-what-you-want event – which brought together over 70 bands, six stages, several businesses, and a Food Truck Mini-Fest – is the Everett Music Initiative. EMI is an organization devoted to putting Everett on the arts and entertainment map. Since 2012, they have been creating a community between those behind, on, and in front of the music stage. The Festival is by far their largest and most publicized event.
\\ BEHIND THE STAGE \\
One of the stages this year was the Bait Shop, hosted by the Stereo Wire – a local radio show hosted by Henry Yarsinske, Jr. Yarsinske has organized concerts in the past with EMI and was offered a role at the festival in hosting the stage at Tony V’s Garage. Though the weekend was tiring for Yarsinske and caused him to work nearly twelve hour days for the whole weekend, he said that EMI did “very, very well this year” in creating a centralized, diverse, and engaging festival experience. One of the highlights from his weekend was Saturday night, where Everett bands Tellers, Crystal Desert, and I Will Keep Your Ghost closed out the evening. “It felt exciting, it felt electric, it felt alive,” he said, noting that the venue likely reached capacity during these late hours of the night.
\\ ON THE STAGE \\
The lead singer and guitarist for Crystal Desert is Ryan Alexander. Besides being excited to play a “really crazy” show at the festival, Alexander’s favorite moment from the weekend was being able to watch another band, Crater Lakes, play a set. Another notable element of the weekend for Alexander was the efforts of the festival organizers, particularly EMI, in bringing together artists and lovers of art. “I’ve been playing in bands since I was fifteen, and it was nothing like this,” he said. “They’re providing a platform for these events to exists at all, and I think that they sometimes don’t get enough credit for that … I think that we need more people like them, more groups of people involved in creating events and being involved in the city and connecting with businesses and artists.”
\\ IN FRONT OF THE STAGE \\
Ellen Felsenthal, a photography instructor from Everett Community College, spent most of the day on Saturday at the Bait Shop stage, with a highlight of her weekend being the Crystal Desert show. “It’s been really fun to see Everett kinda develop its own music scene,” she said, explaining that she grew up playing in bands and following local artists in her younger years. She wishes that she had done research on more bands beforehand so she could have watched a wider variety of musicians play. Although, even just staying at one stage made Felsenthal feel like there wasn’t enough time to see all of the talent at the festival. Felsenthal plans on attending next year. “I try to support [the Everett music scene] as much as I can because I like having local music,” she said.
Though the Everett Music Initiative may be known primarily for the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, they have hosted hundreds of other events around town and are currently affiliated directly with seven different bands. You can learn more about EMI and how to get involved at www.everettmusicinitiative.com