Arts and Entertainment

A breezy locale makes for a friendly folk fest

Larry Murante is the headline star of Vashon Winery’s fourth annual folk festival.  - Courtesy Photo
Larry Murante is the headline star of Vashon Winery’s fourth annual folk festival.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The sun-dappled grounds of Vashon Winery will be the site of an intimate folk festival this Saturday. 

It’s the fourth annual such event at the winery — a time when music lovers can sit under the shade of apple trees listening to music being played from a makeshift flatbed trailer stage.

This year’s festival, organized by Islander Mark Wells with help from Wally Bell, will start at 2 p.m. and stretch into the evening hours, with an impressive roster of folk acts. 

“I love the location,” said Wells, who is helming the festival for the second year in a row. “It’s a very small festival with a wide variety of very good music, and it’s just such a neighborly, fun event.”

This year’s festival will be headlined by Larry Murante, a prize-winning songwriter and performer. 

Music has always been a part of Murante’s life, beginning with a childhood spent in Nazareth, Penn. — the town where Martin guitars are made. Influenced in his growing-up years by stars like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and The Eagles, Murante started playing music professionally while still a teenager. He still criss-crosses the country on tours, performing a mix of folk concerts, festivals and house concerts. He has recorded three albums and picked up more than two dozen prestigious songwriting awards in the past two decades.  

Murante will be joined at the festival by several other well-known acts on the international folk festival circuit.

Cat Loves Crow, a husband-and-wife-duo comprised of Joe and Karena Prater, has an old-timey repertoire of original, traditional and even Russian songs. They accompany themselves on guitar, upright bass and mandolin. 

Tanya Opland, a singer and songwriter from England, will play a set, as will True Wind, a Bay Area duo that specializes in  contemporary folk and Americana music. American folk and Celtic music darling Rose Laughlin will also be on the bill. 

Vashon’s own vibrant music scene will be well represented, with appearances by Jeff Kanzler, an alternative country singer, and the Island bands Watermark and Riverbend. MiddeMarch, a trio comprised of Islanders Wally Bell, John Dally and Kat Eggleston, will play music from the Scottish and English borderlands.

The festival will end in the evening with a bonfire and performances by a bluegrass band made up of local players.

“People are free to dance around the fire,” Wells said.


The Vashon Winery Folk Festival will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 20, at Vashon Winery, 10317 S.W. 156th St. Tickets for the all-day event are $12, with anyone younger than 16 admitted free. Food and drink, including Vashon Winery’s own cider and wines, will be available for sale. Attendees may also bring picnics to the festival, but not their own alcoholic beverages. Everyone should bring their own blankets and seating. For more information, visit 




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