Eclectic music mix for Ober Park concert series

Celtic, bluegrass, country, Cuban bands in the lineup

The Paperboys, from Canada, will play the first free concert in the Ober Park series on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. (Björn Friedrich Photo).

The Paperboys, from Canada, will play the first free concert in the Ober Park series on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. (Björn Friedrich Photo).

Islanders, get ready to kick off your shoes — it’s time to dance in the grass again at a series of free, outdoor summer concerts at Ober Park. The shows, presented by Vashon Events and the Vashon Park District, will be held weekly on Thursdays in August, with a roster of bands spanning the genres of Celtic bluegrass, traditional Cuban music, roots and bluegrass folk, country, indie folk-rock and homegrown reggae.

Pete Welch, of Vashon Events, said he loves booking the bands for this summertime staple on Vashon — evenings that include the whirl of children running back and forth to Ober Park’s playground, couples enjoying gourmet picnics on the grass and exuberant gaggles of high school kids and oldsters alike boogying down in front of the bandstand.

“The Concerts in the Park audience has grown in size over the last few years,” Welch said. “It’s really been fun to watch our community come together through music.”

This year, Welch added that he’s pleased to announce a bad-weather backup plan for the concert series: in case of rain or storms, the concerts will move from the park to the Katherine L. White Hall of Vashon Center for the Arts.

The first of the five outdoor concerts starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, with a show by the Canadian band The Paperboys. For 25 years, the group has toured the world, playing a freewheeling mix of music inspired by everything from Celtic sounds and bluegrass to Mexican son jarocho and brass bands. The Paperboys have won a Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy) and garnered two more Juno nominations and two West Coast Music Awards. They’ve also released nine albums and regularly play two-night gigs in the Pacific Northwest.

According to Welch, the band is a great live act.

“They shine most on stage,” he said, adding that the group has developed a large following with the benefit of a record label and radio play.

The next band in the concert series will be Kiki Valera & Cumbache, playing traditional Cuban music (7 p.m. Aug 9). The group’s bandleader, Welch said, is considered by many to be Cuba’s greatest living cuatro player. He is also a highly sought-after multi-instrumentalist (tres, guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion), composer, arranger, sound engineer and producer.

At 7 p.m. on Aug. 16, The Warren G. Hardings Band will bring high-octane bluegrass to the Concerts in the Park peformance, and at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, The Sarah Jane Scouten Band will play country music. According to Welch, Scouten, also from Canada, has a singing and songwriting flavor comparable to country icons Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffiths.

The concert series will close out at 7 p.m. Aug. 30, with the beloved homegrown reggae band, Troll’s Cottage, fronted by islander Jacob Bain.

Dogs, smoking and alcohol are not permitted in Ober Park.

More in Arts

Summer Arts Fest rolls on with six new exhibitions

Jo Robinson will debut ultra-close-up photographs of blossoms as they transform into fruit.

Art appreciation: Ray Pfortner shares 25 years of memories

The exhibit is a nod to the fact that Pfortner has now resided on the island for 25 years.

A new poet laureate brings passion to her post

Susan Lynch accepted the mantle as laureate on June 27 at a ceremony at Vashon Winery.

Acclaimed dancers find a space to create on Vashon

Seattle Dance Collective will perform its debut program at Vashon Center for the Arts.

What’s Happening July 18 – 25

An islander takes on the heart of Paris, an ensemble acapella performance, Sarah Christine, and more

Drama Dock rocks its take on ‘Tommy’

Three young actors are standouts in the community theater production.

Go on a midsummer’s night gallery cruise

Most spots are open from 6 to 9 p.m.

What’s Happening June 27 – July 4

Sona Jobarteh, a glam production of “Tommy,” hip hop luminaries, Seattle Dance Collective, and more.

Legendary artist Coco Montoya will headline at Rotary’s blues festival this weekend

“If it feels good to us, we hope it feels good to the crowd.”

Up-and-coming country queen brings twang to an island show

Her recent album included assists from major players from Seattle and beyond.

What’s Happening June 20 – 27

Get out and journal with Darsie Beck; country singer Miller Campbell; beer and the Blues, and more.

‘Come Together’: a tribute to The Beatles

Island bands and musicians will perform songs from the Fab Four canon.