Ready to dance on the grass? Concerts in the Park returns

The concerts will be held every Thursday in August, starting Aug. 5, with a special bonus concert on Friday, Aug. 19, featuring the island reggae band, Troll’s Cottage.

Barefoot dancing, picnics, and mingling with friends and neighbors are all encouraged at a month of concerts coming up at Ober Park — the 2022 edition of Vashon Park District’s long-running series, Concerts in the Park.

The free concerts will be held every Thursday in August, starting Aug. 4, with a special bonus concert also taking place on Friday, Aug. 19, featuring the island reggae band, Troll’s Cottage.

The venue for the family-friendly concerts is Ober Park, located between the Vashon Public Library and the Vashon Park District building. The park features grassy berms that make perfect amphitheater seating, and the adjacent playground is always a draw for families of young children.

Islanders are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs — but plenty of people also always feel like getting up to dance at the concerts. Each concert will feature a different music genre to keep folks on their toes — everything from country to Big Band sounds to Mediterranean-style grooves.

The lineup opens with a traditional country quartet making its first appearance on Vashon on Aug. 4, playing songs inspired by golden greats including Hank Williams, Sr., Loretta Lynn, Ernest Tubb and Patsy Cline.

The Paperboys, an island favorite, out of Canada, will return to the series to play its trademark mix of what it calls “folk Cajun slam jam,” on Aug. 11.

Portage Fill, an island big band formed in the early 1970s and still delivering classic jazz standards from the songbooks of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra, will play on Aug. 18.

Trolls Cottage, Vashon’s favorite reggae band, will celebrate the release of its latest album. on Aug. 19, and The Rumba Kings, a Mediterranean-inspired band featuring mostly instrumental guitar-driven music, will appear with a special guest singer to close the series on Aug. 25.

Opening for each band this year is a fresh Vashon Events program, “New Voices” — an opportunity to hear the latest musical additions to the island music scene. Performing solo each Thursday to warm up the audience, this year’s “New Voices” artists voices include Julia Mark, Jack Devore, James McCrackyn, and Alex Amundson.

Openers will perform at 7 p.m. and the headlining band will begin at 7:30 p.m., playing a 90-minute set that will usher in sunset on Vashon.

Sound equipment and lighting for the shows will be provided by Laird Gonter of Bandstand Music, and Martin Feveyear, of Feveyear Master Mix, will be dialing in the sound.

Vashon Events co-founder, Pete Welch, said that he was excited to curate the series of shows again this year, and hopes to see lots of islanders at what he described as one of Vashon’s best outdoor concert venues.

“There’s plenty of grass and natural berms to spread out those picnic blankets and enjoy some wonderful music on a warm summer night,” he said.

No dogs are allowed at Ober Park; smoking and alcohol are also not permitted. The Concerts in the Park series is presented by the Vashon Park District, curated by Vashon Events and co-sponsored by Vashon O Sole Mio, Heidi L. Grimsley, Trigg Insurance, 4Culture, and Arts Washington.