This Year, It’s an All-Local Lineup for Concerts in the Park

According to Pete Welch, of Vashon Events, this year’s Concerts in the Park will intentionally showcase the richness and variety of Vashon’s music scene — and welcome audiences back to Ober Park to show local musicians how much they have been missed.

Concerts in the Park, a long-running and popular free outdoor series presented by the Vashon Park District, will return after a one-year hiatus, at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, August 5 to 26, at Ober Park.

This year, the lineup of local bands will intentionally showcase the richness and variety of Vashon’s music scene, bringing well-known island names to the stage, said Pete Welch, co-founder of Vashon Events, the curator of the lineup.

“This year, we will feature some of our community’s local bands in an act of solidarity and community spirit,” Welch said, adding that many of the island’s working musicians have had a rough year, both emotionally and financially.

Welch is also enthusiastic about the opportunity to give islanders a chance to gather in a beloved outdoor location on Vashon — Ober Park.

“There’s plenty of grass and natural berms to spread out those picnic blankets and enjoy music on a warm summer night,” he said. “Families can come to relax, let the kids play on the playground and enjoy the entertainment.”

The first concert, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, will feature soul and rhythm and blues music by The Confessions — a mostly Vashon-based group with a throwback sound. Mining gospel, early rock & roll, and sounds of the Motown era, songwriter and front-woman Camille Reeves will perform original tunes inspired by classic American music. Her band features three horns — Samantha Boshnack on trumpet, Chris Credit on baritone sax and Traci Ferrara on tenor sax. Meanwhile, the foundation of The Confessions’ sound is laid down by the rhythm section, made up of Chris O’Brien on the keyboard, Gavin Kovite on bass, and Brian Dougher on drums.

On Thursday, Aug. 12, St. Ophelia will perform. This well-known island alternative folk and rock band is a five-piece ensemble fronted by vocalist and guitarist Rebekah Kuzma, singer-songwriter Joe Panzetta, and pedal steel player Dan Tyack. Its rhythm section includes Wesley Peterson on drums and Chuck Keller on bass. The group’s original songs run the gamut from groovy to rockin’ to spacious, Welch said. Currently, the band is recording its second album with producer Martin Feveyear, and crowdfunding to help pay for production and distribution costs. Visit saintophelia.com to find out more about their music and support their recording efforts.

On Thursday, Aug. 19, Poultry in Motion, another local band, will bring their signature blend of country, rockabilly, zydeco, rock, Cajun and swamp pop, plus a few original compositions, to the stage at Ober Park. band.

The series will close on Aug. 26, with One More Mile, a blues band fronted by “The Principal” Jason Lollar, on vocals and lead guitar) and “Lonesome” Mike Nichols, on vocals and harmonica. Theirs is an island musical brotherhood that goes back for decades, according to Welch. Other players in the band, helping to serve up classic blues, funk, and rock and roll, include keyboardist and vocalist Tony Mann, bassist and vocalist Chuck Keller and drummer and vocalist Wesley Peterson.

Welch said he hopes islanders turn out in droves for the concerts, and bring their dancing shoes.

“Let’s show these guys how much we missed them,” he said.

— Concerts in the Park are free to all. Islanders are asked to leave their dogs and smoking materials at home.