DARRINGTON — Martin “Marty” House is back, a year older and wiser, and just as passionate about country music.
House’s second annual Spur Festival is this weekend at the Darrington Music Park. This time around, his gathering has lots of volunteer help, corporate sponsorship and a kickin’ line-up.
A high-climber logger by trade, House, 32, launched the festival in 2015. The name is inspired by the spurs on his logging boots and by the cowboy boot spurs belonging to the folks who ride in the Darrington Timberbowl Rodeo.
Tickets sales for Spur Festival lagged a bit last year, something that’s typical for any new event, House said.
“Now I have radio stations reaching out and fans reaching out, and thousands of people showing interest on social media,” House said. “Ticket sales are going well.”
Along with celebrating country music, the festival also has a mission to help wounded veterans and emergency services personnel. Free tickets have been handed out to many first responders and a portion of proceeds on Sunday will benefit a veterans group.
“This my way of serving and giving back as much as I can,” House said. “Darrington has been very supportive.”
House makes it a point to go hear as many of the individuals and bands as he can before he books them for the festival.
“It’s an amazing line up,” he said. “If you like Americana, rock and country, you need to show up, because these folks are some of the best around.”
Today, audiences will hear Audre Belt, The Bruised Hearts Revue, Lowdown Drifters, Froghollow Band, Lowdown Drifters, Brewers Grade, Whiskey Fever, Ragged Edge and the Ghost of the Outlaw.
On stage Saturday will be Maile Mae, Jones and Fischer, Nashville Northwest, Marlin James Band, Jessica Lynne, Ryan Blair, Tayla Lynn, Boot Boogie Babes, Aaron Crawford, Zach Winters, Dakota Poorman, Kevin Kieneke and Guns of Nevada.
Sunday’s line up includes The Folsoms, Michael Anthony Pratt, Highway 9, Dakota Neuman, The Olson Brothers Band and Knut Bell.
House said he is proud to have the likes of the Boot Boogie Babes line dancers at the festival, along with regional hotshot Jessica Lynne and Tayla Lynn, the granddaughter of country’s octogenarian living legend, Loretta Lynn.
But House is perhaps most eager to hear his friends Jack Mattingly, Andy Brown, Dylan Dalgarn and Dennis Dorgan, who make up the rockabilly band Whiskey Fever from Skagit County.
“I love their music,” he said. “They have been so supportive of the festival.”
Singer-songwriter Aaron Crawford, another of House’s favorites, said he appreciates the festival’s support for all the musicians.
“I have performed for some pretty small audiences,” Crawford said. “But there’s Martin House out in the crowd.”
Crawford, 37, graduated in 1996 from Snohomish High School, where he studied music with Patrick Castro and sang in the jazz choir.
“My mom said if I wanted to play football, I would have to join choir, too,” Crawford said. “Good thing, because I ended up being better at singing than I was at football.”
Crawford fronted a couple of bands when he studied at Everett Community College and worked for a church as a music leader when he was at Northwest University in Kirkland.
“My break came when I got to know a country radio DJ, and decided that was my direction,” he said. “I am definitely influenced by old-school country like Johnny Cash.”
On July 16, Crawford will celebrate his new recording “Evergreen” at a CD release party July 16 at south Seattle’s Columbia City Theater.
Tayla Lynn will also by performing at the festival, in support of a new music release.
“She is really cool,” House said. “I haven’t met her yet, but I like her and enjoy her live videos on Facebook.”
Lynn, whose husband hails from the Bellevue area, has lived here before, as did her famous grandmother.
“My daddy was born here, my oldest son was born here. I love Washington state.”
Lynn’s new four-song EP “The Ranch” — to be released in early July — includes a duet with her “memaw,” Loretta Lynn, on the song “Honky Tonk Girl,” a tune that helped jump start Loretta’s career 60 years ago. Part of the EP was recorded at London Bridge Studio in Seattle and the rest in Nashville.
“I wept when Memaw came in to record her part,” Tayla Lynn said. “She hit it the first time and she was done. I have to be able to do many takes.”
Lynn said she is thrilled to participate in the Spur Festival.
“In Nashville, country music is everywhere. It’s overly saturated,” she said. “I think people in Washington appreciate live country music and I am ready to sing.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
The Spur Festival
The Spur Festival is 3 p.m. to midnight June 24, noon to after midnight June 25 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 28 at the Darrington Music Park, located just west of town on Highway 530. Prices vary. See www.thespurfestival.com. Daily, weekend and camping combo passes available.
Also see the Darrington Timberbowl Rodeo adjacent to the music park. The rodeo starts at about 2 p.m. June 25 and 26.