First year of Fisherman’s Village Music Festival brings 70 acts to city

EVERETT — This weekend’s Fisherman’s Village Music Festival is showing off the sounds of Snohomish County and showing off Snohomish County to bands from Seattle.

The two-day, 70-act event kicked off downtown last night and continues through midnight tonight.

“It doesn’t make any sense why this is in Everett,” said Scotty Smith, 21, of Everett. “But it’s beautiful.”

Smith is the lead singer of Fauna Shade, a psychedelic rock trio that plays tonight on the festival’s outdoor stage at 2812 Hoyt Ave.

Put on by the Everett Music Initiative, the festival is founded on the belief that Everett is responsible for its fair share of new music coming out of the Northwest. Ryan Crowther and Steven Graham, the minds behind the Everett Music Initiative, opened a new venue called The Cannery in downtown Everett last month. It’s one of four stages being used for Fisherman’s Village.

The last time Fauna Shade played outdoors was when they were in high school. They performed an impromptu version of “School’s Out” on the last day of sophomore year.

“They unplugged us pretty quick,” Smith said. He describes Fisherman’s Village as “surreal.”

“It’s about time,” said Ryile Smith, Fauna Shade’s bassist, who is not related to Scotty.

One of the band’s biggest obstacles starting out was that there was no place to do a gig.

“Playing music by ourselves in our rooms or with each other at a young age, it was, ‘When can we play? Where can we play? We need to get this out there. We want to do something,’” Ryile Smith said. “Hopefully this will inspire youngins from here who think they can do it in their head but there’s no way of doing it in real life.”

Singer-songwriter Shelby Earl, 38, plays at the Historic Everett Theatre stage at 4 p.m. today. Now based in Seattle, Earl’s first job out of high school was in Everett and she lived in Mill Creek for a spell.

Earl and her band are about to kick off a regional tour that includes the Sasquatch! Musical Festival. While she thinks the Fisherman’s Village festival shows there’s an audience for music in Everett, she isn’t sure what her audience will look like today.

“That’s something we’ve kind of been wondering about,” Earl said. “I think you try to find the mood of the festival and go from there. The rest is out of your control.”

Smokey Brights, a vintage rock group from Seattle, played the 4 p.m. set at the Historic Everett Theatre on Friday. There were about 40 people in the crowd.

“We kicked off the indoor stage on a beautiful sunny day,” said lead singer Ryan Devlin. “If we would’ve been in a small bar, that would’ve been a huge crowd.”

“The first year of a festival is always a little uncertain,” said Kim West, who sings and plays keyboard for Smokey Brights. “It’s planning a huge event and you have to plan for every contingency. Even just the amount of people that were here in this first year shows a ton of promise.”

The first time Smokey Brights played in Everett was last summer.

“People were so incredibly nice and super into the set,” Devlin said. “I was like, ‘Let’s play Everett more.’ I actually went to a bunch of people and said, ‘I want to play Everett more, where do I play?’ We met a few people and they were like, ‘I don’t know where live music happens here.’”

“It felt like there was all this potential and no one was really tapping into it,” West said.

Fisherman’s Village is staffed by volunteers who are passionate about music. One of them, Trever Tuck, 22, is a musician himself. He says part of the appeal of the Fisherman’s Village festival is that three of the four venues are all-ages.

“The bar scene is a big thing here, but Fisherman’s is trying to bring it out of the bars and to everybody,” Tuck said. “For musicians, this project gives us hope.”

Fisherman’s Village Music Festival

Today the festival features 40 acts from noon to midnight, ending with Moondoggies at 11:30 p.m. at the Historic Everett Theatre. Find the schedule at thefishermansvillage.com, where you can also purchase tickets for $30.

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