Major music artists to join locals at Stillaguamish Festival of River

Among the rock, blues and country headliners at the free, 24th annual Stillaguamish Festival of the River in Arlington are Leon Russell, Jonny Lang and Lee Brice.

Gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. If you arrive at River Meadows County Park before 4 p.m., your only cost for the concerts is the $5 parking fee. After 4 p.m., the fee goes up to $10, which is still a bargain considering all the entertainment and activities at the festival.

Festival sponsor the Stillaguamish Tribe reports that more than 14,000 people attended last year’s festival, which celebrates the environment and cultural diversity.

On Saturday, Peter Ali, Simon Lynge, the James Hunter Six and English Beat are scheduled to warm up the crowd through the afternoon. Russell takes the stage at 7 p.m. followed by Lang about 9 p.m.

Singer, songwriter, pianist and long-valued studio musician Leon Russell, now 71, is perhaps best known for his songs from the 1970s including “A Song for You,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Young Blood,” “This Masquerade” and “Tight Rope.”

A few years ago, Russell and Elton John released an album together and performed on TV’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Lang, now 32, made his name when he was just a teenager. His studio album “Lie to Me” earned the acclaim of many old bluesmen, who could not believe he was only 16.

Sunday is country music day at the festival, with a full afternoon of music by Jesse Taylor, the Martha Redbone Roots Project, Sarah Darling and the Henningsens. Lee Brice comes on at 8 p.m.

Brice, a regular at the festival, is known for his songs “A Woman Like You” and “Love Like Crazy,” but has written songs for the likes of Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks.

In addition, the festival features a pow wow with dancing and drumming by tribal groups from throughout the region, environmental exhibits and interpretive walks, a logging show, lots of children’s entertainment and activities, performances by the New Old Time Chautauqua circus troupe and sales of American Indian crafts, a traditional alder-baked salmon dinner and other food.

Picnic baskets are welcome, but not alcohol.

Stillaguamish Festival of the River runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Road, between Arlington and Granite Falls. More information is available at www.festivaloftheriver.com.

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