The Everett Music Initiative team, (from left) Ryan Crowther, Nate Feaster and Michael Hannon. (Everett Music Initiative)

The Everett Music Initiative team, (from left) Ryan Crowther, Nate Feaster and Michael Hannon. (Everett Music Initiative)

As Everett Music Initiative turns 10, downtown no longer a ‘ghost town’

The group will celebrate its birthday Thursday night with a party to kick off the eighth Fisherman’s Village Music Fest.

EVERETT — When Ryan Crowther moved to Everett in 2012, the lack of night life and live entertainment in the city surprised him.

He was tired of driving to Seattle or Bellingham to see shows when there was ample interest and opportunity to host them locally. At the time, Crowther was working for Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

“I kept hearing words like ‘community vitality’ and ‘livability’ in that job,’” he said. “At the time, I wondered, ‘Why, when you walk downtown on a Saturday night at 9:45 does it feel like a ghost town?’”

Crowther was inspired to change that. He founded the Everett Music Initiative with a mission to make the local music scene come alive. It took off, bringing crowds of over 100 to shows. In 2014, EMI launched its flagship event: the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest.

Over 400 events and 3,000 artists later, EMI is celebrating its 10th birthday in the way it does best: live music.

The eighth Fisherman’s Village Music Fest will open 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Historic Everett Theatre. Seattle-based indie singer/songwriter, Tilson XOXO will play first, followed by Shaina Shepherd and Deep Sea Diver, also of Seattle.

Red and black balloons will fill the theatre as a “super goth-y” decoration, Crowther said. The party will serve as a special thank you to the EMI board and crew of more than 60 volunteers who make the festival possible.

Volunteers and staff of the Everett Music Initiative. (Everett Music Initiative)

Volunteers and staff of the Everett Music Initiative. (Everett Music Initiative)

In honor of EMI’s decade-long existence, The Daily Herald sat down with some key team members to learn about their roles, and to see what they’re most excited about this year:

Maggie Burton

Age: 32

Role: Night Market coordinator

Looking forward to seeing: Lavender Country

Burton is the newest member of the EMI team. She got involved with the group about a month ago to help bring art and culture to Everett.

“I do not like driving out to Seattle for shows,” she said, “because you always end up getting home so late. I get so stoked when there’s cool bands so close to my house.”

Kailey Denning

Age: 23

Role: Event coordinator

Looking forward to seeing: Shaina Shepherd and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Denning got involved with EMI last year. She had experience working in the live music industry, she said, so she jumped at the opportunity when she saw EMI was looking for help.

Jonny Elia

Age: 30

Role: Beer garden/bar manager

Looking forward to seeing: Ural Thomas & The Pain

Elia met Crowther in 2014. A longtime Everett resident, he got involved in EMI to make night life happen in Everett.

This year, Elia said three custom cocktails will be served at the festival: the Everett Sea Breeze, the Fisherman’s Friend and the El Marino Loco.

Nate Feaster

Age: 28

Role: Jack (and master) of all trades

Looking forward to seeing: French Cassettes

This is Feaster’s fifth year working with the EMI team.

“I hit up EMI when I was living in Lynnwood,” he said. “I fell in love with shows and wanted to make my own shows.”

Kristen Keenan

Age: 45

Role: Night Market coordinator

Looking forward to seeing: Digable Planets

Keenan founded the Everett Makers Market in 2015. She and Crowther joined forces to create a free option for those who don’t buy tickets to the festival. This year’s Night Market will offer vendors, food trucks and a beer garden.

“It’s a match made in heaven when you have live music and artisan makers come together,” Keenan said. “That’s my thing — bringing artists to artists.”

Elyse “Public Transport Queen” Lankford

Age: 25

Role: Artist relations, booking and marketing

Looking forward to seeing: Bread Pilot and Dean Johnson

Lankford fell in love with the festival in 2016 as a teenager, she said, because of its affordable ticket prices and walkability. She joined the organizing crew in 2021.

“It’s nice to be able to tap into this festival that I’m very fond of,” she said. “It’s such an awesome community feeling.”

Sarah Westby

Age: 26

Role: Graphic designer

Looking forward to seeing: Deep Sea Diver and Death Valley Girls

“I moved here during the pandemic when there really wasn’t much to do in Everett,” she said. “This was a great opportunity to figure out what was going on in the local arts scene.”

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @reporterellen.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Logo for news use featuring the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Tulalip man sentenced to 4 years for carjacking

Michael J.D. Clark Jones received help from a woman after fleeing the police. He then assaulted her while stealing her car.

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

Police stand along Linden Street next to orange cones marking pullet casings in a crime scene of a police involved shooting on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens man identified in Everett manhunt, deadly police shooting

Travis Hammons, 34, was killed by officers following a search for an armed wanted man in a north Everett neighborhood.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Most Read