EVERETT — A sunset on Hoyt Avenue in downtown Everett made the walls of the Schack Art Center glow golden as the voice of Sarah Feinberg reverberated through the gallery.
The local singer-songwriter — who uses the stage name Sylvi — sang and played guitar for the packed gallery Thursday night, in front of paintings that hung on the wall behind her. One depicted a golden sky, and another featured a mountain. The contrast in their imagery felt right as a backdrop for the Southern California transplant who moved to Snohomish County as a young girl, bringing the beach with her in her long, sandy blonde hair. Fields of tulips in both paintings matched the singer’s red cowboy boots as she tapped her toes to the beat.
From indie rock to soul music, to 12 food trucks and dozens of vendors at the festival’s night market, the event has something to offer everybody. Festival organizer Ryan Crowther said the night market is a new addition this year, noting that it is also open to those who do not purchase tickets to the festival.
The annual festival had its inaugural year in 2014. Seven years later, the event has filled stages at six venues for three nights of music Sept. 9-11.
“It’s just a great weekend. Ryan does a great job of curating the lineups,” Feinberg said. “The festival has such a community aspect of bringing people together and sharing music. It feels so awesome to get to go just a few blocks from my house and get that experience.”
Joelle Grinspan, 33, was among the crowd who watched Sylvi play Thursday night. The Everett native has been to every Fisherman’s fest since its creation. Grinspan said she enjoys the event because she always discovers new bands at the festival she wouldn’t ever know about otherwise.
In Grinspan’s eyes, this year’s festival is extra special, because last year was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“It feels like a big reunion after 18 months apart,” she said.
This year’s headlining band, Built to Spill, hails from Boise, Idaho. The band is scheduled to play at 8:45 p.m. Saturday night on the main stage near the intersection of Wetmore and Pacific avenues.
Band front man Doug Martsch said Saturday night’s set will feature songs from several albums in the band’s discography — a nod to longtime fans and a good introduction for first-time listeners.
The indie group was formed by Martsch in 1992. They produced two independent albums — “Ultimate Alternative Wavers” (1993) and “There’s Nothing Wrong with Love” (1994) — before signing a record deal with Warner Bros. in 1995.
Martsch said he never expected his life to go the way it did, allowing him to make a career out of playing music. Despite his success, the musician has always approached his art with a striking humility. He tends to keep his interactions with crowds minimal, he said, because banter with the audience can “open up a can of worms.”
“Early on, I decided I was mostly going to keep my mouth shut,” Martsch said in a phone interview. “I felt at some point that it was too easy to say stuff, to have people laugh at any joke you told. It felt too weird.”
In 2006, music writer Eric Grandy praised the indie rock group’s absence of mystique in a piece he wrote for The Stranger.
“Built to Spill’s unassuming nature — their lack of rock-star fiction — is a big part of their charm,” Grandy wrote. “Their songs are resonant, but without specific meaning, so everything’s open to interpretation. Their live performances are powerful, but without spectacle.”
On Saturday night, Martsch will play guitar and sing with a three-piece lineup he formed in 2019 — Melanie Radford on bass and Teresa Cruces on drums. It will be the band’s first time playing in Everett, and they’re excited, Martsch said.
If you go
Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, hosted by the Everett Music Initiative, is taking place Sept. 9-11. Festival wristbands are $85. Single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday are also available for $40. More information can be found at thefishermansvillage.com.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen