(The Fisherman’s Village Music Fest)

(The Fisherman’s Village Music Fest)

Fisherman’s Village fest lineup: 10th year brings new space, new faces

The upgraded APEX Center is the fest’s main stage. Over 10,000 attendees are expected for three days of national and local acts.

EVERETT — For 10 years, the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival has brought a little something for everyone.

You want to check out an up-and-coming Seattle act without running the gauntlet of downtown parking? Good news, they’re right in your backyard.

Maybe you’re wanting to support a favorite local group, but you’re craving the packed-house vibes only a big-name show can provide. You’re in luck — the festival, organized by local promoters Everett Music Initiative, drew about 10,000 attendees last year, so Everett’s downtown venues are expected to be at or near capacity.

Coming on the heels of last year’s fest, described by organizers as the event’s biggest yet, the 2023 lineup once again delivers a wide variety of genres and atmospheres for music fans near and far. But the homegrown hoedown won’t be resting on its laurels. A new main stage at downtown’s new APEX Center will serve as the centerpiece for three days of showcasing national acts and local favorites alike.

Headliners at the 2023 festival include Oakland retro-surfer garage rockers Shannon and the Clams and Los Angeles-based band Drugdealer, whose catalog spans decades and genres with a rotating cast of guest vocalists. Both are personal favorites of Everett Music Initiative founder Ryan Crowther, who said he’s been working towards bringing national acts like these to the festival since it started.

This year’s fest will run May 18 to 20. For $99, attendees get a wristband granting access to every 21-and-up show across five stages. A pass to the all-ages shows on Friday and Saturday will cost you $30, and for $175, you get a VIP weekend experience including exclusive balcony seating for shows at APEX’s main stage.

Crowther said he and other festival organizers felt the 2022 event was a turning point, an opportunity to keep bringing the same elements devotees know and love while stepping it up a notch with a few exciting changes for this year’s fest.

“Last year, our team felt like something finally caught on,” Crowther said.

The most prominent upgrade this year is the event’s new main stage at the APEX Center, located in the former Club Broadway building on Everett Avenue. Some of the festival’s largest acts will play throughout the week at Kings Hall, a nightlife spot-turned-concert hall that can house up to 800 fans.

It’s a big deal just to have a sizeable indoor space for the festival, given the mercurial nature of May weather in Western Washington, Crowther said. But beyond that, he said he’s looking forward to supporting the new center with an influx of attendees and collaborating with the APEX team to create something bigger for Everett’s arts and culture scene.

“There’s nothing more exciting right now in Everett than what APEX is bringing to our downtown, and we’re very excited about using as much of the space as we can for this year’s fest,” Crowther said.

Sherry Jennings, spokesperson for APEX, said it’s been an honor to be the “venue of choice” for the festival’s main stage. It’s one of the center’s first big steps in their mission to become an epicenter for arts and entertainment in Everett, she said.

The center’s Kings Hall was officially christened with a show by Seattle AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Belles last month as renovations continue on the historic building. The opulent venue will serve double duty as the main stage and a hospitality center where artists can kick back and relax between gigs, Jennings said.

“This is a game changer for us,” Jennings said. “It’s been so fun to work with (fellow festival venues) and build these crucial relationships. A collective of venues like this has big potential for our town — it’s one of those ‘build it and they will come’ stories.”

Shannon and the Clams

Crowther has dreamed of bringing this Oakland rock quartet to Fisherman’s since its very first year. The band’s most recent album, 2021’s “Year of the Spider,” meditates heavily on pandemic-era grief, loss and loneliness, according to Pitchfork, while keeping things feeling groovy with their trademark 1960s doo-wop, psychedelic style. Powerhouse lead singer Shannon Shaw told Pitchfork she channeled Durga, an eight-armed Hindu goddess, on the advice of an astrologer, while producing the record through an intense bout of personal tragedy.

Drugdealer

The Los Angeles-based band, fronted by Michael Collins with an ever-evolving cast of collaborators, will bring their funky, ’70s-inspired, impossible-to-categorize (no, seriously — Google lists the band’s genres as alternative/indie/Indian film pop) sound to Everett on the heels of their third record Hiding in Plain Sight, released in October. Crowther has been “hooked” in the last few years by Drugdealer’s infectious good vibes and their guest vocalist collabs.

“I can’t imagine putting them on for anyone and not getting a nod and a grin,” Crowther said. “Having them on a stage in Everett is gonna feel good.”

Steel Beans

Everett’s own Jeremy DeBardi, who serves as guitarist, drummer and singer for Steel Beans, is one of 10 Snohomish County acts playing the festival, Crowther said. The local legend, who’s been a fixture in Everett for 15 years, “hit the algorithmic jackpot” when a video of a solo jam session made the rounds online, Crowther said. It’s now been seen close to 100 million times across platforms, and DeBardi will soon open for Tenacious D on tour in the United States and Europe. But Everett will always be home to Steel Beans.

“People, when they try to be professional, they change (their social media pages) to say Seattle,” he told The Daily Herald last year. “I put Everett because I love Everett so much. People in Brazil and New York and Italy and France and Australia, all these places that are sending me messages, they are Googling Everett to look where it is and that means the world to me.”

Riley Haun: 425-339-3192; riley.haun@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @RHaunID.

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