Olalla Americana Music Festival celebrates 28 years

Touted as “the best small-town countryside festival this side of the cascades,” the 28th annual Olalla Americana Music Festival kicks off this Saturday.

Gates open at 10 a.m. The music begins at 11 a.m. and runs through 9:30 p.m. at the festival location: 5150 Hovgaard Road in Olalla.

Just what is the Americana music genre?

According to the music festival’s website, it’s a typically American amalgamation of various musical styles.

“Americana artists by nature are traditionalist American musicians who infuse roots music — which includes elements of rock, folk, blues, bluegrass and even R&B — to create a sound that channels the spirit of traditional American music,” the website reads.

“The best Americana bands have been internationally recognized and critically acclaimed for creatively bringing the roots music movement to a wider audience … When people think of Americana music, the best examples of the top Americana bands includes The Band (who strangely enough aren’t even American), Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers, Brandi Carlile Band, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, The Civil Wars and Son Volt. These are some of the best bands in the genre and some are considered among the greatest.

“That’s the beauty of Americana music: it fuses so many different other genres that different music artists can create the Americana sound.”

Marty Kellogg, the festival’s event coordinator, recommends that people come early.

“This band lineup starts off with serious talent and it goes all day long,” Kellogg said. “We have country, bluegrass, jazz, folk — and by 4 p.m., it gets bluesy and rockin’ and rollin!”

Get ready to dance

“The festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with Silverdale’s Joel Gibson and the Hired Guns and closes at 9:30 p.m. with Randy Oxford’s “Reunion” band featuring an all-star cast at 8 p.m.

Randy Oxford and his band are a Northwest Americana music legend. While the band has gone through several lineup changes over the years, it has always been consistent in putting out exciting stage performances and dropping excellent CDs.

Other top musical acts include The Rusty Cleavers at noon, Birch Pereira & The Gin Joints at 1 p.m., Reid Jamieson Band at 2 p.m., Sister Speak at 3:20 p.m., the Harbor All-Star Band at 4:30 p.m., the Linda Carroll Band at 5:40 p.m. and the Nick Mardon Trio at 6:50 p.m.

“We hope the day will be full of dancing,” Kellogg said.

The festival will have a broad selection of food and craft vendors, along with a wine and beer garden hosted by Peninsula BevCo from Port Orchard. And, as usual, homemade pie for everyone. Bakers in the family can snag $270 by baking a pie and entering it into the berry pie contest.

There will also be fun things for kids to do, Kellogg said, including the annual “Kids Parade.”

The festival shows off its true country charm by being nestled in a beautiful rural valley setting with meadows, farms, barns and trees. Sponsors say there is still plenty of camping spaces available for $10 a night.

Best advance tickets are being sold are $20 at participating local stores in Olalla, Port Orchard and Gig Harbor. They also can be purchased online for $25 from Brown Paper Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4257425. Tickets are $30 at the gate. Kids 16 and younger are free.

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