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Americana Festival at the Waterfront: How to succeed as a big little festival

Many folks who were en route to Bumbershoot last weekend stopped by to check out a festival you might not know about: The Americana Festival at the Waterfront. Those who did were treated to some of the best bands in the region playing until sunset along the side of Puget Sound, and the whole event was free.

Heels to the Hardwood

Heels to the Hardwood

The Americana Festival was a 2-day event on August 31st and September 1st, and featured a small roster, but the artists were all spectacular, including The Lowest Pair, The Ben and Joe Band, Heels to the Hardwood, The Local Strangers, Tobias the Owl, Devin Sinha, Sandi Fernandez, and March to May. The festival drew many tourists and onlookers from the pedestrian traffic, but also attracted some folks who have attended every year of its 3-year history. The event was funded by Friends of the Waterfront Seattle and supported by Gigs4U. Both organizations were on-hand with an enthusiastic presence to spread the word about the musicians.

To the West, the stage overlooked the Puget Sound and the Seattle Great Wheel to the West. To the East, the backdrop of the Seattle skyline rose up behind the bands. The visual beauty of the stage and waterfront was matched only by the sweet sounds of singers and musicians playing their own, homegrown tunes.

Tobias the Owl. Photo by David Guilbault

Tobias the Owl. Photo by David Guilbault

Although the scale of the event was small, it brought together incredible artists and devoted music lovers. In several ways, it's a persuasive example of how much music can beautify the region, particularly when local organizations tap into the rich musical talent of the region. The waterfront is undergoing an ambitious and evolving re-design. Here's hoping that local music will continue to be a valued part of the plans for the future of Seattle's landscape.

Heels to the Hardwood

Heels to the Hardwood

The Local Strangers

The Local Strangers

March to May

March to May

The staff of Friends of the Waterfront

The staff of Friends of the Waterfront

Gigs 4U (Toby Brady and Andrew Seliber) running sound.

Gigs 4U (Toby Brady and Andrew Seliber) running sound.

Vista from the pier during Americana Festival at the Waterfront.

Vista from the pier during Americana Festival at the Waterfront.

Heels to the Hardwood

Heels to the Hardwood