The Phoenix Festival, a music and arts festival organized to benefit fire and flood recovery efforts in the aftermath of Washington’s largest wildfires, drew over 700 people on Saturday, October 18, 2014.
The festival raised a total of $12,984, with all admission proceeds and donations going to support Methow Valley Long Term Recovery, a non-profit group formed to help the community recover from this summer’s disasters and prepare for future events.
Presented by TwispWorks in collaboration with Methow Arts Alliance and the Confluence Gallery & Art Center, the festival took place at the TwispWorks campus and was a swirl of activity as visitors meandered among art booths, demonstrations and exhibits of printmakers, glassblowers, potters, woodworkers—and even a community bicycle shop. There were film screenings at the Spartan Art Trailer and a Raku firing demonstration.
“I think most of us that live here in the Methow realize that it’s a special place and consider ourselves fortunate to be here,” said Don Ashford, Methow Arts Alliance President. “This summer’s strife [actually] strengthened the bonds between people. It made us more aware of community and our interdependence. The Phoenix Festival was like a great big thankful smile. We set aside a day to enjoy, even celebrate, the fact that we were still here. We know that together, we will make it.”
Chief among the day’s activities was the Share Room, an interactive art exhibit that displayed the fire-inspired/ravaged items, art and photographs of over 30 fire victims and artists, including Tamara Jennings, Salyna Gracie, Ben Sabold, Susan Speir, Jenn Tate and Teri Pieper.
Emcees Don Ashford, Danbert Nobacon and Robert Thran helped direct the festivities from the stage, while local food and live entertainment kept the crowd’s energy going, with donated cider, beer and coffee from Sixknot Cider, Stoup Brewery, Hillar’s Beer and Blue Star Coffee Roasters and live entertainment from comedic Right Now Improv and poi spinner Christina Stout, who enthralled the crowd with her spinning fireballs.
Live music and performance kept the crowd dancing until the wee hours of the night with over 10 bands including local acoustic singer/songwriter Lindsay Picolet, tribal beats from Thione Diop, Bakra Bata, rockabilly tunes from The Dusty 45’s, soul musicians with local roots Luc & The Lovingtons, Lynette Westendorf and her brother Roger, local band Wild Mountain Nation and local DJ’s Eors Markos and Travis Smith.
Stay tuned for next year’s 2nd annual Phoenix Festival, as the Methow Valley community rallies together once again to continue to rebuild our community.
(Photos by Teri J. Pieper)