The annual Ballard Jazz Festival is back

It’s that time of year when talented jazz musicians and their fans descend on Ballard for several days of jam sessions across the neighborhood.

The Ballard Jazz Festival begins in earnest tonight (Friday) with a mainstage concert at the new Nordic Heritage Museum. Clarence Penn and Penn Station along with Oskar Stenmark will be jammin’ in the museum’s beautiful new wood-covered auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door at 6:30 p.m.

Then on Saturday afternoon, a jazz picnic gets underway at Peddler Brewing at 3 p.m. — a new addition to the schedule — followed by the popular Ballard Jazz Walk at 6 p.m. More than two dozen musicians and groups are scheduled to play across several venues including Conor Byrne, Egan’s Jam House, Bad Alberts and Salmon Bay Eagles. Here’s the full schedule (.pdf).

Tickets are available online and at the Ballard Landmark on Leary on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.

(Ballard Jazz Festival file photo from 2016.)

Big Ballard turnout for Record Store Day

It’s not easy being a record store in the age of Spotify and Pandora, but Ballard is lucky to have some of the best in the city.

David Mayden posted this photo in the My Ballard Facebook Group of the long line outside Sonic Boom Records this morning. With lots of special releases, giveaways, entertainment and Top Pot Doughnuts, Sonic Boom always puts on a big event for Record Store Day. Lil Woody’s even made a Sonic Boom Burger to commemorate the occasion.

Over in Old Ballard, Bop Street Records is holding a big sale — including thousands of LPs for $3 or less — and live music by Slow Skate at 3 p.m. and Proud Wonderful Me at 5 p.m.

Music lineup announced for Ballard SeafoodFest

You might come for the salmon and lutefisk, but live music at the Ballard SeafoodFest is becoming a bigger attraction every year. On this 44th year of the festival, the lineup features headliners Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches.

“We are excited to announce a stellar lineup of musical artists that complement everything this three-day festival has to offer,” said SeafoodFest Director Mike Stewart. “Through the support of our generous sponsors and countless volunteers, we are pleased to produce Ballard’s signature summer event that is free and open to all.”

Co-presented by KEXP, here’s the lineup:

Blitzen Trapper | All Them Witches | The Dead South | Whiskey Shivers | Smokey Brights | The Grizzled Mighty | Nite Wave | Purple Mane | Gypsy Temple | Acid Tongue | Lanford Black | Whitney Monge | #All4Doras | School of Rock

When the festival opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13th, NiteWave and #All4Doras will kick things off near the beer garden. Food trucks Paella House, Where Ya At Matt, Nosh and Off the Rez will be serving up dinner.

The full festival gets underway on Saturday — when Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches will take the main stage — and runs until 9 p.m. on Sunday.

We’ll provide more details as we get closer to the big event.

Tickets go on sale for Ballard Jazz Festival at new Nordic Museum

After 10 years at the old Nordic Heritage Museum, the Ballard Jazz Festival’s main stage is moving to the new museum facility on Market St.

“The soaring concert hall with flawless acoustics will double audience capacity and elevate the listening experience for the foreseeable future,” explained an email from the festival.

Tickets are now on sale for the Friday, May 18th main stage concert featuring Clarence Penn & Penn Station along with the Oskar Stenmark Quartet. The Ballard Jazz Walk gets underway on Saturday, May 19th with an afternoon, all-ages show at Peddler Brewing Company, followed by many concerts throughout the Old Ballard area.

Lots more details on the Ballard Jazz Festival website.

New Years Eve in Ballard and beyond

Here’s the scoop for New Years Eve events around our neighborhood…

SPACE NEEDLE FIREWORKS – Expect all the usual crowds and parking issues in Fremont and Wallingford leading up to New Years at the Needle. Live broadcast begins at 11:35 on KING 5.

VOLTERRA’S LAST DINNER – Tonight is Volterra’s last night in its current Ballard location, and it’s going out in style: two seatings with its New Years Eve menu with chef Don Curtiss in the kitchen.

MARKET IS OPEN – The Ballard Farmers Market is open with its usual hours.

STAPLE & FANCY – This Ballard Ave. restaurant is offering three seatings for its NYE menu.

MARINE HARDWARE – Right next door, Marine Hardware will have a five-course meal.

BRIMMER & HEELTAP – The Market St. restaurant is offering “an incredible multi-course menu.”

SUNSET TAVERN – Sallie Ford, Lonely Mountain Lovers, La Fonda will play at 9 p.m. at the Sunset.

CONOR BYRNENew Year’s Eve Garbage Bash IV with Honcho Poncho and more, 8 p.m.

OLD PEQULIAR – Phatti LaBelle will DJ this free party beginning at 9 p.m.

LEIF ERICKSON HALLNew Year’s Eve Dance with Big Blues with Little Bill, doors at 8 p.m.

SWEDISH CLUBNordic New Year’s Fest with music and dancing beginning at 8 p.m.

HALE’s PALLADIUM – The Moisture Festival throws its annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza.

SOLD OUT – Looks like NYE events at Tarsan i Jane and the Tractor Tarvern are sold out.

FREE METRO – King County Metro is offering free rides for both buses and the Seattle Streetcar from 4 a.m. today (Sunday) until 4 a.m. on New Years morning.

What are we missing? Add a comment below…

Seattle Public Library launches second round of local music collection

In 2016, The Seattle Public Library launched an online Seattle music collection called PlayBack that enabled Seattleites to download free local music.

Now, 50 more local artists have been added to, including NAVVI, Fysah, Golden Gardens, Raz Simone and more. Anyone can stream the albums for free, and Library cardholders can download and keep any music in the PlayBack collection.

PlayBack is open to all Seattle-area musicians who record or perform in the city of Seattle and have had an album produced within the last five years. PlayBack is intended to be an ever-expanding collection of Seattle’s musical culture, and a total of 100 new albums will be available each year through the Library’s catalog.

The jury for the second submission period included:

  • Tim Lennon, executive director of the Vera Project and music commissioner for the city of Seattle
  • Sharlese Metcalf, KEXP DJ, host and producer of Audioasis
  • Liz Riley Tollefson, co-founder of Three Imaginary Girls
  • Jonathan Zwickel, senior editor at City Arts
  • Kreg Hasegawa, adult services librarian at The Seattle Public Library
  • Kathleen Morley, selections services librarian at The Seattle Public Library
  • Cameron McCracken, library associate II at The Seattle Public Library
  • Abby Bass, adult services librarian at The Seattle Public Library

A third submission period will open during spring 2017. More information will be posted on PlayBack’s Information for Artists page.

Funding for PlayBack has been made possible with the generous support of The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

For more information, visit, call (206) 386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.

NW Youth Harp Ensemble to perform at Ballard Library

Members of the Northwest Youth Harp Ensemble will perform holiday songs from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, December 10 at Ballard Library (5614 22nd Ave NW).

The Northwest Youth Harp Ensemble is led by Ballard harpist Susi Hussong. The ensemble includes a dozen children and will be accompanied by violin, cello, flute, bells, drums and voice.

The program is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Free parking is available in the branch garage.

For more information, call the branch at 206-684-4089 or Ask a Librarian.

Barnes and Noble to host Whitman Middle School Bands fundraiser

barnes n

Barnes and Noble Bookstore at Northgate (401 NE Northgate Way #1100) is  once again hosting The Whitman Middle School Bands and Orchestras and Choirs for a day of free performances and fundraising this Saturday, May 7.

The Whitman School bands will be performing throughout the day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

“Barnes and Noble has generously arranged for a week-plus long Book Fair to raise funds for Whitman’s music program,” says Rachel Hart Rios from Friends of Whitman Music.

Up to 20% of proceeds from purchases made in store May 6 – 12 and online May 6 – 15 will go to support the music program at Whitman.

Items that count towards sales include books, food and beverages from the Café, gift items, electronics and music.

The following coupon code must be used upon check out in store and online for Whitman to get credit: 11801255. Locals can make online purchases here.

Ballard composer set to create new work while hiking Pacific Crest Trail

5517852Ballard composer Nat Evans is about the set off on an adventure of a lifetime on the Pacific Crest Trail. He is set to walk 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada as a mobile residency, composing a new long-form musical work along the way.

The unique composing journey is set to start next month and Evans will be collaborating with eight other West Coast composers along the way. Evans will be making field recordings as he journeys along the trail which he will mail to the collaborators as the hike progresses.

“Each composer will then take the field recordings and layer a brief musical response over top of it and post these short pieces online so that people can hear how the landscape (and people living nearby) change as I inch ever northward,” says Evans.

At the conclusion of his journey the entirety of the recordings will be collected, recorded, mixed and released as a double album in early 2015 on Quakebasket Records. The album is set to be titled The Tortoise and his Raincoat: Music for a Very Long Walk.

The eight collaborating composers have recently launched a fundraising campaign to assist with their work, the walk itself and other recording costs.

“Undertaking a residency pushes artists in new directions and ways of creating that are outside their normal boundaries. Being in the wilderness specifically for long periods of time can change how we simply listen and compose,” says Evans.

Evans is an experienced composer who writes concert music for various mixed chamber ensembles, distinctive electro-acoustic music, and site-specific music events. His music has been regularly presented across the United States and has also been performed in Europe, South America, Australia and China.

Click here to learn more about this unique and exciting project.

Photo courtesy of Nat Evans.

Ballard Jazz Festival set for April 16 – 19

130420_1949The 12th annual Ballard Jazz Festival wish set to entertain the masses from April 16 through 19 this year.

The festival embraces the feeling of “old” Ballard and will feature a wide variety of modern American music at clubs, bars, shops, and at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Over the years, the four day festival has grown into a significant part of the Northwest’s jazz and live music scene. The festival is strongly supported by local businesses, media outlets and the community itself. Each year the festival brings on average 2000 attendees from all over Washington and beyond and about 70-85% of festival revenue is pumped back into Ballard’s economy.

In terms of performers, Ballard Jazz Festival attracts highly talented musicians from all over the world. This year the festival is set to feature world class acts including Sonny Fortune, Chano Dominguez, Marina Alberto, Dana Hall and Ted Poor just to name a few.

“Our program for this season promises to continue on that path with more music than ever,” writes organizers on the Ballard Jazz Festival website.

Of course the usual event favorites are on the ticket including Brotherhood of the Drum on April 16, the “Guitar Summit” on April 17, the Jazz Walk on April and to finish things off, the traditional Swedish Pancake Jazz Brunch at the Nordic Heritage Museum on April 19.

Tickets to both individual events and festival passes are now available online. Ticket costs vary for each individual show and festival passes are available for $100.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Jazz Festival.