Preview: THING Festival
August 24-25, 2019
Port Townsend, Washington
By Andy Bookwalter
In the beginning there was Sasquatch, which was awesome, in no small part because they let me in for free several years running.
Then, in 2017, Sasquatch booked 21 Pilots to headline, enraging people who bought tickets before the lineup was announced. Maybe 21 Pilots roughed up the booker. I have no idea.
The 2018 lineup was fantastic, but by my count only about eight people showed up. Festivals across the country went broke that year so, alas, not long after Memorial Day Weekend we learned that Sasquatch was no more.
While monster festivals like Sasquatch die like dinosaurs, smaller happenings like Timber, Timbrrr!, and Fisherman’s Village seem to be doing great and, lucky for Northwest residents, Sasquatch founder Adam Zacks and the Seattle Theatre Group aren’t done with festivals either. Because now: THING, which you know is going to be good because it’s IN ALL CAPS.
Sasquatch always gave a token nod to the non musical arts, with a little bit of comedy, a sort of circus stage for a few years, and other assorted non-musical programming. THING has piles of other stuff going on as well. The lineup includes Natasha Lyonne from Russian Doll (and American Pie!), Seattle writer and comedian Lindy West, crafts, yoga, hiking, and a live reading of An Officer and A Gentleman, which sounds just awful. What am I excited to see? In no particular order:
John C. Reilly and Friends: I saw Reilly hanging around Sasquatch a few years ago. I never did know why, but he would appear on stage either as himself or as his stupendously annoying character Dr. Steve Brule, announce a band, then vanish. On Saturday he’s actually going to sing some songs.
Giants in the Trees, featuring gentleman farmer, Grays River Grange historian, and amateur pilot Krist Novoselic.
Violent Femmes: The old man punk rock code requires me to see fellow old man punks the Violent Femmes. Fortunately they don’t suck. Hallowed Ground is on a very short list of, in my opinion, flawless albums from start to finish. “Blister in the Sun” is great but “Country Death Song” scares the hell out of me.
Tank and the Bangas: A Sasquatch discovery from last year, I didn’t hear enough of their set because I was obsessed with finding and consuming a root beer float. I don’t remember why, but I’m sure I had a good reason. I do remember hearing 2 flute solos that day, and one of them was played by either Tank or a Bangha.
The Tobolowsky Files: Stephen Tobolowsky has been in approximately every movie ever made, generally playing Stephen Tobolowsky with different names. He has hilarious and fascinating stories from each and every one of them.
Also: Caspar Babypants, because I’m a big man child; the Black Tones, because loving them is required by Washington State law and because they are awesome; and Jeff Tweedy, formerly of Uncle Tupelo, which would be enough even if he weren’t also the front man for Wilco.