The first annual Timbrrr! Fest would not have been possible without the inherent quirkiness of Washingtonians. While the line-up boasted keystone Seattle acts, like Hey Marseilles and Telekinesis, the festival’s Bavarian-themed Leavenworth locale added heaps of personality and charm, and, if you were enough hot toddies deep, it felt like spending time abroad.
Fittingly, the festival began on Friday night in Leavenworth’s Festhalle, a community center that had been transformed into a wintery celebration of what this state has to offer; many of the hot toddy specialties included Caffe Vita coffee, Leavenworth’s own hopsmiths from Icicle Brewing Company were present, and Walla Walla’s Proletariat Wine Co. had a booth between the two. The room also featured a giant snow-globe in which people were able to pose and act like happy fools. It was awesome.
Friday night’s lineup provided a snapshot of what the rest of Timbrrr! Fest would sound like; a full-force Joseph Giant was refreshing in itself and showed an impressive musical depth, The Lonely Forest were refined and exuberant, You Me and Apollo brought some smooth Memphis-soul, and The Moondoggies sounded like they were just jamming in front of their friends, which was a sight to behold.
Perhaps most importantly, the audience was energetic. Everyone danced for practically entire sets at a time. Some seemed so hungry to dance they were using sound checks in order to get a few pelvic thrusts in. The crowd, based on numerous roll calls from each band, mostly comprised of Seattleites with other Puget Sound residents sprinkled throughout, but altogether friendly and polite.
Based on the first night alone, the production team behind Artist Home, who Timbrrr! Together, are full of imaginative, passionate individuals who are not only interested in bringing together exciting local artists but showcasing them within the natural beauty of places like Doe Bay and Carnation. It is telling that, when artists thanked Timbrrr! Fest for having them or mentioning other Artist Home festivals, loud cheering erupted from the room.
Saturday began at Icicle Brewery, which sat across the street from the Festhalle. Due to the Seahawks’ playoff game, singer-songwriter Barna Howard’s set was moved to an earlier slot, turning out to be the perfect way to enter festival-mode. The Brewery opened their doors to allow for a larger audience and the crispness of the air felt compelling with the thoughtful precision behind Howard, Kevin Long, and Lotte Kestner. They transformed the space into a fitting venue for lyrical, soothing tunes and sipping early afternoon brews.
Munchen Haus, an open-air bratwurst restaurant tucked in the corner of Leavenworth’s main street, hosted bigger-sounding artists like Temple Echoes and Hannalee. Both acts provided the next logical step in working up to main stage acts by providing more energy and incredibly tight sets. Temple Echoes brought their psych-rock for the second time in the festival after filling in for Battleme on Friday night and Hannalee’s melodious performance was lovely.
The Festhalle opened for Hot Toddy Happy Hour shortly after Hannalee’s set ended, something we should all aim to have on our schedule from now on. As the Festhalle started to fill, a crowd donning a mixture of Seahawks jerseys, Patagonia gear, multi-colored scarves, and utilitarian boots scattered throughout the room. The light din between sets was amorous, you could feel connections being made and festival friends recognized.
The final sets of Timbrrr! Fest were full of powerful crowd-pleasers; a slickly attired Cataldo mixed new and old material backed by a horns section, The Wild Ones unleashed their cover of “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, the skillful Radiation City encouraged a buoyant dance party, Telekinesis’ signature giddiness was palpable, and Hey Marseilles wound the festival down with style. And then, sadly, Timbrrr! Fest drew to a close.
Though the festival took place in a remote town in the middle of the state, attendance was surprisingly dense. There were droves of smiling faces and friendly groups. With so many festivals popping up across the country, I was delighted to see a high level of support and encouragement for an event as creative as it was important for highlighting local artists. This was my first Artist Home produced festival and it certainly won’t be my last. I’ll meet you there next year in the giant snow-globe.
We have more of Jim’s Timbrrr! Fest pictures on our Flickr page. Don’t forget to check out our short interviews with this year’s performers either:
- Temple Echoes
- Kevin Long
- Wild Ones
- Barna Howard
- Lotte Kestner
- Joseph Giant
- The Moondoggies
- Full Lineup Announced
- You Me and Apollo
- Radiation City
- Hey Marseilles
- The Lonely Forest
- Timbrrr Fest Preview