Olalla Americana Music Festival features 8 live bands

Fans of live music can enjoy a variety of bands from bluegrass to rock and country to reggae at the Olalla Americana Music Festival Aug. 20.

“People are darn happy it’s back” after a two-year pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Marty Kellogg, president of the Olalla Community Club, the group presenting the long-running event.

Bands, largely from the Pacific Northwest, will take to the stage beginning at 11 a.m. and perform until dusk. The festival takes place on a 10-acre spread of the South Kitsap Southern Little League fields on Olalla Valley Road SE and SE Hovgaard Road.

Among the groups taking the stage will be Santa Poco, a Seattle band, whose latest offering is called Cowboy Songs, and Tacoma’s Junkyard Jane, a crew that presents a Creole blend of influences they call “Swampabilly Blues.”

The festival also features a Berry Pie Contest, a beer and wine garden, kid activities, and an assortment of food and craft vendors.

The Berry Pie Contest – a 30-year tradition – is a fan favorite, organizers say. Local bakers enter the competition with the hope of earning bragging rights for the tastiest berry creation. Top prizes go to “best tasting” and “best looking.” Being a judge in the pie contest apparently is a sought-after gig.

“It’s a very coveted thing,” Kellogg points out. “I’ve been doing this festival for 29 years, and I’ve only been a judge once. People line up to do the job.”

The beer and wine garden, will offer a variety, including some from Olalla Vineyard & Winery. Festivalgoers will also be able to sip ciders and seltzers. The garden is sponsored by Yoked Farmhouse Brewery, out of Port Orchard, Deep Draft Brewing, based in Bremerton, and Olalla’s East West Brewery.

For kids, there will be face painting, craft projects and fair-style games organized by the Olalla PTA. A highlight is a children’s parade where youngsters march through the festival grounds and end up at the stage where they will be interviewed, Kellogg said.

There will also be a silent auction where foodies can bid on pies in the competition. “One year the winning pie went for three-hundred dollars,” Kellogg said.

The music festival has been a mainstay in Kitsap County since 1991. For the first 25 years, the event featured only bluegrass bands. In 2017, organizers opened up the musical menu.

“There was much interest in expanding on the variety of music to include country, rock and roll, blues, folk. The music was expanded to a variety of different genres,” Kellogg said.

The summertime event is largely a labor of love for locals. “This is a grassroots effort,” Kellogg said. “It’s an effort of the community coming together to have this event and have fun doing it.”

Proceeds go to the Olalla Community Club, a nonprofit that maintains the 114-year-old plus Olalla Community Club building and the South Kitsap Southern Little League.

Tickets are $35 at the gate and $25 in advance through brownpapertickets.com and $20 at select retail outlets.

Festival schedule

11 am – Josh Brulotte, an Americana singer/songwriter backed by a four-piece band.

Noon – Lily DeTaeye, a folk-rock Americana firecracker with alternative rock and blue influences.

1 p.m. – Santa Poco, a popular Seattle country band.

2 p.m. – the Berry Pie auction.

2:15 p.m. – Fretland – a Snohomish group that offers touches of alt-country and indie rock and has racked up a million streams.

3:10 p.m. – Children’s parade

3:35 p.m. – Oly Mountain Boys, a South Puget Sound bluegrass institution, picking and singing since 2008.

4:45 p.m. – Jack Parker and the Remedy, a rock band out of Port Orchard that offers up a six-string slinger.

6 p.m. – Junkyard Jane, presents a deadly brew of blues, swamp gas, rockabilly, country, motor oil, folk and funk.

7:25 p.m. – Adrian Xaviar, reggae music caps off the day.