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Music lovers descend on Oak Harbor

Music lovers dance to LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends during the Oak Harbor Music Festival Sunday, Sept. 1. - Janis Reid/ Whidbey News-Times
Music lovers dance to LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends during the Oak Harbor Music Festival Sunday, Sept. 1.
— image credit: Janis Reid/ Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor’s second annual music festival brought music lovers from all over the world to enjoy the sights and sounds of Puget Sound.

Oak Harbor Music Festival president Margaret Livermore said attendance more than doubled from last year, drawing more than an estimated 6,000 people.

“The weather was gorgeous,” Livermore said. “We’re all exhausted, but it was well worth the trouble.”

Informal polls conducted during the festival revealed that people traveled from far and near, hailing from places like Holland, Norway, Texas, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“They had probably come to visit family and friends, but they knew this was happening and scheduled accordingly,” Livermore said.

The event kicked off in style Friday by a brief ceremony followed by opening band Polecat and continued through the weekend, wrapping up around 8 p.m. Sunday.

“I’m just so blown away,” said Wallie Funk, who attended the event.

“This has got to be one of the greatest community events in any place ever,” said Funk, who formerly owned the Whidbey News-Times. “I’m just so proud of the organizers.”

The event started last year as the Oak Harbor Music and Jazz Festival, but the name was shortened this year.

The three-day festival featured all sorts of music from rock to pop, from jazz to bluegrass.

Livermore said that while the event creates a fun community atmosphere, the real purpose is to fund music scholarships for local students.

The Oak Harbor Music Festival received its 501(3)nonprofit status last month, allowing organizers to apply for grants and other types of assistance.

The festival has already provided a $1,000 music scholarship Oak Harbor High School graduate and vocalist Kaitlyn McClimans, who is attending Western Washington University this fall to study music education.

Livermore said the festival has received $1,100 from two donors to put toward scholarships, and it is their hope to provide more than one scholarship next year. Livermore said it was clear the festival had at least broke even, but is was unclear at press time how much money they had made for scholarships and next year’s festival.

The scholarship is named after former Oak Harbor High School music teacher Ed Bridges, who attended the festival with his wife.

 

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