You are invited to jump into your little red Corvette, don your raspberry beret and party like it’s 1999 when veteran Prince tribute artist Julian Stephoni and more than a dozen other musical acts hit the stage on Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29 for the Otis Music Festival. To add to the festive atmosphere, a beer garden, food and merchandise vendors and camping opportunities are all part of the plan.
Concert promoter Tim Gallineau is one of the primary forces behind the inaugural event.
“The first thing I did was call in favors,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so I know what I like and I’m pretty good at getting it.”
The headlining act on Friday night, Ayron Jones and the Way, is a Seattle rock group that Gallineau found as a pleasant surprise.
“I was at a blues festival and heard something that stopped me in my tracks,” he said. “I fought my way through the crowd because I had to get closer to the energy of what I was hearing. They have an album out that was produced by Sir Mix-a-Lot and have been steadily gaining in popularity. It’s easy to call Ayron the mini Jimi Hendrix, but that doesn’t do his originality justice,”
Saturday’s headliner is the act not so subtly alluded to at the start of this story, Erotic City, the Prince tribute.
“Julian has been doing this for 20 years,” Gallineau said. “He’s extremely well respected as a tribute artist and his show is amazing. June fills up fast for him so that was one of my first calls.”
Gary Fromm, owner of the event property, said this is the kind of thing he envisioned when he purchased it.
“I love music festivals and I thought this would be the perfect place to put one on,” he said. “I just want people to come, relax and have a great time; that’s why we’re offering camping.”
Both RV and tent camping is available for a fee separate from the ticket price.
“We’ll have vendors selling food and we’ve also got plenty of great places to eat here in town so you really don’t have to get back in your vehicle for the whole festival.”
Hitting the stage on Saturday afternoon will be the Garcia Birthday Band, whose name is a nod to the Grateful Dead, but who are not just a straightforward tribute band.
“They play plenty of the Dead and Jerry Garcia’s solo project songs, but they play other things too,” Gallineau said. “They’ve been together since 1999 and they they are a great daytime festival act.”
Other acts include “soul baring blues” singer Lady Kat, Portland duo The B.U.G.S., who’ve been “toiling in obscurity since 1998,” and funkified soul crooner Richard Arnold.
Organizers aren’t just creating a fun festival, they are having fun creating it.
“We’re building a stage out of an old school bus, ”Gallineau said. “It already looks really cool. This is the first of a series of festivals with unique music that you wouldn’t normally get to hear in this area, that’s reasonably priced and is in a groovy atmosphere.”
The groovy atmosphere includes being cannabis friendly, and though the alcohol will be served within a beer garden, Gallineau and Fromm say that parents should use discretion if considering bringing kids with them to the event. Dogs are not allowed.
“We’re trying to make this a family-friendly event and welcome people of all ages, but parents should know that there will be adult themes to the music and the activities going on.”
Tickets can be purchased in Nelscott from ZuhG Surf Shop, owned by singer and guitarist Bryan Nichols of ZuhG, one of the local bands performing at the festival.
“You could call us a funky reggae jam band,” Nichols said.
“Our music is reflected by our name, it’s a word we think means to be unlike others, to be different. I learned a while ago that a good name is one that if you type it into Google, it is the only thing that pops up.
So, Google Otis Music Festival and start planning for a weekend of fun.
The Otis Music Festival will take place on the north side of Highway 18 in Otis. Tickets are $20 per day. VIP tickets, which include up front seating and a shirt, are $30.
For camping pay at gate, cash only.
Tent camping is $25 per tent, RV, truck and trailer or camper are $40 to 50 For more information, go to otismusicfestival.com