News Festival patrons stand in a pouring rain at a food booth during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

News Festival patrons stand in a pouring rain at a food booth during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Juan de Fuca Festival ‘reimagined’

Memorial Day event to offer live, virtual performances

This year’s Juan de Fuca Festival is a stretchy thing. It’s a set of six live, in-person shows; a street fair outside the Vern Burton Community Center and a lineup of art, dance and music workshops.

On four virtual stages, the event includes 18 streamed performances patrons can watch whenever they like.

After a full season of planning, stretching and adapting, the 27th Juan de Fuca Festival will materialize Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31.

Live and virtual passes are now on sale.

Tom Landa is bandleader of The Paperboys and Locarno, two ensembles from Vancouver, B.C., who will give virtual concerts during the Juan de Fuca Festival in May. Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Tom Landa is bandleader of The Paperboys and Locarno, two ensembles from Vancouver, B.C., who will give virtual concerts during the Juan de Fuca Festival in May. Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Olympic Peninsula News Group

The live, in-person concerts will take the main stage of the Vern Burton center, 308 E. Fourth St., on Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30; wrapped around those six shows will be the virtual festival with three times as many concerts.

Tickets to the in-person festival are $80, with the option of purchasing an additional pass to the virtual festival for $30. The live audience will be capped at 134 patrons.

Passes to the virtual lineup only — which allow the purchaser’s household to watch the concerts May 28-June 30 — are $45.

JFFA.org is the portal for information; to reach the festival office, call 360-457-5411 or email to contact@jffa.org.

Concert-goers listen to a musical performance at Vern Burton Communty Center in Port Angeles during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Concert-goers listen to a musical performance at Vern Burton Communty Center in Port Angeles during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

As in previous years, admission is free to the street fair, which will feature artisan and food vendors and outdoor yoga May 28-30. Also free are two of the workshops: a spoken-word performance class with poet and actor Naa Akua on May 29 and a ukulele basics session for youngsters and adults with Rose Oyamot on May 31.

“This is a reimagined festival,” JFFA Executive Director Kayla Oakes said, adding that to give the in-person shows an intimate, cohesive feeling, she and the JFFA board decided to sell passes rather than single-concert tickets.

“People will be able to enjoy some awesome music in a safe way,” with plenty of volunteers and staff for support, Oakes said.

The bands appearing in the live festival include Port Angeles’ Joy in Mudville, the rock and pop band Shaggy Sweet, the folk-Americana duo Champagne Sunday, the jazz-pop-R & B trio Triple Mood, and country swing outfit Gus Clark and the Least of His Problems.

The vintage jazz pair Sundae + Mr. Goessl, who appeared in JFFA’s live-streamed “In (Your) Living Room” concert April 16, will also come to Port Angeles to perform in person.

Virtual passholders will have access to these shows via live stream while they’re happening at the Vern Burton Community Center, Oakes noted.

News Festival patrons stand in a pouring rain at a food booth during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

News Festival patrons stand in a pouring rain at a food booth during the 2019 Juan de Fuca Festival of the arts. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Then there are the pre-recorded virtual concerts. Festival-goers will recognize the Paperboys, Locarno, David Jacobs-Strain and Christopher Worth as well as Ballet Victoria. That Canadian ensemble is presenting its modern rendition of Bizet’s “Carmen” as a fully staged virtual performance.

Port Townsend singer-songwriter Jack Dwyer, Seattle country-Americana band Massy Ferguson and physical comedian Henrik Bothe are also in the lineup for virtual pass holders.

So are the Port Angeles Symphony String Quartet and Jessie Young, a Port Angeles-born artist who lives in New York City. Thanks to recording and streaming technology, she’ll offer her contemporary dance performance accompanied by harpist Sophie Wilhoit of Port Townsend.

Tom Landa, bandleader of the Paperboys and Locarno, is eager for Juan de Fuca Festival audiences to see both of his groups — from across the U.S.-Canada border. To produce their concert films, both outfits got together for rehearsals and performances for the first time in almost a year.

“I’ve got to say, it was pretty great; the thing about Locarno is in addition to being a band, we’re good friends,” Landa said.

With the musicians’ collection of Latin American instruments – all sorts of strings and percussion – the get-together felt like the big family gatherings Landa went to as a youngster in Mexico.

He moved to Vancouver, B.C., with his family at age 15, and went on to form the Paperboys in the late 1990s. That ensemble has traveled the world, playing concerts and festivals.

The JFFA virtual shows, Landa said, are elaborate productions with multiple camera angles and multi-track recording technology.

“We put a lot of care and love into it,” he said, adding that in Locarno’s show, “we interspersed short interviews with the band, so you get to know them; you get to hang out” with the eight members and their instruments, including the cajon, the congas, the timbales and the jarana, a stringed instrument a little larger than a ukulele. Landa strums it much like a flamenco guitar.

While Locarno has played the Juan de Fuca Festival twice before, the Paperboys have come to Port Angeles at least six times, Landa added.

“There is a lovely feeling about this festival. It’s very community-oriented,” he said.

Taking part “is about showing up for your community.”

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