Set List Bonus: Doe Bay Music Festival

  • Shabazz Palaces perform at the Doe Bay Music Festival
    Photo: The Recording Academy

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Michael Compton
Orcas Island, Wash.

The Doe Bay Music Festival, a small Northwest music festival taking place Aug. 9‒11, featured a creative mix of artists, local cuisine and people. Located in picturesque Orcas Island, Wash., Doe Bay provides a spectacular backdrop for a creatively curated music festival. The vision of Doe Bay Resort & Retreat owners Joe and Maureen Brotherton, and manifested by the dedicated folks at Artist Home, this intimate gathering has organically grown into a popular Northwest event.

When I asked Tendai Maraire of Seattle hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces to share their headlining set list, he seemed hesitant. "We don't really make one," said Maraire. "We just kinda go up there and see what happens."

That is the true essence of the Doe Bay Music Festival. It isn't forced or overplanned; the whole experience seems to just evolve from one moment to the next. "I didn't need a set list," I thought. "I just need to go with the flow."

Day one kicked off on Aug. 9 with the warmth of the noon sun and an inspiring set by folk-rock singer/songwriter Naomi Wachira, who performed on one of the most beautiful stages ever designed, tucked among tall trees overlooking the Puget Sound region and neighboring islands. Other notable sets included a powerful solo acoustic set by Seattle's Star Anna, pop/rock icon Ken Stringfellow, who was backed by his labelmates the Maldives on the main stage, and a booty-shakin' dance party courtesy of Seattle hip-hop/electronic duo Fly Moon Royalty.

As the sun sank beneath the cathedral of trees surrounding the main stage, headliners Shabazz Palaces delivered a unique performance, including material from their critically acclaimed debut album, 2011's Black Up, and a mixture of new soundscapes, hypnotic African beats and rapper Ishmael Butler's free-flowing words. Their genuine love of sharing sounds and knowledge was fully expressed as the set unfolded effortlessly, reverberating across the still water.

Day two featured even more impressive musical performances and fantastic people watching. Highlights included a rousing performance from indie folk rockers Mikey And Matty, an impromptu performance by the Passenger String Quartet on a small stage tucked away in the woods, a blistering set ripe with rock guitar jams by Northwest legends Built To Spill, and a packed performance at the Yoga Studio by neo-folk rockers the Maldives.

Unscheduled performances by rock singer/songwriter Gabriel Mintz and soul singer Quinn Deveaux at the Yoga Studio on day three rivaled the weekend's best. At every turn there seemed to be something new constructed or formed, and some new experience to see, hear or taste. Staff, volunteers, artists, and guests all became one in the festival experience.

Joe Brotherton said he's a little uncomfortable with people using the word "magical" to describe the Doe Bay Music Festival, but that's what happens when the power of music connects us on a deeper level.

(Michael Compton is the Production Manager for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter.)

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