By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We've always wanted to be by the water, and that happened this year since the city finished the plaza,” said Mari Mullen, executive director of Port Townsend Main Street, which presents the concerts with a variety of co-sponsors, including the Peninsula Daily News.
“The weather was great this year, and we had the right blend of music since people really love to dance.”
The final concert, featuring Dirty Beat Duo, begins at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Pope Marine Park esplanade at the intersection of Madison and Water streets on the north end of downtown.
The show is scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m.
This year, many of the concerts have gone on a bit longer.
Dirty Beat Duo
The Dirty Beat Duo is a blend of programming, keyboard and percussion.
Keyboardist Pete Lack and percussionist Jesse Watson build their songs using samples and layers, creating five- to seven-minute improvisational grooves that, Lack said, work perfectly outdoors.
“I love playing outdoors, and the Concerts on the Dock has a great vibe,” said Lack, who plays in several local bands.
“Playing on the dock gives our music a wide exposure among all age groups,” he said.
“If we play clubs, the younger people don't get to show up.”
Lack and Watson communicate on the fly, shortening or lengthening the songs in reaction to audience response.
Attendance has also increased this year, with 400 to 500 people attending each of the seven concerts so far, Mullen said.
“This year has exceeded all our expectations,” said Dominic Svornich, the festival's programmer.
“Our attendance has been 15 [percent] to 20 percent higher from last year, partially because the city created a larger space where people feel more comfortable to stay longer.
“In previous years, attendance would drop off slightly after the set break.
“This year, they've been hanging around longer and having a better time.”
The music mix has also helped, with performances gravitating toward classic rock, rhythm and blues, and familiar tunes.
“We've presented all kinds of music throughout the years — jazz and folk — but it doesn't create the same kind of energy,” Svornich said.
Started in 2004
Concerts on the Dock began in July 2004 in the old Quincy Street dock area adjacent to what was then Water Street Brewing and Ale House.
This is the fourth year the concert series has taken place in Pope Marine Park, although previous years have needed to accommodate various stages of construction.
This year, the bands have played on the newly paved area with the water, boats and mountains as a backdrop.
“You couldn't ask for a better setting,” Mullen said.
“With the park next door, people can bring their kids, who can run around when the music is playing. It's a perfect place for a concert.”
Mullen said social networking and sponsor support have made the concerts the place to be on Thursday night in Port Townsend.
“We get an appreciative, fun crowd that loves live music and dancing, which is why they come back each week,” she said.
Thursday's concert opens with a performance by 27th annual Kiwanis Stars of Tomorrow winner Hanna Trailer with accompaniment from Lack and Watson.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.