Joy in Mudville, featuring vocalist Kim Trenerry and bassist Paul Stehr-Green, will play Sunday and Monday at Port Angeles’ Juan de Fuca Festival. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

Joy in Mudville, featuring vocalist Kim Trenerry and bassist Paul Stehr-Green, will play Sunday and Monday at Port Angeles’ Juan de Fuca Festival. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

Blues, ballet — and beyond: Juan de Fuca Festival to ‘explore all forms’

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

For Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Brace yourself. The forecast calls for a deluge. It’s the kind we haven’t seen on Memorial Day weekend in years: the full-sun variety, bathing the ballet dancers, blues singers, comedians and folksingers — from across the world — in warmth.

The 24th annual Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts runs today through Monday on six stages in and near downtown Port Angeles, while, yes, predictions call for sunshine and highs in the 70s.

“That’s different,” said Dan Maguire, festival executive director for seven years now.

Enjoyability soars when the weather’s good, he said, adding that along with the dozens of blues, rock, bluegrass, folk, jazz and dance acts, he’s piled on the outdoor activities and non-musical acts for families this year.

The festival hub, main stage and Street Fair are found at the Vern Burton Community Center at Fourth and Peabody streets, while the other venues include the Chamber Stage just down the hall from the Vern Burton and the Elks Naval Lodge at First and Lincoln streets.

The Elks ballroom is where Ballet Victoria, a dance company invited back year after year, will perform.

“We love coming to the festival. The organizers are so positive,” said artistic director and dancer Paul Destrooper.

“The audience is great,” and the Elks Lodge is far more casual than their usual performance spaces.

“Chamber ballet is what we call it,” Destrooper said, and this is not a limiting factor when it comes to repertoire.

The nine dancers will interpret some Rolling Stones, the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” “Le Jazz Hot” from Henry Mancini and a Bach cello suite recorded by Yo-Yo Ma. Then there’s “The Sounds of Silence,” revamped by the metal band Disturbed.

“It does encourage dialogue” when you mash up the music like this, Destrooper said. He likes to hear those multigenerational conversations — discussions that could pervade this weekend’s festival, with its variety of music and dance styles.

Maguire calls Ballet Victoria the festival’s legacy act, asked back due to their “sheer beauty and artistry.” The dancers, their variety of music — it exemplifies the attitude for the weekend.

“Sort of ground zero for booking,” Maguire said, “is its emphasis on an eclectic lineup. It’s what makes this festival unique” and a chance to experience the unfamiliar.

The diversity spills out of the Vern Burton into the free Street Fair, too. Some 50 vendors of food, drink, art and musical instruments await, starting at noon today.

Then there are family activities and workshops including yoga, tai chi and African drumming, all of which are listed, alongside descriptions of every festival act, in the printed program available at all venues and at www.JFFA.org.

It’s tough for Maguire to pick a few acts to highlight. Many are coming from across the Pacific Northwest while others represent the local scene: Joy in Mudville, Michael Rivers, PoetryMusic, Kate Powers and David Rivers, and Twisted Roots.

When pressed, the director listed the four acts who will close out the main stage. Tonight the Ken DeRouchie Band, a soul and R&B outfit with a horn section and four-part harmonies, will play from 8:30 until about 10; Saturday, it’s Jesse Roper, a blues star in Canada.

“I have never heard buzz about a band at JFFA like Jesse,” Maguire said, “not even close.”

Sunday night brings the B.C. World Music Collective, a 13-member group based in Canada’s westernmost province. Its members come from seven countries of origin, said Maguire, and they take listeners on a world cruise.

Finally on Monday, electric fiddle player Geoffrey Castle arrives, not solo as usual but with a six-piece band to rock the main stage from 4:15 p.m. until the festival’s end around 6 p.m.

The fact that the Juan de Fuca Festival has made it to the 24-year mark is “pretty extraordinary,” Maguire said.

This is an expensive proposition, one that is not paid for by ticket sales alone. Local business sponsors and a small army of volunteers keep it alive, he emphasized.

Karen Hanan, now director of the Washington Arts Commission, aka ArtsWA, founded the Juan de Fuca Festival in 1994. She named it for the Greek explorer who sailed, circa 1592, into the strait between us and Canada.

It’s still a fitting moniker because, as Maguire said, “a big part of our mission is to provide folks with opportunities to explore all forms of performing arts.”

Schedule for Fuca Fest

PORT ANGELES — The four-day Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts begins today and runs through Monday.

Tickets are available outside the Vern Burton Community Center at 308 E. Fourth St. and at www.JFFA.org.

• Adult and teen prices: Four-day pass $75.

• Friday only or Monday only: $25.

• Saturday only or Sunday only: $35.

• Half-price with a valid student ID.

• Free for children 12 and younger.

The Juan de Fuca Festival’s free Street Fair outside the Vern Burton main stage opens today at noon and continues until about 7 tonight, Saturday and Sunday. The fair closes at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

A free shuttle bus will run among the various venues from noon until 7:15 p.m. during the festival.

Here is a schedule of who’s on when:

Today

— Vern Burton Community Center main stage

• 5:15 p.m.: Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, bluegrass.

• 6:45 p.m.: Achilles Wheel, world music and rock.

• 8:30 p.m.: Ken DeRouchie Band, R&B.

— Chamber Stage, adjacent to the Vern Burton

• 5 p.m.: Hadassah Grace, singer-pianist.

• 5:45 p.m.: High Divide, Americana featuring Kevin Munro and Forrest Gilchrist.

• 7 p.m.: Twisted Roots, Americana.

• 8:15 p.m.: Merideth Kay Clark, singer and multi-instrumentalist.

— After Hours shows, 10:30 p.m., included with festival ticket

• Metta Room, 132 E. Front St.: Achilles Wheel.

• New Moon Craft Tavern, 130 S. Lincoln St.: Jeff Scroggins & Colorado.

Saturday

— Vern Burton main stage

• 12:30 p.m.: Global Heat, world music and dance.

• 2 p.m.: Cirque Love Love, one-man cabaret.

• 3:30 p.m.: Michaela Anne, country, soul, folk.

• 5 p.m.: Divinity Roxx, R&B, hip-hop, rock.

• 6:45 p.m.: The Paperboys, rock-Celtic-Latin.

• 8:30 p.m.: Jesse Roper, blues.

— Chamber Stage

• Noon: Divinity Roxx workshop.

• 2 p.m.: Jeff Scroggins & Colorado.

• 3:15 p.m.: Kitty & the Rooster, rock’n’roll.

• 4:30 p.m.: Kate Powers & David Rivers, folk.

• 5:45 p.m.: Merideth Kay Clark, singer-songwriter.

• 7:15 p.m.: Trio Voronezh, folk from Russia.

• 8:30 p.m.: The Edge Improv, comedy.

— Elks Ballroom Stage, 131 E. First St.

• Noon: Ballet Victoria.

• 1:30 p.m.: Trio Voronezh.

• 3 p.m.: The Edge Improv.

• 4:30 p.m.: Global Heat.

• 6 p.m.: Michaela Anne.

— Elks Second Stage, 131 E. First St.

• 12:30 p.m.: Kate Powers & David Rivers.

• 1:45 p.m.: Merideth Kay Clark.

• 3 p.m.: High Divide.

• 4:15 p.m.: “Treasure Island” drama.

• 5:30 p.m.: Hadassah Grace.

— After Hours shows, 10:30 p.m.

• Metta Room: The Paperboys.

• New Moon: Kitty & the Rooster.

Sunday

— Vern Burton main stage

• 11:30 a.m.: Tall Tales from Humble Heroes.

• 12:45 p.m.: Crushwater.

• 2:15 p.m.: Polecat, roots rock.

• 3:45 p.m.: Dmitri Matheny, jazz.

• 5:15 p.m.: Watkins Glen, jam rock.

• 6:45 p.m.: Too Loose Zydeco.

• 8:30 p.m.: B.C. World Music Collective.

— Chamber Stage

• Noon: Michael Stephen Rivers, folk.

• 1:15 p.m.: PoetryMusic, jazz.

• 2:30 p.m.: Joy in Mudville, Americana.

• 3:45 p.m.: Whiskey Minstrels, Celtic, Canadian folk, country.

• 5 p.m.: Hiroya Tsukamoto, singer-songwriter from Japan.

• 6:15 p.m.: Alex Zerbe, physical comedy.

• 7:30 p.m.: Shot in the Dark, a cappella.

• 8:45 p.m.: David Jacobs-Strain, blues.

— Elks Ballroom Stage, 131 E. First St.

• Noon: Ballet Victoria.

• 1:30 p.m.: Watkins Glen.

• 3 p.m.: Crushwater, original rock.

• 4:30 p.m.: Polecat.

• 6 p.m.: Dmitri Matheny.

— Elks Second Stage

• 12:30 p.m.: Whiskey Minstrels.

• 1:45 p.m.: Alex Zerbe.

• 3 p.m.: Hiroya Tsukamoto.

• 4:15 p.m.: Shot in the Dark.

• 5:30 p.m.: Michael Stephen Rivers.

— After Hours shows, 10:30 p.m.

• Metta Room: Too Loose Cajun-Zydeco Band.

• New Moon: David Jacobs-Strain.

Monday

— Vern Burton main stage

• Noon: Memorial Day recognition ceremony.

• 12:30 p.m.: Missoula Children’s Theatre presents “Rapunzel.”

• 2:30 p.m.: Paula Boggs Band, soulgrass.

• 4:15 p.m.: Geoffrey Castle Band, Celtic, rock.

— Chamber Stage

• 12:30 p.m.: PoetryMusic.

• 1:45 p.m.: Twisted Roots.

• 3 p.m.: David Jacobs-Strain.

• 4:15 p.m.: Joy in Mudville.

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Angeles.

Tom Landa and his band the Paperboys will take the Juan de Fuca Festival main stage at 6:45 Saturday evening. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

Tom Landa and his band the Paperboys will take the Juan de Fuca Festival main stage at 6:45 Saturday evening. (Diane Urbani de la Paz)

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