PORT TOWNSEND — Like a velvety ribbon, the sound of Jonathan Doyle’s clarinet rippled up the Taylor Street stairs last Saturday, heralding a springtime music series.
Buskers on the Block will bring free outdoor performances to the Haller Fountain at Washington and Taylor streets, Tyler Street Plaza at Water and Tyler streets and other downtown spots this month, said Mari Mullen, director of the Port Townsend Main Street Program.
“We’ll expand to Uptown in May,” she added, thus covering both of the city’s historic districts.
At 2 p.m. each Thursday and Saturday, local musicians will pour out an hour of jazz, Zydeco, country, indie pop and rock’n’roll, Mullen promised. In addition, two performers are booked for the afternoon of Memorial Day, May 31.
“It’s been really heartening,” Mullen added, to be hiring musicians to play live.
Several of the featured buskers were supposed to be part of Main Street’s summer 2020 attractions, but the pandemic canceled them all.
As part of the “Love Where You Live” campaign, Mullen’s crew will hand out free face masks and encourage people to support the local economy. The campaign is sponsored by the First Federal Community Foundation, the Port of Port Townsend and Windermere Real Estate. For more information, go to iLovePortTownsend.com.
Jack Dwyer, the local multi-instrumentalist set to play both April 24 and May 8, said busking has always been a beloved practice in his life.
Song requests are played — “if I know it. People will shout stuff out,” said Dwyer, who plays guitar, mandolin and banjo, among other instruments.
With this project, “we persevere,” Mullen added, “and we’re going to have fun.”
The Buskers on the Block lineup, weather permitting, includes:
Thursday and May 15: Buck Ellard, country and classic rock;
Saturday: Key City Public Theatre, Port Townsend’s professional theater company;
April 15 and 17: Christian Powers and a bandmate mix rock and indie pop from the 1960s and ’70s;
April 22: Flugelhorn Phil, blues, soft rock and jazz;
April 24 and May 8: Singer-songwriter Jack Dwyer, classic and traditional American repertoire and originals;
April 29: Saxophonist, clarinetist and arranger Jonathan Doyle, jazz;
May 1 and May 22: Joe Euro, classical guitar;
May 6: Performer to be announced;
May 13 and May 20: Singer and multi-instrumentalist Phina Pipia;
May 27: George Radebaugh and Peter Evasick of the Delta Rays, Cajun and Zydeco;
May 29: The Unexpected Brass Band, Port Townsend-New Orleans-style funk and brass;
May 31: Corinne Adams, Celtic fiddle in one location while Micaela Kingslight blends Americana, blues, folk, funk and rock at the other.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]