The De Koch family at the Quilcene Lantern on May 29. From left to right are Willem, Laurie, Bergen and Steve. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The De Koch family at the Quilcene Lantern on May 29. From left to right are Willem, Laurie, Bergen and Steve. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Owners of historic property to present Tarboo Fest

Independent music event slated early next month

QUILCENE — Thanks to about 15 months worth of working to purchase and work the Trillium Woods Farm in Quilcene, the De Koch family is ready to host Tarboo Fest, a three-day indie music festival set for July 4-6.

Tarboo is the brain child of oldest son Willem De Koch, who is following through on a longtime dream of owning a music venue.

Until recently, Willem was living out another dream, touring heavily and contributing to some major recordings as a trombonist in New York City.

Willem’s band, The Westerlies, a brass quartet, were a go-to horn section for studio and live performances that contributed horns to Fleet Foxes’ 2017 and 2020 records, “Crack-Up” and “Shore,” and bolstering the band’s live sound on subsequent tours.

As Willem’s resume continued to grow, so did his general discontent. He was not finding The Westerlies to be creatively satisfying, and his busy traveling schedule was unsustainable. Unsure of his next steps, he left the band and decided to move back to Washington state.

Steve and Laurie De Koch had been musing on the idea of purchasing a campground or an RV park for their retirement. Through a casual conversation with Steven Raider-Ginsburg, executive director of Field Arts & Events Hall, they learned that the Quilcene property — now renamed Quilcene Lantern — was for sale.

They decided to reach out to owner Leigh Hearon to see the property. It all happened very quickly, but soon, the whole family was on board, agreeing they would step through each open door.

Kathie Blackwell, Laurie’s mother, died of pancreatic cancer at 78 two weeks after the sale was finalized. The excitement of their endeavour along with her loss has been dissonant for the family.

“She would’ve loved this,” Laurie said. “This would’ve been a big adventure, and she was pretty heartbroken that she was gonna miss out on it.”

They are well-suited for a project of this magnitude. In addition to Steve’s career as an architect and a builder, Laurie brings more than 15 years of music nonprofit experience to the family business from her time as founder and director of Seattle Jazz Ed.

Though the business is for-profit, supporting the arts is at the core of the family’s vision.

Willem and Bergen hope to add a video component to the barn venue, giving touring artists the opportunity to film a high-quality live performance.

The music

With a serious lineup of bands from around the Pacific Northwest, the family wanted to prioritize amplifying local music. Almost half of the bands are from Sequim or Port Townsend.

The event is curated in the indie music vein with a focus on songwriting, Willem said. The lineup is largely comprised of acts Willem knows through his life in music, along with local bands Bergen, the youngest of the family, knows from living on the Olympic Peninsula.

Headliner Kate Davis offers smart and poppy rock with a somewhat devious sense of humor. See her website to find an oversaturated and internet-drenched design sensibility, which feels like an appropriate extension to her songwriting.

Caro Kann, a group that started in Sequim, is emotionally dark and sonically heavy. Raw storms of noise swirl over singer Stephen Fuller’s guttural baritone poetry as drummer Adam Amr pumps out waves of strokes.

Japan-born Tomo Nakayama has been producing critically hailed folk records in Seattle for many years. His catchy and sweetly open arrangements have been featured in films, commercials and television.

Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture creates lush and sweeping dream-pop, vocals floating over beds of synth and weaving guitar melodies. Their sizable output has seen them touring and recording with some of indie music’s legendary names.

Cait Faircloth of Quilcene plays music under the name Monica, and drums for Lotion is excited for what the venue brings to an already thriving music community.

“I am very stoked for Tarboo, and it has been a treat to meet the folks running the Lantern,” Faircloth said. “As far as independent music venues go, the Quilcene Lantern is all I could ask for. It’s in a beautiful location and run by really caring people that love art and community.

“They have done an excellent job incorporating local bands into their lineup, while also giving local residents access to bands that are professional touring artists that may not normally put the Peninsula on their route.”

Tickets, artist lineup, camping and parking details, amenities, policies and FAQs are all addressed on the Quilcene Lantern website, https://www.quilcenelantern.com/tarboo.

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