PORT TOWNSEND — The four-day Soundcheck Music and Arts Festival begins Thursday with events that focus on highlighting and supporting the local artistic community in five disciplines outlined by the Port Townsend Creative District: Visual, Literary, Performing, Culinary and Makers arts.
Over 100 local artists were hired for events that take place in more than 20 venues through Sunday. Most events are free and range from family friendly to over 21.
Soundcheck precedes the THING festival set at Fort Worden from Aug. 25-27.
Originally created in response to the inception of THING festival in 2019, Soundcheck was formed by a group of local volunteers who wanted to introduce early-arriving festival-goers to the Port Townsend arts scene.
“Having THING in town meant we’d be hosting a relatively young, art-loving audience who may not have visited before or might not know a whole lot about Port Townsend,” said Gage Pacifera, Soundcheck chair.
“It seemed like we should have some activities going on to properly introduce them.”
From poetry readings to dueling DJs on the dock, family-friendly, artist-led activities to burlesque shows, Soundcheck has something for everyone, organizers said.
The festivities begin Thursday with an expanded “Concerts on the Dock” featuring music from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. by local bands Cosmiphonics, True Reckoning and North Beach at Pope Marine Park. Friday’s lineup includes a free Lindy Hop Dance class in Tyler Plaza from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. set to live music by Jack Dwyer and Friends.
Other highlights on Friday’s schedule include a live poetry event, “Conjuring Climate Shift” from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a screening of film shorts called “PT Reels” (showings at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) at Key City Public Theater, as well as “Bandsplosion!!!” an evening of local live music spread across eight venues throughout Port Townsend.
Saturday kicks off with the 31st annual Uptown Street Fair from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which includes the Port Townsend Farmers Market, the Arts & Crafts Fair by PT Arts Guild, all-day live music, kids’ activities by PT Artscape, and the Unbelievably Colorful Yet Brief Uptown Street Fair Parade.
Immediately following Uptown Street Fair at 5:30 p.m. will be a family movie night at the Port Townsend Public Library and the “Local Lineup” — a showcase of singer/songwriters in Chester Square.
The evening wraps up with “Sips & Scripts,” three 10-minute comedic plays by regional playwrights from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Key City Public Theatre, and “Water Street Beats,” a dual-venue performance featuring nine local DJs at the Cotton and Pope Marine buildings downtown beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing late into the evening.
Some of Sunday’s events include “Three Cheers for 50 Years,” Fort Worden’s 50th Birthday Party featuring Sweater Weather String Band, art and nature activities and cake.
A free show at the Bishop Hotel Garden will feature The SHIFT, Jus Wright and Andrew Fischer-Price, and “The Baddie Book” Mean Girls Burlesque Show with the Sky Dancers at Brigid’s Loft (above Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop).
Soundcheck is a signature event that supports the activities of the Port Townsend Creative District, which works to connect artists to their audiences. It is made possible by sponsors including The Leader, Quimper Mercantile, Urquia Law, Windermere Real Estate, the City of Port Townsend Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, the Arts Fund Community Accelerator Grant, Salish Sound, Harmonic Northwest, the Port Townsend Main Street Program, the Port Townsend Arts Commission, KPTZ 91.9 FM, Sirens Pub, New American Funding, Key City Public Theatre, Vintage by PT Vineyards, The Bishop Hotel, Fort Worden Hospitality, Friends of the Port Townsend Public Library and Kristin Manwaring Insurance.
For a full list of events, times and locations, visit ptsoundcheck.com.