Musicians booked for Elwha dams removal celebration

PORT ANGELES — The rock band Cake and a pair of singer-songwriters are booked for the Saturday night concert amid Celebrate Elwha!, the Sept. 14-18 series of public events marking the teardown of the Elwha River dams.

Cake, the California-born band known for their hit “Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” will headline a lineup of musical acts in “eTown,” a nationwide public radio variety show to be recorded on stage at the Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.

That’s the day the nation’s largest dam removal begins, with the beginning of the demolition of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams.

Bringing down the dams and freeing the Elwha River is part of the National Park Service’s $325 million Elwha River Restoration Project to restore the river’s once-plentiful salmon run.

‘Young and hip’

Cake is “just young and hip,” said Karen Hanan of Arts Northwest, the Port Angeles coordinator of the musical acts and artists participating in Celebrate Elwha!

Cake will offer songs from its latest album, “Showroom of Compassion,” as well as from its other releases including “Motorcade of Generosity.”

Joining Cake will be folk songstress Eliza Gilkyson, a singer Hanan likened to Joan Baez, and Danny Barnes, an alternative-folk artist whose recent record, “Pizza Box,” features his friend, Dave Matthews.

Barnes, who has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, is also the former head of the acoustic punk-rock band the Bad Livers.

Tickets to the “eTown” production, which will blend live performances and interviews with the artists and with representatives of the Elwha River Restoration Project, are $20 at and at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles.

The show recorded here will be broadcast later on some 350 radio stations across the continent. The nearest is KMTT-FM 103.7 of Tacoma.

The program is also available online; more details are at

When seeking the right mix of artists for the Olympic Peninsula’s own “eTown,” Hanan looked for an array that would cross borders of age and musical style.

Cake is for the younger crowd, she said, while Gilkyson and Barnes are for the more mature members of the audience.

She also chose musicians who have been active on the environmental front.

“We’ve ended up with a strong show,” Hanan said, “that will appeal to a wide variety of people.

“Nothing like this has come to town before.”

City Pier

The Celebrate Elwha! events also include a music and arts festival on City Pier following the invitation-only ceremony at the Elwha Dam at 11 a.m. Sept. 17.

Gilkyson will sing “Beautiful World,” her tribute to America’s national parks, and Dana Lyons, a Bellingham singer-songwriter, will offer “One Drop of Water,” a song written for the occasion.

The days leading up to Sept. 17 will bring poetry readings, a science symposium and a free public lecture by Yvon Chouinard, founder of the Patagonia outdoor gear and clothing company, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in the gym at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

More details about the many events are at

Hanan is filled with anticipation for the string of musical events commemorating the giant river ecosystem restoration project.

“This is a community coming together,” she said, “to do something amazing environmentally.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at

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