Crystal Periot and daughter Imogen, 3, of Redmond paint orbs for THING’s nighttime lantern parades. The Port Townsend School of the Arts set up the painting tent at the festival. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Crystal Periot and daughter Imogen, 3, of Redmond paint orbs for THING’s nighttime lantern parades. The Port Townsend School of the Arts set up the painting tent at the festival. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

THING festival draws thousands to Port Townsend

Whether first-year event will return to city is still to be decided

PORT TOWNSEND — THING attracted at least 5,000 people each of two days to Fort Worden during the inaugural music and arts festival.

THING, which wrapped up on Sunday, hosted a variety of activities, with 50 performances spread between four stages, guided hikes, on-stage podcasting, a contra dance and “Dance Church.”

Among the performers were big names such as De La Soul, Jeff Tweedy, Natasha Lyonne, Calexico and Iron & Wine.

THING was the idea of Adam Zacks, the founder of the Sasquatch! festival, which ran for 17 years before being shut down.

THING was created and executed by the Seattle Theater Group (STG).

Zacks said he believes that THING had a successful first outing as an arts festival.

“Overall I’m feeling like the event went very well,” Zacks said. “I think we succeeded in our goal to celebrate music and the arts in a unique and communal way.

“It was great seeing all of the attendees come together to experience such a wide variety of talent,” Zacks said.

More than 5,000 people older than 13 attended each day, with some attending both days, said Emily Krahn, STG public relations manager.

THING sold out on all its tickets, she said.

Organizers did not have the exact totals attended as of Tuesday afternoon, Krahn said. Children younger than 13 were admitted free of charge, so they are harder to track, Krahn said.

It was not smooth sailing throughout the entire weekend for the team.

One performance Saturday night by Cafe Tacvba had to be postponed from 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. due to strong winds that night, Krahn said.

Zacks is taking the issues that arose this year and using them as lessons for improvement.

“It was our first year for this event,” Zacks said, “so that obviously comes with some challenges and learning experiences.”

The event was expensive, with the base ticket for a one-day entry costing almost $100 in advance and $129.50 during the festival.

That didn’t include parking. Many had to park at different lots throughout Port Townsend and then were shuttled to Fort Worden.

At this time, it is unknown if THING will return for another year of celebration, as STG is still processing everything that happened this past weekend.

“We’re taking everything into account and will be doing a full evaluation to see where we go from here,” Zacks said.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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