Guest Author: Robin Hansen
There is a Renaissance happening right now in Everett. The city has been out of mind for years, but with ties to big local names like the Moondoggies, Mary Lambert, Ivan & Alyosha and Shelby Earl, the oft-forgotten northern neighbor is joining the fete of the Northwest music scene.
For the past 18 months, Everett Music Initiative has curated over 30 shows featuring top shelf artists from the Northwest. “After working in Everett for several years, I would look around Downtown Everett with bright eyes, blown away that the quirky downtown didn’t have more going on,” said Ryan Crowther, founder of Everett Music Initiative. “And the more people I met, the more I knew there was a big demand here for good music.”
After spending a couple of months brainstorming with a co-worker, Crowther was determined to do his part in bringing something bigger and better to Downtown Everett but he knew he couldn’t do it alone. His first call was to Steven Graham, a local music blogger and frontman for What Radio Blog. Starting the brand Everett Music Initiative, Crowther and Graham began coaxing Seattle artists to make the forty-minute drive to play The Anchor. Early artists to make the trip included The Grizzled Mighty, Fly Moon Royalty, Fox and the Law and Panama Gold. Crowther and Graham decided that a monthly show would help introduce some bigger names to Everett while testing the market and building a following. Everett Music Initiative has grown each month and Crowther and Graham continue to create innovative, authentic ways to share amazing shows and live music with the people of Everett and the north end.
Most notably, Everett Music Initiative just wrapped up a 10-week outdoor music summer series called Sets in the West. With two bands each week, the series featured familiar names like Shelby Earl, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band and Campfire OK. Sets in the West attracted as many as 350 people each week to the newly built Wetmore Theater Park. They also celebrated their first birthday in style with a crowded show at the Historic Everett Theatre in May featuring Motopony, the Moondoggies and Hot Bodies in Motion. “It was one of the best nights of my life,” said Graham. “We worked really hard that first year and seeing all the support fill the theater meant a lot.”
Although the initiative has gained some momentum and reputation, it hasn’t all been positive. “We’ve received a fair amount of scrutiny for the fact that we’ve focused attention on out of town artists, mostly from Seattle,” said Crowther. “Not only do we want the people from Everett and its outskirts to experience the quality of bands that Seattle does, but without bringing bigger names in, Everett won’t be a viable music scene. And it’s going to take some time for this to happen,” he concluded.
Everett Music Initiative is now working with some of the local talent. “This project has helped us run into some great bands putting out some great music. These guys are all doing amazing things,” said Graham, referring to bands like I Will Keep Your Ghost, Each and All, Preacher’s Wife, Fauna Shade and Born of Ghosts. “My money is on I Will Keep Your Ghost. They perform this electro rock that instantly turns the room into a dance party.”
Crowther and Graham also credit its success to a great relationship with the City of Everett and help from their “killer” designer Kimberly Williams, Experience Everett’s Sean Straub as well as other community leaders. “We couldn’t have done it without their help,” said Crowther.
Everett Music Initiative is opening doors and setting the stage for much more to come. “Where this will end up, we’re not exactly sure. We just want to keep the momentum going and continue throwing fun shows that people can enjoy,” said Crowther. “I can tell you one thing, we’re not done,” Graham added, smiling.
September 28th – Rose Windows, The Maldives and Learning Team @ Kroakers