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Music on San Juan Island: Some Like It Hot

person with a guitar in their lap
Written by Toni Shiurba published on July 26, 2017

music in the park san juan island Summertime is for picnics and play. I know a place where young and old can gather to listen to some rockin’ regional and local melodies. The Port puts on “Music in the Park“. Every Friday evening from 5 to 7 pm and again Sunday afternoon at 2 pm, you can bring the family to enjoy a picnic and some tunes. Or, put your dancing shoes on and show the bands some real appreciation. Above the docks, where fishing boats bob and luxury liners cradle travelers from distant ports, sits the stage. A circular, cement platform bordered by a low rock wall holds the source of mood-changing vibes. Rock and Roll, Folk, Blues, Jazz and Classical are the constantly shifting styles of music offered.

The Park at the Port

The park at the Port has a perfect view of the blue, blue water, landing seaplanes and, for a postcard effect, the arrival and departure of the San Juan Island Ferries.

There are wooden tables for relaxing and green grass to tickle your toes and keep you grounded. Some people prefer to perch on top of the rock wall that lines the area. Whatever your preference, there will be no sitting still. Gentle rhythms will captivate and sway you, while the undulating tones and accentuated backbeat of other styles start your head bobbing and your toes tapping. So don’t resist! Surrender to the sounds and enjoy yourselves.

Before the music even begins, two totem poles draw your attention. Noted Coast Salish carver, Susan Point, was commissioned to create a red cedar totem representative of the Coast Salish presence in our area. She calls it “Interaction” to mean the interdependence between man and wildlife. You will be in awe by the figure of a Native American woman touching her hands to the paws of a mountain lion. A killer whale decorates the other post along with salmon. Read the story of what characterizes these figures and see your part in the circle of life.

More Free Concerts!

More music abounds in other Friday Harbor locations. Every Wednesday, from 6:30 – 8:15 pm, Parks and Recreation presents free concerts at the San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price Street. Bring blankets and the kids if you’d like. There are three jammin’ sessions left to indulge yourself in a “heel-kicking good time”.

live music on san juan island

On July 26th, Uncle Funk and the Dope 6 motor over from Port Townsend to rattle your cage with hot tunes. Boogie-all-night sort of infectious rhythms, great vocalist, keyboard and drums kind of group. Dubbed as the “ultimate party band”, give them a whirl.

Don’t miss The J Bots on August 2nd who are locals hitting all the Classical Rock chords. Rock your evening away. These guys are great.

Last, but in no way least, is Uncle Otto on August 9th at the Historical Museum. Boy can they sing! Plus, they are seasoned acoustic style musicians. Well known in the islands, these fellas deliver. Expert guitarists, mandolin player, and drummer paired with some fine singing chops complete the group. Love the Blues? They really have got it. Throw in some Country and good old Rock ‘n’ Roll and you’ll see that this is some serious foot loose music!

The Community Theatre

Musical performances are a highlight of our San Juan Community theatre. On both Friday and Saturday, July 28th and 29th at 7:30 pm, trip the light fantastic of “Pigs on the Wing X 2”. If you are old enough to remember or savvy enough to have discovered Pink Floyd, you will love this group. Their skillful versions of the 1970’s rock and roll band are powerful. Tickets are just $24 for each night.

On August 3rd, you’ll find the homegrown talent of Debbie Nash Strasser along with Hanneke Klein Robbenhaar. Debbie is a fine guitarist and singer/songwriter and is joined by a hot licks fiddler and cello player. Down home fun at its’ finest!

On Thursday, August 31st, at 7:30pm, at the theatre, there will be a jazz and pop performance to honor Dick Hieronymus. Several accomplished artists offer musical applause in appreciation of this famous local composer, arranger and producer. Tickets $12 at the Theatre.

Music on Top of a Mountain!

If fresh air and a mountain view are on your rhythmic menu, don’t miss “Music on the Mountain.” The Keith Highlanders Pipe Band” sounds out traditional Scottish music on top of Mt. Dallas. It is an afternoon gig starting at 2pm. The cost is $25 or $35 for a spot with a chair. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music and Scottish dancing.

Want to claim your fifteen minutes of fame? This is it! Clap, whistle and holler away. You see, the property is owned by Eclectic Lady Land Recording. And you will be the live audience recorded for a future CD of the band. Tickets on sale at the Theatre.

Regular Crowd Favorites

On another note, how about some sushi and a guitar serenade? You can get both up the stairs from Cask and Schooner at the Tops’l Sushi and Seafood Restaurant. Their address is 1 Front Street. Master Chef Kasu San will enthrall you with his Japanese Sushi skills while the music soothes your soul.

Herb’s Tavern is the town’s oldest tavern. You’ll see it as you crest the hill of the first block. Sure there is beer and liquor but they also claim to have the best burgers in town. But, hang on, there’s more. Karaoke your thing? They’ve got it along with contests and prizes for winners. Express yourself! Coming up on the musical roster is an assortment of mostly rock and roll and blues bands.

The Rumor Mill Restaurant and Bar at 175 1st Street, hosts crowd-pleasing groups regularly throughout the summer and all year long. Good food, great music and a big dance floor have you covered. Check them out on Facebook.

What Are You Waiting For?

So let your hair down a little and give your worries a vacation. Come to Friday Harbor and stay with us at the Harrison House Suites where there’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!!!

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