Back to Guides

Summer Guide 2011: What the Heck Fest


Photo Credit: Jason Ganwich Photography

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

The What the Heck Fest, now in its 10th year, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "dinner and a show."

The Anacortes music festival/family reunion of sorts features a host of indie/alternative bands from Anacortes and Olympia, a weekend getaway to a beautiful town - and dinner shows at the American Croatian Club.

"It's pretty unique," says organizer Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie and D+. "It's more of a food-based community event than just a spectator thing."

What the Heck Fest also coincides with Anacortes's annual Shipwreck Day, a communitywide garage sale, which is a big draw for the indie crowd.

"That's part of the fun, and it's part of the appeal," says Bret Lunsford, who organized the first Heck Fest. "It's not a music festival where you are off at a concert ground and the only thing to do is go to booths set up in the boonies. This is in a town where people can entertain themselves. They can go this huge junk sale. They can do anything."

"For a lot of people, the What the Heck Fest is just an excuse to come to Anacortes and do stuff that's not part of the festival even," Elverum says. "I mean, the festival is great, and most people do everything, but a lot of people love to explore the town. A lot of people are swimming in lakes and missing the concerts."

Which is not to say the music isn't important. A complete schedule is not yet available, but the lineup for this year's festival will as always be heavy on bands from Olympia's K Records and groups with Anacortes's Knw-Yr-Own Records.

A connection was forged between the two towns in the '80s, when Lunsford played in Beat Happening with K's Calvin Johnson. "There was just kind of a natural cross-pollination that developed, and it still exists," Lunsford says.

Elverum has played at every Heck Fest thus far, and both Mount Eerie and D+ will play this year.

Also slated to play: Wyrd Visions, MBen & Bruno, Earth, Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets, For The Birds, Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa, Takhoma, Laura Leif, Bitpart, Broken Water, Sam Lohmann, the Drink Up Honey, Lovers Without Boarders, Ô Paon, Mecca Normal, Thrones, Brave Irene and the Zaps, with more to come.

Confirmed for the dinner shows is LAKE - who will apparently provide the dessert. The K website describes the band thus: "Listening to LAKE is like pouring sugar in your ears. They'll turn your brain into chocolate, 67% cacao."

The American Croatian Club seats only about 120 people, and dinner shows have always sold out quickly, which is why for the past few years there have been two shows, one Friday and one Saturday night; a full festival pass includes one or the other.

Like most of the festival, the dinner is for all ages. (There are a few shows that happen at bars.)

And on the all-ages front, organizers have news: they're no longer limiting themselves to one weekend a year.

"We're going to expand to a quarterly event series," Elverum says. "Our all-ages venue, the Department of Safety, closed down last year, and it's been kind of sleepy in town. We want more things to happen."

As for the 10th anniversary plans, he says: "We're trying to make it epic. I mean, we try that every year, but I'm really trying this year."

What the Heck Fest

Friday, July 15-Sunday, July 17, $65
Downtown Anacortes

Shipwreck Day

Saturday, July 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., free
downtown Anacortes

BADGES EARNED: Big-Ass Junk Sale Survival, All-Age Fun, Indie Stuff

Read next close


Forbidden treasures

Comments for "Summer Guide 2011: What the Heck Fest" (1)

Weekly Volcano is not responsible for the content of these comments. Weekly Volcano reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

User Photo

Rosemary said on Aug. 10, 2011 at 9:50pm

Would be very nice to put on the site 'WHERE' the heck you are. WHERE the heck is Anacortes????

Finally found it.

Leave A Comment

(This will not be published)


Respond on Your Blog

If you have a Weekly Volcano Account you can not only post comments, but you can also respond to articles in your own Weekly Volcano Blog. It's just another way to make your voice heard.

Site Search