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Laid Back Attack: Parrotheads for USO

Tropical rock festival to raise money for USO Northwest

Brittany Kingery

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When the ParrotHeads of Puget Sound gather next month to raise funds for the USO Northwest, they'll be continuing a nearly 20-year tradition of "partying with a purpose." The local Parrotheads are among the most active and productive chapters of the national Parrotheads in Paradise network of Jimmie Buffet devotees. And the group's annual Laid Back Attack music festival has evolved into one of the country's most impressive assemblies of music in the "trop rock" - short for tropical rock - genre.

"We're very excited about the talent lineup and the party and activities that we have planned for Laid Back Attack," says Parrothead President Phil Pompeo. The four-day event takes place at the Seattle Airport Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly Airport Holiday Inn) in SeaTac from July 10-14. "But even more than that, we are proud to be making a difference in the community."

That, says Pompeo, is because the mission of these Buffet backers doesn't stop at finding Jimmie's lost shaker of salt. All their events, including the 12th annual Laid Back Attack, raise money for worthy causes, and the USO Northwest is the beneficiary this year, with 100 percent of the proceeds from Laid Back Attack supporting the USO's campaign to build a 7,000 square foot facility at SeaTac Airport.

"The USO does such good and important work for servicemembers in this region and their families," Pompeo observes. "The Parrotheads are looking forward to honoring those military families by doing our part to support a great cause and a great organization."

Says Pompeo, this year's Laid Back Attack roster includes some of the biggest names in trop rock short of Mr. Buffet himself. Headliners include longtime trop rockers Don Middlebrook and the Pearl Divers from Michigan, and Jim Morris, whose 24 albums have earned him the title "Godfather of Trop Rock," performing with his Big Bamboo Band. The lineup also includes Thom Shepard, whose songs "Redneck Yacht Club" and "Riding with Private Malone" are among the five songs recorded by other artists that have hit the top spot on the country music charts, and "Mexico Mark" Mulligan, whose 12 albums and international touring have made him a perennial favorite among fans of the genre.

What's new this year is the arrival on the scene of a local star. Olympia's Brittany Kingery burst onto the scene last Spring with the release of her debut CD, Edge of the Ocean, and earned herself a Best Female Vocalist nomination from the Trop Rock Music Association in 2013. A year later, she is about to complete her second album, and chose Laid Back Attack as the occasion to officially release the highly anticipated Dream in Blue. Kingery, who now lives in the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico, returned to Washington to release and promote the new recording. Ironically, because Brittany's rise to prominence in the genre coincided with her south of the border, many of the festivalgoers will be hearing her for the first time.

"It definitely adds a new dimension to the event," Pompeo acknowledges, "to know that we have a homegrown rising star on our bill and that we will be helping her to unveil her new album. I think that will definitely be one of the highlights of the weekend."

For more information and a complete lineup of the Laid Back Attack Festival, visit Registration for the event closes June 20. Brittany Kingery's CD Dream in Blue will be available July 11 at and most music download sites. Visit And for more information on the Parrotheads of Puget Sound, visit

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