Arts and Entertainment

Basnight kicks off Music on the Lawn concert series: event helps celebrate Island Rec’s 25th year

Island Rec is getting older but showing no signs of slowing down.

You can help celebrate Island Rec’s 25th birthday this summer at its ninth annual Music on the Lawn concert series. Take your lawn chairs, picnic blankets and dinner to the San Juan Historical Museum lawn for free live music each Wednesday from July 8 to Aug 5.

Sally Thomsen, coordinator of Music on the Lawn, thinks the concert series remains popular year after year because of the “great venue and lovely setting” the historical museum provides. “It’s a free event that people from all walks of life can come to and enjoy a variety of music.” Mark your calendar for July 8, when the Seattle-based Jim Basnight Band kicks off this year’s series. “The King of Pop for the Northwest may very well be Jim Basnight,” The Montana Kaiman reported in 2002. The band’s focus is on rock-flavored pop, with a repertoire spanning from the ’50s to the ’90s.

If jazz is more your thing, the Easy Street Band performs July 15. Easy Street Band is a nine-piece swing band with vocal accompaniment. The group is popular throughout the Northwest, regularly performing at various festivals.

You will hear everything from the cello to the electric banjo when Elephant Revival performs on July 22. The Boulder Weekly described the group’s music as brimming “with folk ballads, modern Celtic fiddle dirges, hints of blues and Appalachia ... coaxing the spirit but slyly avoiding climbing fully into each form’s body.”

In case you missed Jazz at the Labs, our very own San Juan Jazz Quintet will perform July 29 with accompaniment by Jill Urbach on vocals. On this night, Island Rec will put on a cake-baking and decorating contest from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in celebration of its 25th anniversary. The cakes will be served during the concert and winners will receive baking and decorating lessons with local professional bakers.

The last concert in the Music on the Lawn series will take place on Aug. 5, when Tapwater takes the stage. Tapwater has coined its own genre called “World Twang,” an eclectic combination of accordion, banjo, guitar, marimba, piano, steel pans and upright bass. Tapwater’s influences are wide-ranging and include Ray Charles, Dave Matthews Band, and Pink Floyd.

Thomsen hopes this lineup will “attract a younger audience we haven’t seen as much of in years past. There’s something for people of all ages.”

All Music on the Lawn concerts are from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the historical museum, 405 Price St. Pets and alcohol aren’t allowed, but you can bring your own food, chairs and blankets. Parking is available on the street and at St. Francis Church.

This summer, Island Rec also hosts Chalk it Up (its annual sidewalk decorating contest) on July 18, the 8.8K Loop Run on the Saturday of fair week, and various other programs.

For program information, call 378-4953.

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