LITTLE BIG FEST is on its way to becoming the biggest little festival on South Whidbey Island. This two-day, family-friendly event takes place in the field, midway, and buildings at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds in Langley, Washington, just outside of downtown Langley, 26 miles north of Seattle.
More than twenty bands from Portland, Seattle, and Whidbey are scheduled to rotate on and off two stages. The gates open at 3 p.m. Friday, August 11, music begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 11:30 p.m. The venue opens at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, August 12-13. The first band starts at Noon both days and ends at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday.
Festivalgoers will be able to enjoy beer gardens featuring local beer, wine, and cider; art, retail, and food vendors; a family zone; a healing zone; yoga, and a silent disco.
The focus of Little Big Fest is not only to support live music, but also music education and local artists. Profits from ticket sales will pay musicians and bands and go toward music education scholarships for local high school students.
Little Big Fest is the brainchild of local musician, Keegan Harshman, a 2010 graduate of South Whidbey High School. Harshman ventured away for a few years after high school, traveling and playing in various bands at gigs and festivals in San Luis Obispo, CA before returning home to raise his own family. “I played with an amazing community of musicians while living in California. When I moved back to Whidbey Island I missed a part of that culture, atmosphere, and camaraderie, and thought, instead of searching for it why don’t I try to help bring a taste to this awesome community on Whidbey,’” said Harshman. “It’s my spark, and with the help of the community, it’s a fire that can thrive.”
The Little Big Fest logo are trademarks of Little Big Fest.
Harshman grew up attending the annual Choochokam Music & Arts Festival that attracted thousands of people to Langley every July for 41 years. Choochokam ended in 2015. Harshman’s vision is to provide a new festival that honors the passion and professionalism of musicians and inspires youngsters. “It’s not just a music festival,” Harshman said. “It’s a gift to the community that can grow. Seeing people play their hearts out on stage is inspiring to people of all ages.
“This year, I’ve got a great team of helpers and we’re using two stages and setting up different areas of use throughout the Fairgrounds.”
Bands won’t be competing for ears on the stages. The line-up allows each band to play between 45 minutes to two hours of music on one stage while the next act sets up on the other stage, said Harshman, who plays bass guitar and owns Blue Sound Music in Langley. He’ll be playing in several of the bands: Nathaniel Talbot, Janie Cribbs and the T. Rust Band, and his most recent project, Doctor Savage.
Portland’s Outer Orbit is Friday night’s headliner and features an eight-piece band playing original soul and funk while drawing on a range of influences from Sly Stone and The Meters to Aretha Franklin. Saturday’s headliner is Seattle’s F2D (Funky2Death). They’re a six-piece band of local funk scene pioneers who enjoys influences such as Sly Stone, James Brown, Graham Central Station, and Chaka Kahn.
Closing Little Big Fest on Sunday evening is Portland’s Scott Pemberton O Theory. Scott Pemberton’s sound is much like the vibe of his native Portland: fun! The best way to categorize his music is with the moniker “Timber Rock”. Scott naturally applies his own lens/stamp to the sounds of the Pacific northwest, the region he has always called home: deep jazz, PNW rock/grunge, blues roots, and west coast funk. The mastery of his guitar playing combined with his songwriting, Scott plays with the uninhibited joy and intensity of someone who recognizes that every time we make music is an honor and a gift.
Tickets and camping passes are available now on the website, littlebigfest.org, including day and weekend passes with or without camping. Camping options include passes for tent camping, car camping, and RV at the Fairgrounds.
Little Big Fest is supported by local and Seattle-area sponsors and is open to more sponsorship. Contact Keegan Harshman for details at firstname.lastname@example.org