A new and unique music festival made its debut in the Northwest last weekend. The new event was presented by Seattle Theatre Group and Adam Zacks, who founded the Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2002. Zacks’ new endeavor, THING, is a two-day multidisciplinary event featuring music, comedy, film, dance, podcasts, and visual arts, held in Port Townsend, Washington.
The site for THING, Fort Worden State Park, included a scenic view of the Olympic and Cascade mountains, and over a hundred historic buildings, with venues like McCurdy Pavilion (a decommissioned zeppelin hangar), Wheeler Theatre (an art deco theatre original to the site), and the fort’s Parade Grounds.
The diverse musical lineup included Northwest acts INGS and Black Belt Eagle Scout, national draws like Kurt Vile and the Violators, Parquet Courts, Calexico and Iron & Wine and Jeff Tweedy, and up-and-comers Japanese Breakfast, Orville Peck, Khruangbin, Sudan Archives, and Tank and the Bangas, plus international artists Junius Meyvant (Iceland) and Café Tacvba (Mexico). Headlining the festival were De La Soul and Violent Femmes.
Capacity for the inaugural year of THING was at 5,000 ticketholders per day, which sold out in the week leading up to August 24. The festival could’ve easily hosted twice that number of concertgoers, but the relatively smaller festival size made the occasion feel that much more special. Perhaps next year the festival will grow in attendance, but that would be a whole ‘nother, awesome THING.
Japanese Breakfast’s swaying pop infused with shimmery guitar riffs closed out the afternoon at the Littlefield Green Stage on Saturday.
THING aimed to be a family-friendly affair, by scheduling acts like Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew, former lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America) to cater to a younger audience.
Icelandic singer Junius Meyvant brought a soulful set to the Parade Ground stage on day one of THING.
Chicago-based, Jazz percussionist, Makaya McCraven warmed up the Littlefield Green Stage with his inventive brand of cool on Saturday afternoon.
The McCurdy Pavilion was at capacity during Orville Peck’s set Saturday afternoon. The line to get in stretched down the field, and energy from the crowd who were lucky to be inside, felt like a revival.
Parquet Courts started off the evening music sets at the Littlefield Green Stage Saturday. Attendees were present for a loud and raucous good time. Midway through their set, guitarist Andrew Savage said, “This is better than what Woodstock 50 would’ve been. This is what they should’ve done.”