Edmonds Waterfront Steelband Festival on July 20

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Photo courtesy of MoPOP
(with Gary Gibson as guest performer at left end of frontline)

Steel Magic Northwest, the Edmonds-based 501(c)(3) non-profit youth development organization providing after school steelband to area youth (and an evening adult community group) announces the first "Edmonds Waterfront Steelband Festival," to be held Thursday, July 20th, 5:30 - 7:30pm in the Edmonds Senior Center parking lot, 220 Railroad Avenue, in Edmonds.

Modeled on similar events held in various other U.S.cities, the first festival is small in scale – only two hours long – featuring two youth steelbands from the Edmonds School District's "Summer Music School," Steel Magic's own "Pan Wizards" and "Mystical Steel" youth and adult groups in combination, and their special guests from Tri-Cities, "Bram Brata," a 30-piece high school level group, hailing from the only other organization in Washington State like Steel Magic Northwest.

But Executive and Artistic Director Gary Gibson has seen firsthand (as guest artist and clinician) how these events grow and begin to attract large numbers of players and audiences.

"Probably the best example of the potential of these events is the Virginia International PAN Fest, which is a three-day event in Virginia Beach," says Gibson, who has three times been an adjudicator at the event. 
"Bands come from as far away as Texas to perform and compete at that festival, and it draws a huge audience requiring plenty of vendor support."

Gibson adds that there are roughly 250 school and community steelbands within a 500 mile radius of Edmonds, and no festival events like this anywhere in that territory.

Photo courtesy the Tri-Cities Steel Band Association
Members of Bram Brata volunteered to come to Edmonds in a stop on their international tour to show the people of Edmonds what Steel Magic Northwest's groups can evolve into with enough participation and community support.

With more than two decades of programming, Brama Brata has traveled to locations such as Banff, B.C., Disneyland, and Hawaii to perform. A youth development program based on after school steelband, the group is directed by Ben Leggett.

Mr. Leggett's local counterpart, Gary Gibson, is an internationally-known steel pan performer / composer and Edmonds resident who founded Steel Magic Northwest in 2014, and who is working to build a similar program here in the Edmonds / Lynnwood / Shoreline area.

The event is free and open to the public. The audience is encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and bask in the evening warmth in the Senior Center parking lot, with the beach, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.


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