- About Us
Bringing the blues to Country Village: Bothell music festival Aug. 31
Great blues guitarists can conjure heavy-hearted emotion with six simple strings, a tube amplifier and years of practice. But sometimes finding the right combination of notes is not as easy. The blues is about having a heart broken, but Bothell business owner Sean McVeigh has found joy during the past two years in producing the Bothell Blues Festival. He has found the perfect combination of notes, even though he has never touched a guitar and knows nothing about the music industry. He and Carolina Smokes owner Dave Heyward are bringing back the festival for its third year at Country Village.
“It’s the four ‘B’s: Blues, Barbecue, Beer and Bothell,” said McVeigh. “… Each of the past two years 20 to 30 people have come up to me and said ‘this is awesome, please do it again.’”
Those encouraging words helped McVeigh through the first year when the event lost money and last year when it broke even.
“The first year was really painful but the people brought us back,” said McVeigh, who owns 425 Media and has an office in Country Village.
The event doubled in size during the first two years with 300 spectators in 2011 and nearly 600 last year. McVeigh is hoping it doubles again in 2013.
The festival will be held on the Country Village grounds on Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with five blues bands performing. The space normally reserved for pony rides and family picnics will be occupied by the sounds of a Les Paul guitar and a beer garden.
McVeigh admits that Country Village holds some constraints for the event but he wants it to stay “all Bothell.” Carolina Smokes is a diamond sponsor of the event and produces the authentic barbecue, while the official beer vendor is Bothell’s Foggy Noggin Brewery. The Village Bean will also offer sandwiches in the festival area with service to patrons while they watch the stage. Open Road winery of Bothell is the official wine vendor for the event as well. One of the main sponsors is McMenamins.
McVeigh said that he always wanted to produce a music event but didn’t know how.
“I didn’t know anything about the music industry,” he said. “The first year we went around and asked a bunch of bands if they wanted to play. The second year they were contacting us.”
He had some help from blues guitarist Chester Dennis Jones, who is a customer of Heyward’s.
The cost for this year’s show is $17 for the entire day of music. That price is up $2 from last year but McVeigh said that is because of the quality of music for this year’s lineup. The Chester Dennis Jones Band will play the event again this year along with The Stacey Jones Band, Palmer Junction and Eric Freeman. The WIRED! Band will headline the show for the second consecutive year.
“They are so off-the-hook great at what they do,” said McVeigh. “People really go crazy for the last two bands that play.”
The festival had its share of hurdles during the first two years. Competing with Bumbershoot and a second blues festival in Seattle on the same weekend in Seattle has not been easy.
“We want people in Bothell to spend their money here,” said McVeigh, noting that some of the bands playing the Bothell Blues Festival this year have played Bumbershoot in the past. “We are trying to keep Bothell in Bothell. We want people to spend their money in Bothell and support local events.”
McVeigh said that it is also an opportunity for people to explore Country Village.
“People drive by for years and don’t know what is in here,” said McVeigh. “We hope this is an opportunity for them to come in and check it out.”