The first Olympia Acoustic Festival this weekend will celebrate music, camaraderie and collaboration and, unlikely though it may sound, rain.
Its a showcase for Northwest acoustic music, the kind of stuff that you make when youre sitting around your house and its raining outside, and theres nothing to do but make music or go get wet, said musician and festival co-organizer Paul Mauer. Thats what I love about this area. I love to sit in a room and watch it rain and make music.
The Olympia Acoustic Festival attempts to recapture that spirit, said Mauer of Longview. He and fellow organizer Jabi Shriki want the ambience of a bunch of friends playing music in a cozy living room with a fire in the woodstove, Mauer added.
So the event takes the typical festival trappings multiple stages, vendors and brings them under a roof, the better to stay out of any possible precipitation.
The lineup includes Erev Rav, The Pine Hearts, Aaron English and Oly Mountain Boys, along with a number of less well-known artists. Both Mauer and Shriki will perform in the afternoon.
As for the camaraderie part, the festival came together so quickly and easily because most of the artists are connected.
We didnt really announce it, Mauer said. We just asked people we wanted to have play, and within a week, it was full.
These are people who have played together and know each other and are informally part of a musical collective, said Shriki, the man behind the Olympia Music Awards. Ive done a show with probably everybody on the list.
It was me going, Hey, I want to put a show together where I can play with people I like, Mauer said. I really wanted to get people that I admire musically to play together.
Despite that connection, the musical styles represented are diverse, from Jonah Tolchins blues and the Mountain Boys bluegrass to Aaron Englishs world music and Erev Ravs klezmer fusion.
Shriki plays music with indie-folksy roots, while Mauer, who won an Olympia Music Award in the singer-songwriter category, describes his style as dark, introspective acoustic rock. (By dark, he doesnt mean depressing: Its uplifting dark; its not like I-want-to-die-in-a-closet dark, he said.)
I wanted to celebrate the diversity of all this different music, Mauer said. Its the acoustic umbrella, and here are all these different genres trickling off the umbrella.