The Olympia Independent Music Festival is making a spectacle of itself.
In its fifth year, the outdoor music festival has redefined itself and renamed itself the Olympia Outdoor Public Spectacle, or OOPS. It’s happening Saturday outside the Capitol Theater.
Hosted by storyteller Elizabeth Lord and comedian/actress/burlesque performer Lauren O’Neill, the festival features seven bands playing in a variety of styles, plus a cakewalk with the dancers of Tush Burlesque, dancing by Flamenco Fury, and Sam Miller’s attempt to balance a lawnmower on his chin long enough to break the world record.
That’s variety, all right. And it’s all free.
“We wanted to take the core of what OIMF was about and then expand upon it,” said organizer John Manini. (OIMF — pronounced a lot like “oink” — is the acronym for the Olympia Independent Music Festival.) “We have seven quality bands this year — four from Olympia, three from Seattle — and that remains the focus.” The other performers will keep things entertaining between bands.
The festival added the extra entertainment last year, when organizers first teamed up with the film society to create a bigger and higher-profile event. The name change just makes it clearer what the event already has to offer, Manini said.
“This ties in with why it’s gone from OIMF last year to OOPS this year,” he said. “First, OIMF is a horrible acronym, and it hurts my mouth to say it. Also, it was really constricted in what you thought of when you heard it: ‘Bands have to be from Olympia. It has to be independent music. What is independent music?’ ”
In the case of this festival, independent music is pretty wide-ranging, from hip-hop (Teardropcity, a DJ) to folk-influenced (Tangerine) to “outrageous” (Horace Pickett, which Manini describes as a mix of Steely Dan, They Might Be Giants and DEVO).
“There’s definitely some straight up rock and roll,” he said. “There’s a lot of pop and pop rock. There’s a lot of synthesizer-based music.
He sums the sounds up this way: “It’s an upbeat, nice-day-out-in-the-sun-having-a-good-time soundtrack to your summer.”
The festival’s new name — which started with the catchy acronym — describes the event better, Manini said. “It’s in Olympia; it’s outdoors; it’s a public spectacle, so anything can happen.”
Arguably, the performance that best fits the definition of public spectacle will be the chin balancing. Miller has performed several times at Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show, where his ability to balance all manner of objects on his chin has had jaws dropping.
He was a favorite at the show, Lord told the Olympian in 2010, when Miller made his third appearance.
“My thought as the producer was: ‘He’s been in the show multiple times. I need to give it a rest,’ ” she said. “But every time I talk to someone about the vaudeville show, they ask, ‘Is the balancing guy coming back?’ ”
Miller performed at last year’s OIMF, too, and this year is taking it to a new level by aiming for a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records.
“He’s going to attempt to break the record for balancing a non-powered push mower greater than 15 pounds on his chin,” Manini said. “It’s somewhere around 4 minutes and 30 seconds that he has to keep it up there.
“We’re all extremely confident that he is going to set a world record for this.”
The attempt will happen around 6:50 p.m.
OOPS: The Olympia Outdoor Public Spectacle
What: The Olympia Outdoor Public Spectacle (formerly the Olympia Independent Music Festival) offers free fun, including seven bands and a cakewalk with the dancers of Olympia’s Tush Burlesque. There also will be a silent art auction and a variety of vendors. Proceeds support the Olympia Film Society.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Outside the Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
More information: olympiafilmsociety.org
For ages 21 and older: There will be an outdoor beer garden.
Fundraising campaign: Organizers are trying to raise money to build a stage. Details are at indiegogo.com/ projects/oops- second-chance-stage-fund.
2 p.m. The Hard Way
3 p.m. Full Moon Radio
4 p.m. Tangerine
5 p.m. Fruit Juice
6 p.m. The Fabulous Downey Brothers
7 p.m. Horace Pickett
8 p.m. Teardropcity after party with Kimya dawson
What: After the festival, Olympia Film Society and OOPS present an all-ages concert with Kimya Dawson, Paul Baribeau, Grayskul and comedian/ juggler Alex Zerbe.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Backstage at the Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
Tickets: $10 general admission, $8 for film society members
More information: olympiafilmsociety.org