Festival on the Capitol Green: A 10th Anniversary Celebration

by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS


The Olympia Symphony celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Concert at the Capitol on July 31, 2016. This annual “Festival on the Green” takes place on the grounds of the Washington State Capitol campus, and is a decade-long tradition for the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.

In an unusual move, the Olympia Symphony Orchestra is welcoming many different musical and dance groups to join their concert, as a celebration of their 64th year.

This year, the day-long event features a broad variety of musical and dance experiences, including flamenco, bon odori and samba dancing, classical music performances by the Olympia Symphony and the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO), and appearances by the Olympia Youth Chorus and the Olympia Highlanders Pipes and Drums band.

This is the first year that non-classical musicians and other acts will join the Symphony in their special event.  Jennifer Hermann of the Symphony explained this decision: “Olympia is a vibrant arts community, with diverse music and dance groups of all genres and ages contributing to our community’s rich cultural experience. By inviting other music and dance ensembles to share the lawn with us, we are offering the public an opportunity to join the Olympia Symphony in celebrating artistic collaboration and diversity.”

The event is focused around musical performance, but the “Festival on the Green” also includes craft experiences, games and food throughout the day.

Capital Heating & Cooling will be handing out water, and many other vendors will provide food and beverages. Vendors making appearances at the concert include Boka Island Fusion, P&J Waffle Delight, Ricardo’s Restaurant, Batdorf & Bronson, The Nutty Ice Haus, and Pope John Paul II High School Booster Club–which is selling strawberry shortcake.

Along with the extra musical groups, crafts and food, the Symphony will deliver a comprehensive program of classical performances throughout the day. Symphony Conductor and Music Director Huw Edwards has stated that this year he is creating a program for the event with a variety of styles and music of various national origins.

“We always start with a rare Sousa march, this year being The Invincible Eagle, then some short pieces by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven (part of his famous Pastoral Symphony), and music by Grieg, Mascagni and the American, Howard Hanson,” explained Edwards. “We always play a selection of tunes from a movie or a show (recent years have included James BondJurassic Park and West Side Story), so this year is A Beatles Medley…It ends with ‘When I’m 64,’ as the OSO is about to start its 64th season.”

The Symphony will also play the Armed Forces Salute, a concert favorite that blends American favorites with the service songs from the five branches of the military.

The Festival on the Green is a free concert day, open to all. It’s wise to arrive early for a good seat, given the expected crowd. The Symphony event typically serves an audience of 2,000 to 3,000 arts patrons. However, this year the Festival expects an audience of 6,000 or more due to the variety of performances.

Attendees at this event should bring either a blanket or chair, whichever is most comfortable.

More information about the event can be obtained from the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.

Schedule of Events:

  • 1:00  Samba OlyWA
  • 1:40  Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO)
  • 2:35  Japanese American Citizen League (JACL) Bon Odori Dancers
  • 3:10  Ballet Northwest
  • 3:50  Oly Flamenco
  • 4:25  Pinniped
  • 5:05  Olympia Youth Chorus
  • 5:50  Olympia Highlanders Pipes & Drums
  • 6:15  Olympia Symphony Orchestra


July 31
1:00 pm – 8:00 pm

More information:

Olympia Symphony

(360) 753-0074


Washington State Capitol Campus
416 Sid Snyder Ave SW
Olympia, 98501
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