Who’s Who at the Steamboat Stringband Jamboree

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

The Steamboat Stringband Jamboree, happening Friday and Saturday at Prosperity Grange, features a who’s who of Pacific Northwest string bands, said co-organizer Tye Menser. Menser and the rest of the Oly Mountain Boys, along with the Pine Hearts, launched the jamboree in 2015 when a planned all-ages show got too big to confine to a single evening. This year’s event features 16 bands, midnight jams, bonfires, vendors and lots of camaraderie.

Portland’s Cascade Crescendo is Saturday’s headliner, playing at 10:45 p.m. “They’re a young, up-and-coming band from Portland,” Menser said. “They’re playing all over the place.” And the Lowest Pair, which played the first jamboree, is back, playing at 9:15 p.m. Saturday. “They’re doing great,” Menser said. “They’re playing all over Europe and Canada.” Menser is also excited to host Eight Dollar Mountain, a bluegrass band from Ashland, Oregon, playing at 8 p.m. Friday. The lineup includes Seattle old-time band Squirrel Butter, playing at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. “We’re hoping we can attract some of The Oly Old Time Festival fans to our event,” Menser said. “We think they’d like it.”

Past jamborees have drawn between 500 and 1,000 string-band fans, and this year’s event has more space for camping and recreational vehicles. Camping is encouraged, because the revelry continues into the wee hours. “The music the first two years went till 1 a.m.,” Menser said, “but that was sort of late. There was so much fun happening after the show that we decided to stop the music at midnight this year so there’s more time for people to start bonfires and jam.”

What: Steamboat Stringband Jamboree

Where: Prosperity Grange,
3701 Steamboat Island Road, Olympia

When: 4:30 p.m.-midnight Friday, June 2;
noon – midnight Saturday, June 3

How much: free – $40 (camping pass $15)

Get tickets: 360-357-8948 | Steamboat Stringband Jamboree