By ADAM McKINNEY
There’s an ongoing movement around the world to foster positivity, community support and creative outlets for young people. Locally, the Bridge Music Project works with at-risk youth, teaching them to combat the difficulties of life through the expression of songwriting. The organization started the Bridge Summer Concert Series, now entering its fourth year. On select Fridays over the summer, events will be held at the Artesian Commons Park in downtown Olympia that showcase a wide array of local talent from within the program but also draw bigger names.
June 22 brings the fourth-annual Bridge All-Styles Dance Battle. Hosted by Red Pepper Dave and DJ Pasquan, the battle pits breakdancers against each other in one-on-one competition with cash prizes awarded to the top three performers. On July 13 there’s another competition, but this one’s just for the beat-makers. The fourth-annual Beat Battle also features cash prizes, and it’s hosted by M2D6 and DJ Pasquan.
“We do a lot of outreach to the b-boy community and the dance community, so we’re drawing a lot of people from Tacoma, Seattle and Portland to the event,” says Bridge Music Project executive director Bobby Williams. “People are really dancing their hardest and bringing their A game, and the beat-makers are doing a lot of preparation and bringing their best material to the tournament.”
Local artist Jio the Poet gets a college send-off July 27, joined by Olympia folk favorite Erica Freas. Jio specializes in intimately confessional poetry and spoken word pieces, with divergences into more melodic hip hop.
“Jio’s worked with us for the last two years,” says Williams. “He’s … overcome a lot of challenges in his life, including homelessness. I think of him as a real example for the community as far as what you can become in spite of any challenges. I feel very privileged just to be a part of his journey.”
The series closes with a block party August 10, featuring Olympia electro-soul outfit DBST. Throughout the summer, the series will further the Bridge Music Project’s mission of encouraging togetherness and celebrating the power of music.
Bridge Summer Concert Series
Artesian Commons Park,
Fourth Ave. E and State NE, Olympia
7-9 p.m. Fridays, June 22, July 13, July 27 and Aug. 10