Soundscape – Shindig returns to delight town

October 2021 Posted in Community, Music, People

By Melissa Wagoner

When Nicholas Alan Coffey moved to Silverton six years ago, the annual Sidewalk Shindig was one of his favorite events. 

“You can have fun for free, you can bring the whole family and you can hangout for free all day,” Coffey said of the city-wide music festival Oct. 2 which will host 40 musical groups from blues, reggae and jazz to country, folk, rock and more on the sidewalks of Silverton.

“And it’s good quality!” he continued. 

Originating 10 years ago – when its predecessor, the Silverton Wine and Jazz Festival came to an end – the Shindig was the brainchild of Greg Hart, a local entrepreneur and musician. 

“I came up with the idea in the beginning because I had the Silver Creek Coffee House and business was booming because of the Wine and Jazz Festival,” Hart recalled. “So, I asked a few of my favorite customers to help, then friends of the committee members came across these great people and it’s been going strong ever since.”

Organized solely by a board of six volunteers and funded largely through sponsorship, the Shindig’s primary monetary goal is to pay the musicians a fair rate and then break even. 

“A lot of the musicians have been hurting,” Hart said of the significance this year’s festival has for its annual performers. “Because it’s hard to get jobs.” 

And it’s not just the musicians who have been suffering, Silverton’s business owners have been affected as well. 

“The town’s been hurting really bad,” Coffey, owner of Astonishing Adventures in Silverton, said. “With the fire and COVID and the ice storm, businesses have been going out of business. And [the Shindig] is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.”

Having personally experienced an increase in sales between 100 and 300 percent during previous festivals, Coffey views the Shindig, more than almost any other event, as a prime opportunity for Silvertonians to show their support for local restaurants and stores.

“It’s the main goal we’ve had since the beginning,” Hart said of this commitment to the support of local retailers. “And we feel like this year, more than any other, people need to get back to caring for the town.”

With opening acts kicking off at 11 a.m. in locations throughout town – including Town Square Park, the parking lot behind Graystone Lounge, the sidewalk in front of the Palace Theater and the outdoor seating area of the Silverton Coffee Station – music will truly canvas the city until the closing bands play at 10 p.m.

“We have a lot of pretty local bands – 50 percent or more,” organizer Sarah Weitzman said, listing the organizers’ own bands, the Crying Omas and Next of Kin, amongst them.

“But our main event,” Coffey interjected, “is the Marimba group out of Albany [– Ancient Ways].”

Stationed in the parking lot behind Citizens Bank, Ancient Ways will play – as in years past – alongside the information booth where festival-goers can pick up maps, donate toward next year’s festival and meet the board until closing time at 7 p.m. 

“Nearly every year the weather is beautiful,” board member Emily Pawlak said, hoping this year’s festival will be more of the same. But even if it rains, she urges all music lovers to “come on down.”

Silverton Sidewalk Shindig

A free, family friendly, city-wide music event. 

Saturday, Oct. 2
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Downtown Silverton

Schedules at facebook.com/sidewalkshindig or in the parking lot of Citizens Bank.

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