Words by Tara Kelly Kearns & photos by Morgen Schuler
I woke up in my tent bright and early on Day Two of the 6th Annual Doe Bay Fest to the sound of the Caffe Vita espresso grinder, which was conveniently located near me and just outside of the Artist’s Cabin. The sky was overcast, making for a nice, ambient fog over Otter Cove, and everything outside was damp from having been rained on overnight.
Starting off the day at Otter Cove was Courtney Marie Andrews, a folk singer whose voice and melodies are reminiscent of the greats from a previous generation, such as Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. While her song-writing and acoustic guitar finger-picking are gifts from the gods, she struggled to find her stride between songs. At times endearing, and otherwise just plain awkward, she was surprisingly self-aware of her short-coming, more than once saying, “That didn’t make any sense.”
After a cleanse in the spa, I wound up back at the Mainstage in time to catch Animal Eyes, a 5-piece band originally from small-town Alaska but now residing in Portland, OR. Between the long-locked redhead dancing around headbanging while playing his accordion, to their upbeat indie rock songs and overall youthful enthusiasm, they entertained their newly-gained fans.
It is requisite to dip in the Puget Sound at least once while on the island, so I took this opportunity to go down to the beach where “Scott & Jenny’s Two-Bar” is a legend for providing delicious cocktails to thirsty festival patrons. The rocky beach was already packed with sunbathers, frisbee-throwers, and some swimmers, when You Me & Apollo played a stripped down acoustic set. As the crowd grew, I remembered that this is one of the things that makes DBF so special for concert-goers used to the typical experience: secret, random shows and a relaxed atmosphere that put performer and listener face to face.
Back at the Mainstage, all-female 4-piece surf band La Luz had started, and the audience was already pumped to be listening to one of the most anticipated bands of the weekend. Drummer Marian Li Pino holds down the technical skill of the group, while guitar, bass, and keys groove on the laid-back and ethereal melodies. And yes, the rumours are true: after an invitation from band to audience and some prodding from friends, I did in fact get up on the stage and do “The Worm” during one of their songs.
As Saturday afternoon turned into evening, San Francisco’s Quinn Deveaux & the Blue Beat Review had people up and dancing to their throw-back revival soul tunes; and lead singer from Portland’s Radiation City showed off her incredible range, and vocal control during the band’s skilled set.
The headliner of the weekend, Built to Spill, finished out the official DBF schedule with over an hour long set filled mostly with the band’s originals that much of the crowd sang along to. However, their set also included an epic cover of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand,” which brought about a dozen guitarists from the weekend on stage shredding for what seemed to be at least 15 minutes.
This year’s Doe Bay Fest is being talked about as the “best yet” and owner of the resort, Joe Brotherton, eased everyone’s anxious minds by putting to rest rumours of the Fest’s end. So, for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to experience it, get down to Doe Bay Resort over the course of the next year so you can have first dibs on 2014’s DBF tickets to know what the buzz is about.