On Friday morning, I tossed my sleeping bag, a couple pillows, and some clothes into my car and headed up to beautiful Anacortes for the supposed final installment of the annual What The Heck Fest. Ten years is not a bad run and and after attending the past few years, I could definitely tell that the festival was in dire need of an organizational overhaul. The Department of Safety officially closed in 2010 and it was debatable whether the festival was even going to happen this year as far back as last summer. In addition, the weather was dreary and Friday’s traffic northbound on I-5 was unusually heavy and slow moving. The schedule of events didn’t vary heavily from previous years, and I had previously seen the majority of musical acts play in Olympia, if they were not local Oly bands already.
Regardless, I had fun. Friday night’s dinner show featured performances by LAKE and D+, both of which I have seen several times. The highlight of Friday night’s set at the Port Warehouse included Broken Water and Angelo Spencer. Ange made a pinata of his new album’s cover art which was lowered into the crowd during the final song. The kids went wild trying to break it open. I only briefly feared for my safety. By the end of the night, I was exhausted. Rather than pitch my tent in the rain, I opted to sleep in the dry yet confined space of the backseat of my hatchback Hyundai Accent. Needless to say, I was up at 7am. After finding a place to grab coffee, I made my way to Shipwreck Day where I managed not to purchase a single item. I joined the Friendship Trail for a little bit and caught a few overly adorable bands in situ, getting my feet soaked in the process. By afternoon, I was ready for a nap… in my car. I missed most of the afternoon performances but made it to Anchor Art Space in time to catch Calvin Johnson do his thang. From there, it was another eventful night at the Port Warehouse with memorable sets by old favorites Mecca Normal and new favorites Purple & Green, Portland’s hottest and funkiest new export. I left that night, missing all of Sunday’s festivities but the deserted drive back down I-5 at midnight was worth it.
Oh, and what would What The Heck be without gorgeous views and cute, crusty kids, many of which are present or former students?