Music initiative offers free weekly summer concerts EVERETT - The three guys behind the Everett Music Initiative, a monthly concert series at downtown venues, think things can get bigger.
Last month’s EMI one-year anniversary rock show brought 400 people young and old to the Historic Everett Theatre.
This month’s show is at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Anchor Pub with acclaimed local singer-songwriter Shannon Stephens having top billing. The show is for people 21 and up.
Their next project is Sets in the West, a weekly free series of early evening concerts Wednesdays at the downtown Wetmore Theatre Plaza next to the Everett Performing Arts Center. The first concert is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 10. The series runs through Sept. 11.
EMI also will be hosting buskers (street performers) at Everett’s annual Fourth of July parade.
EMI’s genesis came from Ryan Crowther, who drew up the plans on a whiteboard last year and started arranging bands for the first show. His buddies Sean Straub, now the city’s hired tourism expert, and music columnist Steven Graham make up the trio.
Their goal, in part, is to foster Everett’s music scene for a wide audience while building the scene’s regional credibility.
“Why is that important? It’s quality of life,” Straub said. Development studies show that Millenials, now in their 20s and crossing into their 30s, live in cities where they’ll enjoy life and then find work instead of the other way around.
Their other goal is to boost Everett’s economy by enticing people to go downtown, which seems to be working. In 20 shows so far, the group estimates the shows have brought in more than 2,000 people from outside Snohomish County and generated more than $200,000 for local small businesses, Crowther estimates.
One guy reportedly flew in from California specifically to see rockers Motopony play in January, Crowther said.
Crowther said he got chewed up learning the ropes in Seattle’s music scene, but picked up important contacts to bring bands to Everett.
Most of the bands are acclaimed groups from Seattle, but the music initiative puts Everett bands front and center, often as opening acts. The music initiative could provide the biggest audience an Everett band’s ever seen, Crowther said.
Some of the regular bands in Crowther’s contacts include local award winners Motopony, River Giant, The Grizzled Mighty and The Moondoggies. Many of these up-and-coming bands played at national concert festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW) and are scheduled for the summer plaza concert series.
Many of the bands that play may be on the cusp of going national, Crowther said he hopes. (The Lumineers, for example, played at Sorticulture for free two years ago, Straub grinned.)
“I think Everett has one of the best, strongest communities to grow this,” Crowther said, but added Snohomish County is one of the tougher markets to crack with its closeness to Seattle.
Their next plan is to bring in bands from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, and get touring bands to add Everett to their concert schedule, Crowther said.