Deception Pass State Park hosts American Roots Music Series Saturdays in July, bringing five distinctly different concerts

The Washington State Parks Folk & Traditional Arts in the Parks Program invites the public to the 12th annual American Roots Music Series at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island.

The series of five free outdoor concerts all begin at 7 p.m. each Saturday in July—beginning July 1 through July 29, at Deception Pass State Park, 41020 State Route 20 in Oak Harbor.

The concerts feature folk and traditional music representing a variety of communities from around the Pacific Northwest. Admission is free to the performances. A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the park.

All performances are in the West Beach amphitheater on the Whidbey Island side of the park, unless it’s raining. In case of rain, performances will move to the East Cranberry Lake picnic shelter, also on the Whidbey Island side of the park.

Performances are scheduled as follows:

July 1: 133D National Army Reserve Band – General’s 7 Dixieland Band

The 133d Army Band is a diverse group of musicians and ensembles that serve the community and represent the Washington National Guard to audiences across the state. The members of the General’s 7 Dixieland Band, one of the 133d’s ensembles, range in age from their late teens to mid-50s and represent music educators and professional musicians, students and other career professionals. These soldier-musicians are special people who possess a rare mix of both military and artistic abilities. The General’s 7 Dixieland Band combines ragtime, military brass band music, the blues and gospel music—guaranteed to get the audience up and dancing.

July 8: Obe Quarless and the Caribbean Connection Steelband

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Obe Quarless is a dynamic entertainer and steel pan musician. Obe was introduced to the steel pan as young child by his father, a musician from the native country of the steel pan—the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. His affinity for music came from growing up in the shadow of his father’s calypso band, The Islanders, and playing music with his father and three younger brothers. A classically trained musician, Quarless holds a degree in percussion from Whitworth University. He brings a wide range of musical influences to his steel pan performances. A classically trained musician, Obe Quarless holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in percussion studies from Whitworth University playing music with his 3 younger brothers and father together. “The Islanders” have been actively performing in the Greater Seattle area for over 25 years.

July 15:  Bays Family Irish Band

Randal Bays is well known in the worldwide Irish music community as a fiddler and guitarist, and he has performed with many of the great Irish musicians of our time, touring North America, Ireland and Europe. Joining Bays are his wife, Susan Waters, on fiddle and vocals, and his sons Willie and Owen Bays on Irish flute and concertina. They are following in the tradition of family music-making in rural Ireland, going back hundreds of years and continuing to the present day. Family groups such as the Bays Band often play for dances, parties, wakes and gatherings of all kinds, in addition to appearing at concerts and music festivals.

July 22: Squirrel Butter

The Squirrel Butter duo performs traditional and original music influenced by Appalachian, early country, jug band and blues artists from the late 1800s through the 1950s. Charlie Beck plays fiddle, banjo and guitar, and Charmaine Slaven plays fiddle, guitar—and clogs while she sings. Their harmonies are infectious—and so is their energy.

July 29: La Famille Léger

The Léger Family includes patriarch Louis Léger on accordion; his wife, Barbara, on guitar; son, Devon, on fiddle; and daughter-in-law, Dejah, on piano. Léger hails from New Brunswick and is steeped in the music of French Canada. The family also plays their feet—les pieds. The rhythmic patterns of their feet keep the music in time. The whole family plays, sings and dances together—and soon the granddaughters will join in.

For more information about the Folks and Traditional Arts in the Parks program, including upcoming events, visit: or contact Debbie Fant, Program Coordinator, at or (360) 902-8635.

                                    – Washington State Parks

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