Rumor has it that, after the 2018 edition — Aug. 11, 12-7 p.m. — Music and Art in Wright Park is going to call it quits. Turn out and bid farewell to what has been one of the coziest and well-shaded of Tacoma’s summer festivals. Since MAWP’s 1993 start (there have been years when it did not take place,) Tacomans have been able to go sprawl on the grass in front of the stage at Wright Park and enjoy a day of music by some of the area’s most beloved bands. Between (or during) sets, festivalgoers can meander among the vendor stalls to view and make purchases from the arts and crafts on display.
MAWP founder and organizer Ken Johnson stated that he feels like the event has run its course as is and that he is ready to spend his time on other things. “I have done it my way,” he said, “I appreciate all the people that have helped over the years. I can’t thank Tacoma enough for supporting it.”
While not actively seeking to recruit anyone to carry the torch on into the future, Johnson noted that his departure from the summer festival scene makes room for someone else to step in and do it a different way. During Johnson’s reign, the event has had a homey, easy-going feel, being run by volunteers.
MAWP is a free, family-friendly event put together every year for our Tacoma, the gritty city of paper mills, railroads, cargo ships and microbreweries. It is always in August on a Saturday, from noon until 7 p.m. Bands from the entire range of the rock and roll spectrum, along with incredible local artists and vendors and delicious food, are always part of the show.
MAWP makes for a splendid afternoon and evening of musical enjoyment at the feet of Wright Park’s venerable and wise old trees, which are among Tacoma’s oldest citizens and greatest treasures. It is a good opportunity to bond with this beautiful park and exchange smiles with your friends and neighbors — a smile being the only currency that you will really need to buy a full day of live entertainment. Metro Parks is said to have been generous and easy to work with through the years, making sure that there are always plenty of clean, maintained facilities available.
This year, there will be more than 40 artisan vendors in addition to food trucks that will have offerings for hungry tummies.
On the docket for the day are the following bands: Girl Trouble, Cat Puke, Terrapin, Old Foals, The Mondays, The Centre Cannot Hold, Big Wheel Stunt Show, The Stuntmen and Fitz of Depression. Johnson noted that many of these groups have some deep connection to MAWP through the years.
Girl Trouble, the elder statesmen of Tacoma’s rock scene, are always a big deal. Olympia’s Fitz of Depression have just recently begun to play again. Here is a chance for a Tacoma audience to see a legendary band that has not been heard from around these parts in a good, long spell.
Acoustic musicians Pat Watson, James Anaya, John Purkey and Allen Booth will also perform. Justin Gimse, drummer of Big Wheel Stunt Show, will function as master of ceremonies, as he has done in years past.
Music and Art in Wright Park is powered by Shunpike. Shunpike is the 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington with the services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success.
Music and Art in Wright Park takes place Saturday, Aug. 11 from noon to 7 p.m. Wright Park is located at 501 S. I St., Tacoma.
Because the official website for the event appears to be years out of date, the most accurate source of up to date information is www.facebook.com/musicandartinwrightpark.