Northwest’s only classic jazz festival set for March 8 at historic venue

The time is rapidly approaching for the Northwest’s only music festival that exclusively features classic jazz from the first half of the 20th Century.

Burien Arts Association’s Sixth Annual Highline Classic Jazz Festival on Saturday March 8th from 2:30-10 p.m. will offer 14 bands playing on three separate stages.

The musicians will perform several styles of jazz including early and mid-20th century jazz, from Dixieland, Gypsy Jazz, Blues, Western Swing, Ragtime to Big Band Swing as well as Straight Ahead Jazz classics..

This great jazz experience includes concerts, dancing, food, drink and an opportunity to mingle with the musicians.

The spectacular setting for this unique jazz festival is the historic Landmark on the Sound Event Center, 23660 Marine View Dr. S. in the Waterland Community of Des Moines. The beautiful building is perched on a bluff high above Puget Sound.

This will be the last opportunity for festivalgoers to enjoy jazz in this amazing venue.

“Landmark has announced that it will close as an event center in September,” Festival Director Lance Haslund announced. “This is indeed sad news, but we are even more determined to make this the best Festival yet.”

The Event Center lived a former life as “the Old Masonic Home.” When the Freemasons of Washington state decided 90 years ago to build their retirement home, they selected legendary Northwest architect Frederick Heath, who just three years earlier had designed Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier.

Heath crafted a facility of slate and copper, Terra Cotta and Terrazzo, marble and stain glass. The “Castle on the Hill” opened its giant oak doors in 1926, a time when the festival’s vintage jazz was new.

Local musician Haslund spends four months full-time a year putting together the festival for the nonprofit Burien Arts Association. His wife, Laurie coordinates volunteers.

As this year’s headliner, Haslund has secured Casey McGill’s Orchestra, a 14-piece group playing Big Band swing.

“Casey is known around town as one of the classic jazz guys,” notes Haslund. “He lives the part. He’s got a little pencil-thin mustache, wears clothes from the era, plays ukulele and coronet and sings.”

Among the other top classic bands featured are:

• Ambience (www.ambiencejazz.net)

• Double Bill (Bill Anschell & Bill Ramsey) (www.billanschell.com)

• Holotradband (www.holotraband.com)

• Jacqueline Tabor Jazz Band (www.jacquelinetabor.com)

• The Jangles (www.janglesband.com)

• Jennifer Scott & Rene Worst (www.jenniferscott.ca)

• Jump Ensemble (www.jumpensemble.com)

• Odell’s Medley (Alison Odell & Julian Smedley)

• Pearl Django (www.pearldjango.com)

• Ranger and the “Re-Arrangers” (www.rangerswings.com)

• Susan Pascal’s Soul Sauce – A Tribute to Latin jazz legend Cal Tjader (www.susanpascal.com)

• Steinwagon (Ryan Burns & Dawn Clement)

There will be dancing and comfortable seating in the Auditorium and in the Banquet Hall. The elegant Living Room is the perfect place for the Acoustic Lounge, featuring small groups in an intimate setting.

EJ's Catering (www.ejscustomcatering.com) will serve a full dinner, at $16. There will also be two no-host wine bars and a coffee bar.

Jazz enthusiast Joe Weihe loved last year’s festival and jokes he’s looking for the right vintage necktie to wear this year.

Weihe labels the event “a highly professional jazz festival that retains the ‘comfortable as an old shoe’ feeling of a friendly neighborhood event.”

“Remarkable!” Weihe exclaims. “The Landmark in Des Moines is one of the most dramatic event centers in the Northwest and the lineup of musicians is stellar.”

Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors (65 and over), and FREE for youth 18 and under. They are sold at Burien Arts Gallery, 826 SW 152nd St., in Burien. Tickets are also available at Brown Paper Tickets, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/553955.

For more information visit www.highlineclassicjazz.com.

The mission of Burien Arts Association is to engage, enrich and entertain all the communities, generations and visitors to the Burien and Greater Highline area through creative and innovative arts programming. The non-profit was founded in the 1960’s and for years operated a gallery in the little blue house at Dottie Harper Park.

In 2013, Burien Arts opened an exciting new gallery in historic Olde Burien at 626 S.W. 152nd St.

Current programming includes, not only the upcoming Highline Classic Jazz Festival, but also Shakespeare in the Park, Vision 20/20 Fundraising Art Event, monthly Sing and Sketch nights, quarterly arts networking meetings and the delicious Strawberry Shortcake booth at Burien’s annual Wild Strawberry Festival.

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