By Randi Somers
Some 25 acts are slated for Down East Saloon’s inaugural music festival this Friday and Saturday, with famous singer Buffy Sainte-Marie highlighting the show on June 30. Opening for her at 8 p.m. Saturday on the new outdoor stage, the Alaska Native band Pamyua will headline Friday night’s show.
Based in Anchorage, Pamyua (pronounced Bum-yo-ah) has national and international shows to their credit, as well as many Alaska performances.
Americans were introduced to Inuit music watching the Canadian epic, “The Fast Runner.” For more than a decade, Pamyua has released traditional Inuit (Yup’ik) drum songs from Alaska, with a distinctly unique American sound. Together for more than 15 years, Pamyua has entertained millions with their fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance performances.
Founding members Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett and Ossie Kairaiuak are from the Yukon/Kuskokwim River Delta region in Alaska. Karina Moeller, also a founding member, is from Nuuk, Greenland.
Alaska/Homer musicians slated to perform include organizer Milo Matthews, Denali Cooks, Nellie Clay, Super Frequency, Yellow Cabin, BarRoom Roses, Caressa Starshine, Shawn Zuke, Sally Wills, Lindianne, Cindy McKenna and Sunrise Kilcher.
Matthews is a solo bassist who operates a studio here, recording his music, as well as other artists. He said DownEast owner Kathy McDonough is sponsoring the festival.
“She put up all the money for everything, including booking star performer Sainte-Marie — who is currently on tour,” he explained.
The event will initiate DownEast’s new outdoor stage, which will be covered by a huge tent to protect the audience and performers from inclement weather. Matthews said parking for recreational vehicles and van camping is available onsite.
Simulating KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn, which is slated for July 28 and 29 at Karen Hornaday Park, this is the only other major music festival scheduled in Homer this year. It will also feature food, arts and crafts booths and two full days and evenings of music.
There is no age restriction for the festival, since it’s not held in the bar. Kids under the age of 12 will be admitted free. Tickets are available at Down East Saloon or online at www.inticketing.com.
Prices are $35 for Friday, $50 for Saturday, or $65 for a two-day pass. More information is available at www.downeastsaloon.com.
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