World comes to Seldovia to sing

This weekend is the summer solstice. The appropriate audio accompaniment to all that daylight is the Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival, slated for today through Sunday in the Kenai Peninsula’s smallest city.

The festival is a chance for residents, visitors and musicians of diverse genres to glory in music, good company, midsummer mirth and one of the world’s most scenic small towns. Now in its 14th year, the festival is the gala event of the year for the Seldovia Arts Council.

From the festival’s beginning, it has attracted musicians from around the world, said Margie McCord, one of the organizers.

“Every year they get such a variety of people that they not only wow the locals, but also get people coming down from Anchorage,” she said.

Headlining this year’s festival is the acclaimed Alaska band Pamyua. Members describe their sound as “tribal funk” and “Inuit world music.” They originally hail from Bethel, Chefornak and Greenland, now live in Anchorage and have been playing professionally since 1995. They have won accolades and prizes – including “Record of the Year” from the Native American Music Awards – and have five albums out.

Pamyua will perform three times — two evening concerts and a set at the Seldovia Village Tribe picnic. Band members also will host a workshop for those attending the festival.

The second feature act is the duo of Yngvil Vatn Guttu, originally from Norway, and Elena Lukina, born in Siberia. The multitalented women have played around the world and offer versatile and vibrant song and instrumental music.

Organizers have top talent from near and far to round out the busy schedule and offer something for everyone. Among the Kenai Peninsula performers will be Food for the Soul and Charmers Daughters from the central peninsula and Seldovia’s own Betsy Scott, who recently released her first CD.

New this year is a fun bit of lit, in the person of fisher poet Clark Whitney from Soldotna. Returning for a second year is an event for visual artists, “En Plein Aire.” Results will be sold at silent auction.

The schedule includes a yoga hour, activities for children and — yes! — a dessert bar.

One of the festival’s unique charms is camaraderie and informality that lets performers and audience members get acquainted and share their love of music. Performers are encouraged to offer workshops during the festival to teach skills and brainstorm ideas. Last year’s workshop on African drumming was a runaway favorite, McCord said.

“The workshops have gotten better every year,” she said. “That’s where it gets really personal.”

Other annual highlights are the song circle jam session Saturday and the gospel sing-along Sunday, she said.

Venues will be all over Seldovia, including the Linwood Bar and Grill, Susan B. English School, outdoors, local businesses and the town’s new pavilion by the harbor.

Last year about 260 people attended the festival. The small community of about 250 turns out, but so do many guests from across the water.

For visitors crossing the bay, the Seldovia Bay Ferry offers transport synchronized with the festival’s start. The ferry departs the Homer Harbor at ramp 7 at 11 a.m. Thursday; passengers will share the voyage with many of the musicians.

Tickets are available for the entire festival or for single night performances. Costs for single performances are $25 for adults and $8 for teens. Passes for the entire festival are $49 for adults and $16 for teens. Children younger than 12 get in free. People buying tickets in person in Seldovia at Thyme on the Boardwalk or the Linwood get discounted prices ($39 adults and teens $15) until 5 p.m., June 17.

More details are available online at seldoviaartscouncil.net or by phoning 907-399-4988.

Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival

Thursday, June 18

11 a.m.: Homer Harbor, ramp 7

Seldovia Bay Ferry departs for Seldovia, with performers on board. Seldovia Arts Council members will greet the boat when it reaches the Seldovia Harbor.

5:30 p.m.: Linwood Bar and Grill

“Meet and Greet” with dinner.

8 p.m.: Susan B. English School

“Open mic” for community members, visitors or performers to share a song, poem, story or tune. Sign in at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, June 19

All day: all around town

(weather permitting)

Performers present short “samplers” to preview the evening concerts.

Noon – Alaska Tribal Cache Building

Seldovia Village Tribe annual picnic, featuring Pamyua.

6:15 p.m. – Susan B. English School

Main concert with the headliners and six of the 11 groups performing. CDs and desserts for sale during intermission.

Saturday, June 20

8:30 a.m. – Seldovia Sea Otter Community Center

Yoga hour.

10 a.m. – Boardwalk Hotel deck or tent

Song circle, with lattes or breakfast.

1-4 p.m. – various locations

Workshops for all ages.

6:15 p.m. – Susan B. English School

Main concert with the headliners and six of the 11 groups performing.

Sunday, June 21

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – pavilion by the harbor

Viewing and silent auction of the art works from the “En Plein Aire” workshop; snacks and coffee available.

2 p.m. – pavilion by the harbor

Gospel sing.

Tickets will be available at the gate. Discounted advance passes are on sale in Seldovia at Thyme on the boardwalk and at the Linwood Bar and Grill.

For more information and schedule details go to the website: http://seldoviaartscouncil.net/seldoviamusicfestival/index.html or phone the Seldovia Arts Council at 907-399-4988.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: This and that

Organizations are running out of people to keep them going

This Al Hershberger photo of his good friend Hedley Parsons was taken in Germany in 1945, after World War II had ended. Parsons and Hershberger came to Alaska together a few years later, and in 2010, when Parsons was interviewed for this story, he may have been the last person living who had actually attended George Dudley’s messy funeral
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 2

The funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 5, and spring break-up was in full, sloppy bloom at the Kenai Cemetery

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

File
Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

Most Read