I didn’t know what to expect for my first time playing at Ebey Island Freedom Fest as part of the all women blues show. I thought it was a backyard party with a small stage and a few folks gathered round a campfire or barbecue grill. To my surprise it turned out to be a huge regional four-day music festival, with 40 of the finest bands in the Everett and Seattle area all converging at Jim McLaughlin and Donna Marie McMillin’s property out at Ebey Island. This event feels like a modern-day Woodstock of the Pacific Northwest with a huge stage, professional lighting and sound, and an enthusiastic and peaceful crowd decked out in everything from biker leathers to tie dye t-shirts.
During our set, I played lead guitar and sang along with several top local female vocalists, Mary McPage, Mary Ellen Lykins, Sherri Roberts Greimes, Marilyn Beebe. Lissa Ramaglia was there on bass and vocals while Darlene Jones held down the back beat on drums. It was a rockin’ set with a screaming crowd who were clearly enjoying seeing the women kick ass on some blues tunes. The highlight for me, was when we slowed things down during a rendition of Angel From Montgomery. We invited other female vocalists from the audience to join us – Michelle Taylor and Polly O’Keary stepped up.
The Ebey Island Freedom Fest runs over the Labor Day weekend and although it’s been the area’s best-kept secret for the past seven years, I think word has finally gotten out.